Animal-assisted therapy and Nutrition in Alzheimer's disease

West J Nurs Res. 2002 Oct;24(6):697-712. doi: 10.1177/019394502320555430.


This study examined the influence of animal-assisted therapy, specifically fish aquariums, on nutritional intake in individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Sixty-two individuals with AD who lived in specialized units were studied. Baseline nutritional data were obtained followed by a 2-week treatment period when the aquariums were introduced. The treatment data were collected daily for 2 weeks then weekly for 6 weeks. Nutritional intake increased significantly (21.1%; p <.001) when the aquariums were introduced and continued to increase during the 6-week weekly follow-up. Weight increased significantly (1.65 lbs; p < .001) over the 16-week period In addition, participants required less nutritional supplementation, resulting in health care cost savings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Hospital Units
  • Human-Animal Bond*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*