Aroma Therapy for Dementia

No. 2 Cottage, Cotbank of Barras, Stonehaven, UK, AB39 2UH.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2003; 3(3):CD003150. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003150
Source: PubMed


Aroma therapy is the use of pure essential oils from fragrant plants (such as Peppermint, Sweet Marjoram, and Rose) to help relieve health problems and improve the quality of life in general. The healing properties of aroma therapy are claimed to include promotion of relaxation and sleep, relief of pain, and reduction of depressive symptoms. Hence, aroma therapy has been used to reduce disturbed behaviour, to promote sleep and to stimulate motivational behaviour of people with dementia. Of the four randomized controlled trials found only one had useable data. The analysis of this one small trial showed a significant effect in favour of aroma therapy on measures of agitation and neuropsychiatric symptoms. More large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed before firm conclusions can be reached about the effectiveness of aroma therapy.

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    • "At least 1 dependent variable from one of the following categories: health-related physical fitness (cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, body mass index), functional, cognitive, and behavioral Journal article, master's thesis, or doctoral dissertation published in English and indexed between Jan. 1970 and Oct. 2003 Holt et al., 2003 [35] Aromatherapy for persons with dementia "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper challenges the assumptions underlying many reviews and offers alternative criteria for examining evidence for nonpharmacological interventions. We evaluated 27 reviews examining interventions for persons with dementia as they relate to the issues of selection based on randomized controlled trial (RCT) design. Reviews were described by type of intervention, level of cognitive function, and criteria for inclusion. Of the 27 reviews, 46% required RCTs for inclusion and most had stringent inclusion criteria. This resulted in poor utilization of the literature and low ecological validity. Eliminating most of the available data poses a critical problem to corresponding clinical and research development. Studies meeting strict methodological criteria may not generalize to the greater population or may exclude sub-populations and interventions. Limitations of double-blind RCTs and potential design solutions are set forth based on appropriate populations, problems, interventions, and settings characteristics.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 02/2014; 41(1). DOI:10.3233/JAD-132357 · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    • "Differences in lavender formulation, delivery methods, participant numbers, selection criteria, outcome measures and time frames make it almost impossible to compare reports [18]. It is not clear, therefore, why lavender has proved effective in two earlier studies but not in four others. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lavender essential oil shows evidence of sedative properties in neurophysiological and animal studies but clinical trials of its effectiveness as a treatment of agitation in people with dementia have shown mixed results. Study methods have varied widely, however, making comparisons hazardous. To help remedy previous methodological shortcomings, we delivered high grade lavender oil in specified amounts to nursing home residents whose agitated behaviours were recorded objectively. 64 nursing home residents with frequent physically agitated behaviours were entered into a randomized, single-blind cross-over trial of dermally-applied, neurophysiologically active, high purity 30% lavender oil versus an inactive control oil. A blinded observer counted the presence or absence of target behaviours and rated participants' predominant affect during each minute for 30 minutes prior to exposure and for 60 minutes afterwards. Lavender oil did not prove superior to the control oil in reducing the frequency of physically agitated behaviours or in improving participants' affect. Studies of essential oils are constrained by their variable formulations and uncertain pharmacokinetics and so optimal dosing and delivery regimens remain speculative. Notwithstanding this, topically delivered, high strength, pure lavender oil had no discernible effect on affect and behaviour in a well-defined clinical sample.Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN 12609000569202).
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11/2013; 13(1):315. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-13-315 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    • "A Cochrane systematic review of aromatherapy and dementia [6] identified only one study [7] that revealed a statistically significant effect of aromatherapy on behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). In this study [7] 72 people with severe dementia, from eight nursing homes were randomly assigned to an intervention group (10% Melissa officinalis, or a placebo of sunflower oil. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aromatherapy and hand massage therapies have been reported to have some benefit for people with dementia who display behavioural symptoms; however there are a number of limitations of reported studies. The aim is to investigate the effect of aromatherapy (3% lavender oil spray) with and without hand massage on disruptive behaviour in people with dementia living in long-term care. In a single blinded randomised controlled trial 67 people with a diagnosis of dementia and a history of disruptive behaviour, from three long-term care facilities were recruited and randomised using a random number table into three groups: (1) Combination (aromatherapy and hand massage) (n = 22 , (2) Aromatherapy (n = 23), (3) Placebo control (water spray) (n = 22). The intervention was given twice daily for six weeks. Data on residents' behaviour (CMAI) and cognition (MMSE) were collected before, during and after the intervention. Despite a downward trend in behaviours displayed not one of the interventions significantly reduced disruptive behaviour. Further large-scale placebo controlled studies are required where antipsychotic medication is controlled and a comparison of the methods of application of aromatherapy are investigated.Trial registration: ACTRN12612000917831.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 07/2013; 13(1):165. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-13-165 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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