[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Preliminary evidence suggests that goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation (CR) may be a clinically effective intervention for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, vascular or mixed dementia and their carers. This study aims to establish whether CR is a clinically effective and cost-effective intervention for people with early-stage dementia and their carers.
In this multi-centre, single-blind randomised controlled trial, 480 people with early-stage dementia, each with a carer, will be randomised to receive either treatment as usual or cognitive rehabilitation (10 therapy sessions over 3 months, followed by 4 maintenance sessions over 6 months). We will compare the effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation with that of treatment as usual with regard to improving self-reported and carer-rated goal performance in areas identified as causing concern by people with early-stage dementia; improving quality of life, self-efficacy, mood and cognition of people with early-stage dementia; and reducing stress levels and ameliorating quality of life for carers of participants with early-stage dementia. The incremental cost-effectiveness of goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation compared to treatment as usual will also be examined.
If the study confirms the benefits and cost-effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation, it will be important to examine how the goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation approach can most effectively be integrated into routine health-care provision. Our aim is to provide training and develop materials to support the implementation of this approach following trial completion.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN21027481
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
Although it is increasingly accepted that people with dementia retain a sense of self, there is a need for empirical evidence regarding the nature of the self-concept in early stage dementia, how this changes over time and how it relates to quality of life.Methods
Self-concept was assessed using the short form of the Tennessee Self-concept Scale in 95 individuals with early stage dementia; 63 were reassessed after 12 months, and 45 were seen again at 20 months. Participants also completed measures of mood, cognitive functioning and quality of life. Caregivers provided proxy ratings of self-concept, completed measures of symptoms and distress at symptoms and rated their own levels of stress and well-being.ResultsSelf-ratings of self-concept were close to the average range for the standardization sample, and the distribution did not differ significantly from expected values. Although caregiver ratings were slightly lower, discrepancies were small. There were no significant changes over time in self-ratings or informant ratings or discrepancies. At Time 1, self-ratings were predicted by anxiety, depression and memory, caregiver ratings were predicted by caregiver distress and by depression in the person with dementia and discrepancies were predicted by caregiver distress. These models remained predictive at later time points. Self-rated self-concept predicted quality of life, with the relationship only partially mediated by depression and anxiety.Conclusions
Self-concept appears largely intact in early stage dementia, but in view of the association between self-concept and quality of life, a preventive approach focused on supporting self-concept may offer benefits as dementia progresses.
No preview · Article · May 2013 · International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Attachment bonds are important for personality development, emotion regulation and mental health throughout the lifespan. This systematic review explores the relevance of attachment for people with dementia, and how attachment influences the experience of caregivers of people with dementia. Eighteen studies were included. Three focused on attachment in terms of parent fixation in dementia, three examined attachment behaviour in dementia, five addressed attachment and dementia-related behavioural problems, and seven concentrated on attachment in caregivers. Attachment behaviours were evident at various stages of dementia and the presence of parent fixation was observed when attachment needs were not being met. Insecure attachment was related to neuropsychiatric symptoms. Attachment security had important consequences for caregiver psychological health. Implications of methodological issues such as the choice of respondent, measurement issues, and the lack of a longitudinal perspective are discussed. The implications of attachment for the support of people with dementia and caregivers are considered.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Little information is available regarding the extent of strategy use and factors that affect strategy use in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). This study aimed to compare spontaneous strategy use and beliefs about the controllability of memory between aMCI and healthy older adult (HOA) samples and to explore the relationships between beliefs, strategy use, and memory performance for both groups.
The aMCI and HOA groups each composed of 60 individuals matched for age and education. The Memory Controllability Inventory was used to assess control beliefs, and the extent of semantic clustering on a list-learning task provided a measure of spontaneous strategy use.
The aMCI group endorsed lower control beliefs and demonstrated poorer semantic clustering and memory performance compared with the HOA group. Although strategy use partially mediated the control beliefs-memory performance relationship for the HOA group, this was not replicated for the aMCI group.
