Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for Improvement of Cognitive Function in Dementia? (Cochrane Database / BMJ)

[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 8, March 2012; and later in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 3 Issue 1, August 2012].


This BMJ article (and a Cochrane systematic review) explores the potential use of mental exercises and activities to maintain and improve cognitive function for patients attending memory clinics. Evidence is weak for individual psychological interventions to improve cognition in dementia. Many people with dementia are unable to take part in group therapy due to sensory impairments, unwilling to participate or unable to get to local groups.

A recent six-week study into the potential of online brain training to improve reasoning, memory, planning, visuospatial skills and attention found that specific improvements did not transfer to generalised untrained tasks. The authors of this article reviewed numerous systematic reviews of psychological interventions in dementia. They found that individual cognitive stimulation therapy (usually carer led) might be promising, but it is premature to recommend this treatment routinely in dementia care without for further confirmatory research. (For a slightly different view, refer to Economic Evaluation of Alternatives to Antipsychotic Drugs for Individuals Living with Dementia).

Full Text Link (a)


Woods, B. Aguirre, E. [and] Spector, AE. [et al] (2012). Cognitive stimulation to improve cognitive functioning in people with dementia. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online), February 15th 2012, Issue 2, No.CD005562. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).

Full Text Link (b) (Access requires an Athens password or journal subscription).


Orrell, M. Woods, B. [and] Spector, A. Should we use individual cognitive stimulation therapy to improve cognitive function in people with dementia? BMJ, February 15th 2012; 344, e633.

See also: Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in Acute Hospitals, Community Care, For Doctors (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), For Researchers (mostly), For Social Workers (mostly), International, Management of Condition, Systematic Reviews, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.