Outdoor "medicine" for dementia

Outdoor "medicine" for dementia

Often patients with dementia develop psychiatric symptoms such as aggression and anxiety, for which the usual treatment is medication.

Here we should make it clear that dementia is not a specific disorder, but a group of disorders that cause memory, intellectual disabilities and social skills. In other words, it is a general term used to describe various neurological conditions.


Serious side effects from psychotropic drugs

The usual pharmaceutical method is to administer antipsychotic drugs to treat symptoms such as aggression, anxiety, delirium, and hallucinations.

Unfortunately, antipsychotic drugs have been blamed for an increased risk of stroke in the elderly with dementia, as conventional medicine itself admits.

Apart from causing serious side effects, medication seems to be ineffective, compared to non-medicinal interventions such as outdoor activities and massage.


The best medicine is the outdoors

A study published in the journal "Annals of Internal Medicine" found that outdoor activities were more effective than the administration of antipsychotic drugs to treat psychiatric symptoms such as aggression.

Similarly, for patients experiencing physical hyperstimulation (massage), massage and touch therapy were more effective.

This research was carried out by Toronto's Saint Michael's Hospital and the University of Calgary, both in Canada.

"Dementia affects about 50 million people worldwide and about three-quarters of those living with the disease are suffering from neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, anxiety and aggression," said Jennifer Watt, a researcher at the Hospital's Michael.

The study examined 23,143 people with dementia, based on medication and non-medication interventions to combat aggression and anxiety.


A personalized approach is required

One important conclusion that the researchers came up with, which comes to enhance the usefulness of non-therapeutic interventions, is that the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia should not be treated jointly, but in a personalized approach.

Dr. Sharon Strauss, director of Saint Michael's Knowledge Translation program and a geneticist at the same hospital, said that "treatment should be tailored to each patient and his experience." In the same vein, future research should investigate whether the individual characteristics of patients influence their response to treatment.

In any case, the researchers pointed to the importance of a therapeutic approach that puts people at the center.



Jennifer A. Watt, Zahra Goodazi et al, (2019), Comparative Efficacy of Interventions for Aggressive and Agitated Behaviors in DementiaA Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis, Annals of Internal Medicine.


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