Cognitive rehabilitation has been shown to be effective in treating a wide variety of neurological disorders including traumatic brain injury and stroke. Until recently, there has been limited data examining the effects of cognitive rehabilitation in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Results from our recent NIH-funded Cognitive Rehabilitation Pilot Trial demonstrate that an integrated program that employs specific techniques such as spaced retrieval, procedural learning and dual cognitive support significantly improves and maintains gains in performance on a number of cognitive tasks among mildly impaired AD patients who are on a stable dose of a cholinesterase inhibitor. Given the promise of newer and more effective pharmacological agents in the future, these findings have important implications for optimizing and maintaining the patient's cognitive and functional independence. The proposed study represents an attempt to compare the efficacy of an improved cognitive rehabilitation program incorporating prospective memory training among mildly impaired AD patients on a cholinesterase inhibitor versus mildly impaired patients on a cholinesterase inhibitor alone. A unique aspect of this study is to determine the extent to which maintenance sessions can maximally prolong postintervention cognitive rehabilitation treatment gains. In addition to the direct benefit to AD patients, the interventions will be evaluated with regards to their impact on caregiver's distress and perceived burden.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-7 (J4))
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University of South Florida
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