Social interaction can help fight depression in people with dementia | New

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Social and group activities can help fight depression in people with dementia, new research shows.

  • Cognitive stimulation may reduce depression and improve overall cognition, new research finds
  • Cognitive stimulation is a type of dementia treatment that includes social interactions, group activities
  • Researchers have found that this affordable and accessible treatment may have positive effects on people with dementia

Social and group activities can help fight depression in people with dementia, new research shows.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield and Brighton and Sussex Medical School analyzed the use of cognitive stimulation as an effective treatment for people with dementia.

Cognitive stimulation is a non-pharmacological treatment for dementia that typically includes group activities with an emphasis on social interaction.

The evaluation carried out by the researchers found that these treatments can reduce symptoms of depression in people with dementia and have a positive effect on memory and ratings of dementia.

Dr Claudia von Bastian, senior research author at the University of Sheffield, said: “Dementia is one of the biggest global challenges we face. There is no cure for dementia, and current pharmacological treatments often have unwanted side effects.

“Our research highlights that cognitive stimulation can be a safe, relatively inexpensive, and accessible treatment to help reduce some of the main symptoms of dementia and may even alleviate symptoms of depression.

“We still need to know more about the key ingredients of cognitive stimulation that lead to these benefits, how they influence the progression of dementia, but the lack of negative side effects and the low costs of this treatment mean the benefits are clear. “

Dr Ben Hicks, from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “It’s great that governments now recognize the importance of living well with dementia. We’ve seen a lot more energy and resources put into developing initiatives to support this, like cognitive stimulation, which is now widely used across the world.

“Our research is the first to comprehensively interrogate the evidence base on its effectiveness, using the most recent statistical techniques. While early signs are positive, there is an urgent need to improve the rigor of evaluative research and better assess the long-term benefits of cognitive stimulation. People with dementia need effective treatment. As a research community, that’s what we need to deliver.


Additional information

Effectiveness of cognitive stimulation for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis – full article

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