Slowing Progression of Early Stages of AD with Alternative Therapies: a Feasibility Study.

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Peer Reviewed


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NLM Title Abbreviation

Geriatr Nurs

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Geriatric Nursing (New York, N.Y.)

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DOI of Published Version


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This pilot study identified the feasibility and efficacy of the effect of combining healing touch (HT) and body talk cortices (BTC) on the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Both HT and BTC elicit the relaxation response and support cognitive function from two different perspectives. A two-group, repeated measures design was used. Subjects (n = 22), 65 or older with early stage (less than four) AD, residing in the community (n = 2) or in care agencies (n = 20), were assigned to either the HT-BTC group (n = 12) or the control group (n = 10) randomized by residence. The treatment group received, 6 months of weekly HT and performed the BTC technique daily. The usual medical regimen for all subjects was continued. The control group had no additional interventions. Both groups were assessed at baseline, 3 and 6 months. The groups did not differ significantly at baseline on cognitive reserve, age, gender, and ethnicity, nor on the outcome variables (cognitive function, mood, & depression). Adherence (76%) to the BTC protocol, the major feasibility problem, related to memory deficits. Significant interactions occurred regarding cognitive function and mood. Significant improvements in cognitive function (p = .008), mood (p = .001), and depression (p = .028) were observed in the treatment group which is not the usual course of AD. A decline in cognitive function occurred in the control group typical of AD's usual course. Although the number of subjects in this pilot study was small, and there were feasibility challenges with recruitment and adherence, important trends were noted suggesting areas for future study.


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Alzheimer Disease, Complementary Therapies, Disease Progression, Feasibility Studies, Female, Humans, Male

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