Objective: This pilot study investigated the effects of multiple training modalities on cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms, caregivers' burden, and quality of life in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Patients and methods: This intervention study was conducted in 24 patients with AD aged ≥65 years with a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) score of 0.5-1. The patients were assigned to receive multiple training modalities (1 hour for each training: Tai Chi, calligraphy, and drawing) over a 6-week period in either the experimental group (n=14) or the comparison group (n=10). A series of neuropsychological tests - namely the Traditional Chinese version Mini-Mental Status Examination, Cognitive Assessment Screening Instrument (CASI), Neuropsychiatric Inventory and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale, and the Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes scale - were conducted at the baseline and after the intervention. The World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) and Zarit Caregiver Burden Scale were used to assess the quality of life and caregivers' burden, respectively. Independent sample t-test and paired sample t-test were used to analyze the data.
Results: After the intervention, the experimental group reported higher scores in the orientation domain of CASI (P=0.007) and in the psychiatry domain of WHOQOL-BREF (P=0.042) compared with the comparison group. Caregivers' distress was significantly decreased in the experimental group (P=0.035) but not in the comparison group (P=0.430).
Conclusion: The multiple training modalities improved scores in the orientation domain of CASI and psychiatry domain of WHOQOL-BREF in patients with AD. Moreover, the intervention reduced caregivers' distress.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; caregivers’ burden; cognitive function; multiple training modalities; quality of life.