Multistimulation group therapy in Alzheimer's disease promotes changes in brain functioning

Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2015 Jan;29(1):13-24. doi: 10.1177/1545968314532833. Epub 2014 Apr 29.


Background. The growing social emergency represented by Alzheimer's disease (AD) and the lack of medical treatments able to modify the disease course have kindled the interest in nonpharmacological therapies. Objective. We introduced a novel nonpharmacological approach for people with AD (PWA) named Multidimensional Stimulation group Therapy (MST) to improve PWA condition in different disease domains: cognition, behavior, and motor functioning. Methods. Enrolling 60 PWA in a mild to moderate stage of the disease, we evaluated the efficacy of MST with a randomized-controlled study. Neuropsychological and neurobehavioral measures and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were considered as outcome measures. Results. The following significant intervention-related changes were observed: reduction in Neuropsychiatric Inventory scale score, improvement in language and memory subscales of Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale, and increased fMRI activations in temporal brain areas, right insular cortex, and thalamus. Conclusions. Cognitive-behavioral and fMRI results support the notion that MST has significant effects in improving PWA cognitive-behavioral status by restoring neural functioning.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; MRI; cognitive therapy; functional MRI; language; magnetic resonance imaging; occupational therapy; recreation therapy; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease* / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / rehabilitation
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Caregivers
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Verbal Learning


  • Oxygen