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Effects of neuropsychological intervention on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients


This study investigates the effects of a Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program (NRP) combined with pharmacological treatment on patients with probable initial phase Alzheimer's Disease and compares the impact of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation with that one of family counseling and guidance. The study will include 30 subjects of both sexes aged 60 - 80 with at least 4 years of schooling. All subjects will have to meet criteria for probable diagnosis of initial phase of AD in accordance with NINCDS/ADRDA criteria and be medicated with maximum dosage of anticholinesterase. The presence of a family member or caregiver to authorize and accompany the treatment is necessary. Initially subjects will be submitted to a protocol of Neuropsychological Assessment (NA) examining three specific domains: cognitive functions, functional impairments, behavioral and mood alterations. The sample will then be randomly divided in three groups. Experimental Group 1 will take part in NPR with direct assistance to patient and family. In Experimental Group2, only relatives and caregivers will receive family counseling and guidance in relation to the disease. Control Group patients will have passive pastimes (such as video sessions). After 8 months of NPR the three groups will be reassessed using the same NA baseline to verify and analyze cognitive, behavioral, and functional changes over this period. Through this work we hope to explain and verify possible contributions to the treatment of dementia patients. (AU)

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