Dementia Tsar Shines Light on Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for People with Dementia (Department of Health, Dementia)

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


Professor Alistair Burns (National Clinical Dementia Director, Department of Health) recently drew attention to a Cochrane review into the benefits of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST). This review, which actually first appeared in February 2012, indicates that cognitive stimulation programmes do appear to offer clear and consistent benefits to cognition in people with mild to moderate dementia (even allowing for any medication effects). Careful reading of the review also cautions that further research of higher quality is recommended, but it is perhaps unnecessary to dwell on those considerations here. 

Professor Burns points out:

“Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is a psychosocial, evidence-based, group intervention for people with dementia recommended by the UK NICE guidelines.

CST is starting to be used in community, care home and hospital settings and was also strongly endorsed by the [2011] World Alzheimers Report“.

Further, Matrix Evidence’s Economic Evaluation of Alternatives to Antipsychotic Drugs for Individuals Living with Dementia, conducted for the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, showed that CST provides an evidence-based intervention which could save the NHS over £54.9 million per year compared to the use of antipsychotics.

Read more: Cochrane Review supportive of cognitive stimulation therapy for people with dementia.  (London: Department of Health; Dementia blog, July 12th 2012).

Suggested Further Reading / Source Documents

The systematic review(s):

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.

The 2011 World Alzheimer Report:

Full Text Link (c)


Prince, M. Bryce, R. [and] Ferri, C. (2011). The world alzheimer report 2011: the benefits of early diagnosis and intervention. New York and London: Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), September 2011.

Note: There is an executive summary available:

Full Text Link (d)


Executive summary to the world alzheimer report 2011: the benefits of early diagnosis and intervention. New York and London: Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), September 2011.

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement Economic Evaluation:

Full Text Link (e)


Matrix Evidence (2011). An economic evaluation of alternatives to antipsychotic drugs for individuals living with dementia. Coventry: NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, October 2011.

Other Sources & Resources:

Full Text Link (f)


Knowles, J. (2010). Cognitive stimulation therapy: NICE or not? Old Age Psychiatrist: Newsletter of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age. Summer 2010, Number 52, pp.6-8.

Finally, perhaps the most definitive assessment to date, from NHS Evidence:

Full Text Link (g)


NHS Evidence (2012). The benefits of cognitive stimulation for people with dementia. NHS Evidence’s Eyes on Evidence: expert commentary on important new evidence, Issue 39, July 2012. pp.3-4.

See also the UCL-based researcher’s website: 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, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), Community Care, Department of Health, For Carers (mostly), For Doctors (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), For Researchers (mostly), For Social Workers (mostly), Management of Condition, National, NHS, NHS Evidence, Non-Pharmacological Treatments, Quick Insights, Systematic Reviews, UK, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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