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Expert Rev Neurother. 2008 May;8(5):751-7. doi: 10.1586/14737175.8.5.751.

Cognitive stimulation for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

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Sub-Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


In recent years, there has been an increase in the recognition and use of psychosocial interventions for dementia. This has coincided with an increase in high-quality research in the area, and restrictions in the use of drug therapies for Alzheimer's disease in the UK. Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) is a brief group treatment for people with mild-to-moderate dementia, based on the theoretical concepts of reality orientation and cognitive stimulation. It involves 14 sessions of themed activities which typically run twice a week over a 7-week period. A multicenter, randomized controlled trial showed significant benefits in cognition and participant-rated quality of life when comparing CST versus no treatment. These benefits in cognition were comparable to those gained through medication, and CST also proved to be cost-effective. Influenced by this research, the latest guidelines released by NICE recommended cognitive stimulation only as an intervention for treating the cognitive symptoms of dementia. This perspective describes how CST was developed and evaluated, its use in clinical settings and issues for future investigation, such as individualized CST.

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