NEW COGNITIVE TREATMENT FOR EARLY ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

DESCRIPTION (from the application): Cognitive Rehabilitation has been shown to
be effective in treating a variety of neurological disorders including
traumatic brain injury and stroke. Until recently, there has been a paucity of
research investigating the utility of this therapeutic modality with mildly
impaired AD patients because of the assumption that any gains would be offset
by progressive deterioration associated with the degenerative disease process.
There is, however, data that suggest that techniques such as spaced
retrieval" and other techniques which rely on procedural knowledge and
implicit memory, motor learning and the provision of cognitive support at
both encoding and retrieval of information can be beneficial to mildly
impaired AD patients.

The recently introduced cholinesterase inhibitors such as Donepezil (Aricept)
have been empirically shown to slow the cognitive progression of AD to the
point that they may enhance the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation
interventions when introduced early in the course of the illness. The
potential synergistic effects of combined cognitive rehabilitation with
pharmacological agents in AD is exciting, given the promise of newer and more
effective pharmacological agents for this condition in the future. This has
important implications for optimizing and maintaining the patient's cognitive
and functional independence for the longest period of time.

The proposed study is an evaluation of a new systematic cognitive retraining
program for enhancing and maintaining the cognitive and functional status of
AD patients receiving a cholinesterase inhibitor (Donepezil). In addition to
its state of the-art cognitive approaches, the present theory-driven paradigm
is unique in two other ways: its incorporation of a strong functional
component and its use of the primary caregiver as a therapy extender to
promote generalization and maintenance of gains attained in the clinical
setting to the patient's everyday life. While prior efforts have included one
or two of these elements in isolation, no previous program has offered this
type of integrated approach in the treatment of AD among individuals who are
receiving an effective pharmacological agent. In addition to the direct
benefit to AD patients, the proposed cognitive rehabilitation intervention is
also expected to reduce the caregiver's perceived burden and psychological
distress.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date6/1/015/31/05

Funding

  • National Institute on Aging: $344,389.00
  • National Institute on Aging: $331,136.00
  • National Institute on Aging: $331,655.00

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