New York: A series of group activities designed to stimulate thought, conversation and memory appears to improve the mental functioning of people with mild or moderate dementia, according to a new review of the evidence."This is good news for the industry," said Robert Winningham, a professor at the University of Western Oregon, who was not involved in this study. "This is showing the people who work in memory care communities and nursing homes and assisted living facilities that they can improve cognitive function, and they need to be providing these kinds of interventions."Cognitive stimulation, as the therapy is called, involves structured activities in a group setting, usually one or more times a week for at least a month.The sessions might include a discussion of current events, a sort of show-and-tell with objects, baking, drawing or other activities that get the participants to engage their minds.Bob Woods, a professor at Bangor University in the UK who led the study, said that researchers in this field had considered cognitive stimulation to be helpful for people with dementia, based on earlier work.To get a better sense of just how much the therapy can do, he and his colleagues at University College London pulled together the findings from 15 studies comparing cognitive stimulation to no extra intervention for people with mild or moderate dementia.In total, 718 people participated in the studies.
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