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Long-term maintenance of treatment gains following a cognitive rehabilitation intervention in early dementia of Alzheimer type: A single case study
Clare, L., WILSON, B.A., Carter, G., HODGES, J.R. & Adams, M.
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 11, 477-494
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It has been suggested that "memory retraining" has no lasting effect beyond the end of the treatment session (Rabins, 1996). Although this is contradicted by cognitive rehabilitation studies showing that gains can be demonstrated and maintained, few researchers have presented long-term follow-up data. Recent studies (Clare, Wilson, Breen, & Hodges, 1999; Clare et al., 2000) have provided post-intervention follow-up data for one participant that was collected over a 9 month period, during which performance on trained face-name associations remained at ceiling levels. This paper reports a further, naturalistic follow-up of this participant over an additional period of 2 years, during which his recall of 10 trained face-name associations was evaluated and compared to performance on three untrained, previously-known items retained as part of the full set of stimulus materials throughout the whole study. Recall remained relatively stable over year 1 and showed a modest decline for both trained and previously-known items during year 2. Differences between year 1 and year 2 were significant only for untrained items. At the end of year 2, performance on trained items remained well above initial baseline levels. These results are discussed in the context of information derived from neuropsychological assessment, scans and self-report measures. It is argued, on the basis of the results presented here, that long-term maintenance of gains resulting from targeted cognitive rehabilitation interventions is possible, and that in view of this it will be important to evaluate the broader impact of cognitive rehabilitation interventions on quality of life and on the progression of dementia.