Background: Recent findings of neuroimaging studies indicate that reading aloud and arithmetic calculation activate bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of humans. The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of reading aloud and arithmetic calculation, by elderly people who were clinically diagnosed with dementia Alzheimer type, on their brain functions and activities of daily living.
Methods: Sixteen experimental and 16 age- and Mini-Mental State Examination score-matched control subjects participated. The participants in the experimental group were asked to perform a training program using learning tasks in reading and arithmetic for 2-6 days a week. The function of the frontal cortex of the subjects was assessed by FAB at bedside (Frontal Assessment Battery).
Results: After 6 months of training, the FAB score of the experimental group showed a statistically significant improvement. The FAB score of the control group decreased slightly over the 6-month period, and the difference between the scores of the experimental and control groups was statistically significant. We also observed the restoration of communication and independence in the experimental group.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that learning tasks of reading aloud and arithmetic calculation can be used for cognitive rehabilitation of dementia patients.