Session Title: Alzheimer's Disease (AD) including Non-Cognitive Aspects
Presentation Date: Friday, March 14 – Saturday, March 15, 2009
EFFECTIVENESS OF A LEXICAL SEMANTIC THERAPY ON COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS IN ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
N. Jelcic1, F. Meneghello2, P. Gallina3, M. Giacon3, M. Garzon2, N. Bonetto1, A. Cagnin1
1University of Padova, Department of Neurosciences, Padova, Italy, 2IRCCS Ospedale San Camillo, Venezia, Italy, 3Opera Immacolata Concezione, Padova, Italy
Background: Neuropsychological rehabilitation can improve and stabilize cognitive performances in early Alzheimer's disease (AD). Lexical semantic treatment, mainly used for rehabilitation of post-stroke aphasia, has not been evaluated in AD patients. The working hypothesis is that practice in semantic word discrimination could improve semantic component of memory.
Objective: To explore the potential benefits of lexical semantic rehabilitation in patients with early AD and MCI.
Methods: Thirteen patients with early AD and aMCI (70% females; mean ± sd years: 81.7 ± 6.2) with baseline mini-mental state examination (MMSE) mean score 23.6 ± 2.7 were selected. Five age-matched AD patients were also recruited as control group. A broad neuropsychological battery was administered before and after treatment. Each patient in the active treatment group participated in two weekly individual sessions of standardized lexical semantic exercises of 1 hour over a period of 3 months. Patients in the control group were engaged in leisure activities with the same schedule time.
Results: MMSE scores improved significantly after semantic treatment (p = 0.003). The following cognitive domains showed significant improvement:
Patients in the control group showed stabilization or worsening of cognitive performances.
- verbal memory (both immediate and delayed: respectively p = 0.013, p = 0,018),
- denomination (verbal stimuli: p = 0.007; visual stimuli: (p = 0.034),
- speed of executive functions (Stroop Test: p = 0,004).
Conclusions: Our data indicate that patients with AD may benefit from a lexical semantic treatment with regard to memory performance and denomination of verbal and visual stimuli.