Despite the weak relationship between control beliefs and strategy use, and control beliefs and memory performance for the aMCI group, the strong relationship between strategy use and memory performance provides impetus for further research into factors that can be used as a means of enhancing strategy use in interventions for aMCI.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Measures of memory awareness based on evaluative judgement and performance monitoring are often regarded as equivalent, but the Levels of Awareness Framework suggests they reflect different awareness phenomena. Examination of memory awareness among groups with differing degrees of impairment provides a test of this proposition.
Ninety-nine people with dementia (PwD), 30 people with mild cognitive impairment (PwMCI), and their relatives completed isomorphic performance monitoring and evaluative judgement measures of memory awareness and were followed up at 12 and (PwD only) 20 months. In addition to the resulting awareness indices, comparative accuracy scores were calculated using the relatives' data to establish whether any inaccuracy was specific to self-ratings.
When making evaluative judgements about their memory in general, both PwD and PwMCI tended to overestimate their own functioning relative to informant ratings made by relatives. When monitoring performance on memory tests, PwD again overestimated performance relative to test scores, but PwMCI were much more accurate. Comparative accuracy scores indicated that, unlike PwD, PwMCI do not show a specific inaccuracy in self-related appraisals.
The results support the proposition that awareness indices at the levels of evaluative judgement and performance monitoring should be regarded as reflecting distinct awareness phenomena.
No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Acceptability and fidelity assessments are an integral part of research, although few published trials comment on these processes in detail.
We designed a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to identify the benefits of a cognition-focused intervention for older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Participants completed a six-item feedback questionnaire identifying level of satisfaction with their allocated intervention; this formed the acceptability assessment. Audio recordings of all sessions were reviewed and systematically assessed and rated for consistency of delivery (fidelity assessment).
Mean attendance (standard deviation) was 8.1 sessions (2.8) for the cognitive activity (CA) group and 8.4 (2.6) for the control general education group. There were no differences between groups regarding clarity and interest, willingness to attend the program in the community and pay a fee. Both groups reported the interventions to be relevant to their needs; however, this was rated more highly by the CA group (p < 0.01). There was high adherence to delivery of program content across both groups, yielding consistency scores above 95%.
This study illustrates a systematic approach to assess acceptability and fidelity. The results show that the intervention was well received and met the needs of all participants. The manualized structure of the sessions facilitated the systematic implementation and reproducibility of the interventions. Acceptability and fidelity assessments have implications for the validity of assumptions made regarding trial outcomes and should therefore be included as standard process in RCTs.
No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · International Psychogeriatrics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Executive functioning is frequently impaired among people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Little is known about awareness of executive functioning, in the sense of being able to accurately appraise functioning or performance, in people with PD, or about whether awareness is particularly affected in those who have impaired executive functioning. This study explored awareness of executive functioning at the levels of evaluative judgment (comparison of self- and informant ratings of executive functioning), and performance monitoring (comparison of performance on cognitive tests and self-ratings of that performance). Awareness levels were assessed in people with PD with and without executive deficits, and in healthy controls. When the level of agreement between self- and informant ratings was considered, people with PD in both groups appeared as accurate in evaluating their overall executive functioning as healthy controls. When appraising their performance as the specific tasks were completed, people with PD who had impairments in executive functioning appeared less accurate than controls and people with PD without executive impairments. People with PD who have executive deficits may lack the ability to recognize their limitations while performing specific tasks, which may have implications for their functional abilities. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1-12.).
