Effectiveness of nonpharmacological approaches in patients with mild cognitive impairment

Neurodegener Dis. 2011;8(3):138-45. doi: 10.1159/000320575. Epub 2010 Dec 3.


Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients are at increased risk of developing dementia. There is a conflict if cognitive interventions can improve cognitive and functional performances in order to delay the development of dementia.

Objectives: This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of a holistic cognitive rehabilitation program on patients with MCI.

Methods: The participants, 176 MCI patients with Mini-Mental State Examination = 27.89 (1.73), were classified into 2 groups matched for age, gender, education and cognitive abilities: (1) patients (104) on nonpharmacological therapy and (2) patients (72) on no therapy at all. The effectiveness of the interventions was assessed by neuropsychological evaluation performed at baseline and at the end of the interventions.

Results: Between-group difference in benefit of the experimental group was demonstrated in abilities of executive function (p = 0.004), verbal memory (p = 0.003), praxis (p ≤ 0.012), daily function (p = 0.001) and general cognitive ability (p ≤ 0.005). The experimental patients improved cognitive and functional performances, while the control patients demonstrated deterioration in daily function (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that nonpharmacological therapy of the holistic approach can improve MCI patients' cognitive and functional performances.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Treatment Outcome