Aroma therapy for dementia.

No. 2 Cottage, Cotbank of Barras, Stonehaven, UK, AB39 2UH.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.7). 02/2003; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003150
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Complementary therapies have become more commonly used over the last decade and have been applied to a range of health problems, including dementia. Of these, aroma therapy is reported to be the most widely used in the British National Health Service (Lundie 1994) and might be of use for people with dementia for whom verbal interaction may be difficult and conventional medicine of only marginal benefit. Aroma therapy has been used for people with dementia to reduce disturbed behaviour (e.g. Brooker 1997), promote sleep (e.g. Wolfe 1996), and stimulate motivational behaviour (e.g. MacMahon 1998).
To assess the efficacy of aroma therapy as an intervention for people with dementia.
The Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group's Specialized Register was searched on 29 October 2002 to find all relevant trials using the terms: aroma therap*, "aroma therap*", "complementary therap*", "alternative therap*" and "essential oil". The CDCIG Register contains records from all major health care databases and is updated regularly. Additionally, relevant journals were hand searched, and 'experts' in the field of complementary therapies and dementia contacted.
All relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were considered. A minimum length of trial and requirements for a follow-up were not included, and participants in included studies had a diagnosis of dementia of any type and severity. The review considered all trials using fragrance from plants defined as aroma therapy as an intervention with people with dementia. Several outcomes were considered in this review, including cognitive function, quality of life, and relaxation.
The titles and abstracts extracted by the searches were screened for their eligibility for potential inclusion in the review, which revealed 2 RCTs of aroma therapy for dementia. Neither of these had published results in a form that we could use. However, individual patient data from one trial were obtained (Ballard 2002) and additional analyses performed. Analysis of co-variance was used for all outcomes, using a random effects model.
The additional analyses conducted revealed a statistically significant treatment effect in favour of the aroma therapy intervention on measures of agitation and neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Aroma therapy showed benefit for people with dementia in the only trial that contributed data to this review, but there were several methodological difficulties with this study. More well designed large-scale RCTs are needed before conclusions can be drawn on the effectiveness of aroma therapy. Additionally, several issues need to be addressed, such as whether different aroma therapy interventions are comparable and the possibility that outcomes may vary for different types of dementia.

  • Pflege Zeitschrift 09/2013; 66(9):564-567.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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. · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 2007 guidelines for the care of people with dementia living in nursing homes, especially for handling challenging behaviour, have been published that recommend certain interventions. The aim of this study is a systematic review of publications about projects and the development and utilisation of interventions recommended in the German guideline in German nursing homes. For this purpose, 22 publications from 8 projects were analysed. The analysis was carried out on the basis of the CReDECI-criteria for the reporting of complex interventions. The publications described the application of reminiscence-therapy, Snoezelen, Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) and the use of understanding diagnostics as well as assessment instruments. Although the interventions were based on similar theoretical frames and had the same aim they contained different components. For the implementation a considerably amount of teaching and support by the project members was needed. A process evaluation as well as information about necessary adaptations to general conditions was given seldom. Partly, information that is important for the use in practice as well as in continuative studies is missing in the publications.
    Pflege 10/2013; 26(5):337-355. · 0.46 Impact Factor


Available from