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: . People with Alzheimer disease (AD) are capable of new learning when cognitive support is provided, suggesting that there is plasticity even in a degenerating brain. However, it is unclear how a cognition-focused intervention operates on a neural level. OBJECTIVE: . The present study examined the effects of cognitive rehabilitation (CR) on memory-related brain activation in people with early-stage AD, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). METHODS: . A total of 19 participants either received 8 weeks of CR treatment (n = 7) or formed a control group (n = 12). We scanned participants pretreatment and posttreatment while they learned and recognized unfamiliar face-name pairs. RESULTS: . Following treatment, the CR group showed higher brain activation during recognition of face-name pairs in the left middle and inferior frontal gyri, the left insula, and 2s regions in the right medial parietal cortex. The control group showed decreased activation in these areas during recognition after the intervention period. Neither group showed an activation change during encoding. Behavioral performance on face-name learning did not improve for either group. CONCLUSIONS: . We suggest that CR may have operated on the process of recognition through partial restoration of function in frontal brain areas that are less compromised in early-stage AD and that physiological markers may be more sensitive indicators of brain plasticity than behavioral performance.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Neurorehabilitation and neural repair
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to determine whether people in the early stages of dementia experience their sense of identity differently to healthy older people and to examine whether different aspects of identity are related to each other in each group. This was a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study; 50 people with early-stage dementia and 50 age-matched people without dementia completed measures pertaining to different aspects of identity. Measures of mood and self-esteem were also included so that any differences could be taken into account in the analysis. There were very few differences in identity between the groups. After differences in levels of anxiety were accounted for, there were no differences in scores on most measures of identity. However, people in the early stages of dementia scored significantly lower on one subtotal for one measure of identity, whereas healthy older adults reported significantly more identity-related distress than people in the early stages of dementia. For both groups, there were no associations between different aspects of identity. People in the early stages of dementia do not differ much from healthy older adults in terms of their identity. Since healthy older people experience more distress relating to identity, they may be more likely to benefit from some sort of intervention than people in the early stages of dementia. It might be useful to consider identity as consisting of multiple components in future studies, rather than assuming that one aspect of identity represents the overall experience of identity.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Aging and Mental Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Although recent diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease propose the use of biomarkers, validation of these biomarkers by diagnostic test accuracy studies is a necessary first step, followed by the synthesis of the evidence from these studies in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The quality of the resulting evidence depends on the number and size of the primary studies, their quality, and the adequacy of their reporting. This systematic review assesses the weight and quality of the evidence available from primary diagnostic test accuracy studies.
A MEDLINE search was performed in August 2011 to identify all potentially relevant publications relating to the biomarkers β-amyloid, tau, positron emission tomography ((18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose or ligands for amyloid), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The reporting and methodology were assessed using the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy and Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies assessment tools, respectively. Because clinical progression to dementia is the most commonly used reference standard, this review focuses on participants with objective cognitive impairment but no dementia at baseline.
Of the 19,104 published references identified by the search, 142 longitudinal studies relating to the biomarkers of interest were identified, which included subjects who had objective cognitive impairment but no dementia at baseline. The highest number of studies (n = 70) and of participants (n = 4722) related to structural MRI. MRI also yielded the highest number of studies with extractable data for meta-analysis (n = 32 [46% of all structural MRI studies]), followed by cerebrospinal fluid tau (n = 24 [73%]). There were few studies on positron emission tomography ligands for amyloid having suitable data for meta-analysis (n = 4). There was considerable variation across studies in reporting outcomes, methods of blinding and selection, means of accounting for indeterminate or missing values, the interval between the test and assessments, and the determination of test thresholds.
The body of evidence for biomarkers is not large and is variable across the different types of biomarkers. Important information is missing from many study reports, highlighting the need for standardization of methodology and reporting to improve the rigor of biomarker validation.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Awareness in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has been studied primarily from a quantitative perspective, which has yielded inconclusive results. A qualitative approach may provide a more in-depth profile of awareness of symptoms and changes among people living with MCI. Few qualitative studies have considered awareness in MCI; therefore, the focus here will be on the experience of living with MCI, and particularly on the psychological impact of living with memory difficulties and how these impact on daily life. Twenty five participants with a clinical diagnosis of MCI who had been informed of their diagnosis were interviewed. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyse interview transcripts. Four higher order themes were identified. An exploratory model is proposed with a dominant theme of 'Fear and uncertainty'; this underpins 'Interdependence', 'Life goes on as normal' and 'Disavowal of difficulty' which are representative of coping responses resulting from appraisal of memory and cognitive difficulties. Participants did not use the term 'MCI', suggesting that this term had little meaning for them; nevertheless, there was a wish for a definitive explanation of the difficulties. The themes elicited from participant accounts indicate that the symptoms of MCI are perceived as a threat to psychological well-being which results in context-specific appraisal of the symptoms of MCI.
No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Aging and Mental Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The extent to which care home residents with severe dementia show awareness is influenced by the extent to which the environment provides opportunities for engagement and by the way in which care staff interact with them. We aimed to establish whether training care staff to observe and identify signs of awareness in residents with severe dementia resulted in improved quality of life for residents.
