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Cognitive rehabilitation as a component of early intervention in Alzheimer's disease: a single case study
Clare, L., WILSON, B.A., Carter, G. & HODGES, J.R
Aging & Mental Health, 7(1), 15-21
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Early intervention in Alzheimer's disease (AD) should focus on psychological and social needs as well as the provision of medication. One possible component of early intervention programmes for people with early-stage AD is cognitive rehabilitation aimed at fostering the development of strategies for coping with memory problems. The likely relevance of cognitive rehabilitation in early-stage AD is supported by neuropsychological and experimental learning studies, but further work is required to develop clinically relevant interventions, which can be applied in the real-life setting. This paper presents a single case intervention study in which a 66-year-old man with early-stage AD learned the names of 13 members of his support group using a mnemonic strategy coupled with either expanding rehearsal or repeated presentation, or both, within an errorless learning paradigm. Recall scores improved from a mean of 2.31% at initial baseline to 91.46% following intervention, and gains were largely maintained at follow-up. There was no evidence of any increase in depression, anxiety or caregiver strain during the intervention. The results support the view that cognitive rehabilitation interventions may form a valuable component of comprehensive early intervention programmes for people with AD.