Alzheimer's Disease Skill Loss Reversed With Memory Coaching, Support

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 Adding the program to medication improved patients' ability to perform everyday tasks, such as dressing and bathing. themselves
Adding the program to medication improved patients' ability to perform everyday tasks, such as dressing and bathing. themselves

HealthDay News — Patients with advanced Alzheimer's can relearn some basic skills when they receive special training along with medication, according to research presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, in London.

The study, which included 20 Alzheimer's patients, tested a program that combines specialized "memory coaching" with other services — including training and support groups for family caregivers.

The investigators found that adding the program to medication — memantine (Namenda) — improved patients' ability to perform everyday tasks, such as dressing and bathing themselves, over 6 months.

"While there are many great resources for people with Alzheimer's and their families within communities, direct training in basic skills in more severe and more disturbed persons with Alzheimer's is an underutilized and understudied treatment method in the clinic setting," lead researcher Barry Reisberg, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said in a Langone news release.

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