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The Multidisciplinary Approach to Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. A Narrative Review of Non-Pharmacological Treatment.

The Multidisciplinary Approach to Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. A Narrative Review of Non-Pharmacological Treatment.
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The Multidisciplinary Approach to Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. A Narrative Review of Non-Pharmacological Treatment.

Front Neurol. 2018;9:1058

Authors: Zucchella C, Sinforiani E, Tamburin S, Federico A, Mantovani E, Bernini S, Casale R, Bartolo M

Abstract
Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia are chronic diseases with progressive deterioration of cognition, function, and behavior leading to severe disability and death. The prevalence of AD and dementia is constantly increasing because of the progressive aging of the population. These conditions represent a considerable challenge to patients, their family and caregivers, and the health system, because of the considerable need for resources allocation. There is no disease modifying intervention for AD and dementia, and the symptomatic pharmacological treatments has limited efficacy and considerable side effects. Non-pharmacological treatment (NPT), which includes a wide range of approaches and techniques, may play a role in the treatment of AD and dementia. Aim: To review, with a narrative approach, current evidence on main NPTs for AD and dementia. Methods: PubMed and the Cochrane database of systematic reviews were searched for studies written in English and published from 2000 to 2018. The bibliography of the main articles was checked to detect other relevant papers. Results: The role of NPT has been largely explored in AD and dementia. The main NPT types, which were reviewed here, include exercise and motor rehabilitation, cognitive rehabilitation, NPT for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, occupational therapy, psychological therapy, complementary and alternative medicine, and new technologies, including information and communication technologies, assistive technology and domotics, virtual reality, gaming, and telemedicine. We also summarized the role of NPT to address caregivers' burden. Conclusions: Although NPT is often applied in the multidisciplinary approach to AD and dementia, supporting evidence for their use is still preliminary. Some studies showed statistically significant effect of NPT on some outcomes, but their clinical significance is uncertain. Well-designed randomized controlled trials with innovative designs are needed to explore the efficacy of NPT in AD and dementia. Further studies are required to offer robust neurobiological grounds for the effect of NPT, and to examine its cost-efficacy profile in patients with dementia.

PMID: 30619031 [PubMed]

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