Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community for February

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: What treatments are available for people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss the impact of changes in health and long-term practices for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and AD; guidelines and recommendations for dementia-related health advocacy preparation and assistance for people with intellectual disabilities and AD; the effectiveness of occupational therapy (OT); cognitive training and rehabilitation for people with mild to moderate AD; cognitive intervention therapy; music therapy; and animal-assisted therapy. More about Answered Questions.

NIDILRR-Funded Projects:

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Developmental Disabilities and Health (in English) (90RT5020) enhances the health and function of adults with IDD over their lifespan through research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination. The Center’s research program includes a study to assess the impact of changes in health and long-term practices to health and function, healthcare access, preventative services, and satisfaction of adults with IDD who are in the process of changing from a fee-for-service to integrated health and long-term care. This study includes people aging with IDD who also have age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease.

From the NARIC Collection:

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are increasingly living into old age, which is indicated as a positive effect of improved health care and quality of life. However, this also indicates that people with ID are and will be experiencing age-related health problems, including dementia and AD. The article, Guidelines for dementia-related health advocacy for adults with intellectual disability and dementia: National task group on intellectual disabilities and dementia practices (in English) (J70698), discusses the guidelines and recommendations for dementia-related health advocacy preparation and assistance that were developed by the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices. The guidelines set out a course to help prepare caregivers, enable improved interactions with healthcare professionals, raise awareness and help enable self-advocacy for health treatments, and offer an evidence-based plan that could help caregivers to access healthcare services and professionals in a more effective manner.

Occupational Therapy:

The article, Effectiveness of occupational therapy and other nonpharmacological therapies in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (I243526), discusses a review of the literature that looked at the existing knowledge about the usefulness of OT in the non-pharmacological treatment of people with AD. The evidence showed the efficiency and effectiveness of OT in delaying the progression of various disorders, including AD, especially when using structured home OT programs. The results highlight a need for more studies on the effectiveness of long-term sensory stimulation.


Currently, about 36 million people around the world live with some form of dementia, including AD, and this number is expected to increase to more than 115 million people by the year 2050. Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation are non-pharmacological methods that try to help people with early stage AD make the most of their memory and cognitive functioning. The article, Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, looks at a review that included 11 trials of cognitive training and a single trial of cognitive rehabilitation and which found no evidence for the efficacy of cognitive training in improving cognitive functioning, mood, or activities of daily living in people with mild to moderate AD or vascular dementia. The review found that the one trial of cognitive rehabilitation provided indications of the potential benefits of individual cognitive rehabilitation in people with mild AD.

Cognitive Intervention Therapy:

The article, Cognitive Intervention therapy as treatment for behavior disorders in Alzheimer’s disease: Evidence of efficacy and neurobiological correlations (I241577), discusses a review whose objective was to gather available evidence of the efficacy of cognitive intervention therapy (CIT) on behavioral and psychological symptoms (BPS) of people with AD. Currently, it is held that intervention models that combine pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are the most effective for people with AD. Although, CIT has not yet been established as an adequate treatment for BPS; the results of the review suggest that CIT may have a beneficial effect on the BPS of people with AD.

Animal Assisted Therapy:

The article, Effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy in patients with dementia: A systematic review (I244086), discusses a review of the literature that analyzed the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy on the symptoms of dementia. Results of the review indicate that the dog is the most commonly used in animal-assisted therapy for people with AD and other dementias and that this therapy produces an improvement in behavior, mood, quality of life, activities of daily living, and mental stress of people with dementia.

Music Therapy:

The article, Music therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease: Cognitive, psychological, and behavioural effects (I243676), discusses a study to determine the improvement of people with Alzheimer’s disease who have participated in music therapy. Researchers looked at the changes in the scores of several scales, including the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. They also wanted to see if these changes were influenced by the degree of severity of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers observed that music therapy improved some cognitive, psychosocial, and behavioral changes in the people with Alzheimer’s disease who participated in the study. Researchers suggest future research focus on combining music therapy and dance therapy to determine any improvements in motor and functional impairment for people with Alzheimer’s disease.


Further Research:




About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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