In this pilot cluster randomized trial, care staff in four homes (n = 32) received training and supervision and carried out structured observations of residents using the AwareCare measure (n = 32) over an eight-week period, while staff in four control homes (n = 33) had no training with regard to their residents (n = 33) and no contact with the research team. The primary outcome was resident quality of life. Secondary outcomes were resident well-being, behavior and cognition, staff attitudes and well-being, and care practices in the home.
Following intervention, residents in the intervention group had significantly better quality of life as rated by family members than those in the control group, but care staff ratings of quality of life did not differ. There were no other significant between-group differences. Staff participating in the intervention identified benefits in terms of their understanding of residents' needs.
Staff were able to use the observational measure effectively and relatives of residents in the intervention homes perceived an improvement in their quality of life.
No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · International Psychogeriatrics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lifestyle factors playing a role in the development of late-life disability may be modifiable. There is a need for robust evidence about the potential for prevention of disability through behavior change interventions.
This feasibility study involves the development, implementation and initial testing of a behavior change intervention in a naturalistic setting. A small-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) will investigate the implementation of a goal-setting intervention aimed at promoting behavior change in the domains of physical and cognitive activity in the context of a community resource center for over-50s. Healthy older participants attending the center (n = 75) will be randomized to one of three conditions: control (an interview involving a general discussion about the center); goal-setting (an interview involving identification of up to five personal goals in the domains of physical activity, cognitive activity, diet and health, and social engagement); or goal-setting with mentoring (the goal-setting interview followed by bi-monthly telephone mentoring). All participants will be reassessed after 12 months. Primary outcomes are levels of physical and cognitive activity. Secondary outcomes address psychosocial (self-efficacy, mood, quality of life), cognitive (memory and executive function), and physical fitness (functional and metabolic) domains. Cost-effectiveness will also be examined.
This study will provide information about the feasibility of a community-based lifestyle intervention model for over-50s and of the implementation of a goal-setting intervention for behavior change, together with initial evidence about the short-term effects of goal-setting on behavior.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN30080637 (http://www.controlled-trials.com).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Numerous theoretical models have been developed to explore how caregiving can impact on caregiving outcomes. However, limited attention has been given to the effects of caregivers’ motivations for providing care, the meaning they find in caregiving, and the nature of their relationship with the care-recipient. The current study explored the associations between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, ability to find meaning in caregiving, and pre-caregiving and current relationship quality, and the way in which these variables interact to influence caregiving outcomes.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire study, in which the respondents were 447 caregivers of people with dementia who were in receipt of a specialist nursing service.
Results: The results showed that intrinsic motivations, meaning, and pre-caregiving and current relationship quality were significantly related to each other, while extrinsic motivations were only related to intrinsic motivations and meaning. All these factors were significantly related to caregiving outcomes as measured by caregiver burden, role captivity, and competence.
Conclusions: Based on these findings, it is recommended that interventions aimed at reducing caregiving stress should take into account the impact of the quality of the relationship and the caregivers’ motivations for providing care. More longitudinal research is needed to explore how meanings, motivations, and relationship quality change over the caregiving career.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · International Psychogeriatrics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The assessment of executive function (EF) and activities of daily living (ADL) are important elements in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
Following a comprehensive search in three databases, a random-effects meta-analysis was used to investigate the association between ADL ability and seventeen tests of EF, three tests of attention and working memory and the Mini-Mental State Examination. The association between EF and ADL ability was further investigated in relation to four different methods of assessing ADL, and one specific ADL, driving.
Forty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria, and a total of 3,663 participants were included, the majority of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Most of the individual tests, including commonly used tests of EF such as the Clock Drawing Test, Letter Fluency and the Trail Making Test Part B, showed a significant moderate association with ADL. Associations between EF and ADL ability were similar for all four methods of assessing ADL ability. Driving ability was also moderately associated with EF.
The meta-analysis suggests a consistent moderate association between ADL and EF, supporting the growing evidence for a link between ADL and executive dysfunction in early dementia.
full text (free access) available from here: http://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/338233
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders