Stress Relief and Memory Training Center

Rehabilitation Model for Alzheimer’s Disease as a Combined Treatment Strategy to Postpone Cognitive Decline in Real Life, Depressed, Medically ill and Physically Disabled Patients

This presentation describes a innovative novel, rehabilitation model for dementia/depression, based on pathogenesis of Alzheimer’ s disease and multiple intervention modalities.

Valentin Bragin,M.D., PhD, Ilya Bragin M.D.
Stress Relief and Memory Training Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA.

Poster presentation at the 10th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Prague, Czech Republic, May 29, June 2, 2011

Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a multi-faceted, whole brain and body illness. Corpus callosum and white matter changes, poor blood circulation in the cortex and subcortical areas, chronic hypoxia, mitochondria and multiple neurotransmitters failure, gait and hand movement disabilities are among the factors which contribute to the progression of AD. Many of these factors are taken into account in our decade-long, working model for medically ill, physically disabled people with mild to moderate dementia, accompanied by depression. The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate key elements of this program.

Methods: The treatment model is designed to activate brain functions by restoring brain blood circulation, nutrients, and oxygen supply to the brain, neurotransmitters activities, and hemispheric imbalance along with increasing sensory input to the brain. The aim of the initial evaluation is to make a determination of preserved cognitive and movement functions in order to tailor an individualized, home-based training program, including a customized DVD and workbook.  The treatment protocol consists of pharmacological and non-pharmacological elements. The pharmacological part is a combination of medications for depression and dementia, and symptomatic-based therapy for insomnia, pain, and other problems. The non-pharmacological part consists of vitamins and supplements, diet, physical exercises combined with computerized and non-computerized attention, and memory training.

Results: Over time, we have demonstrated not just preservation but also improvement of cognitive functions in different cognitive domains (memory, attention, and executive functions) during 6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 month intervals of the treatment. The hand movement improvements were demonstrated in video recording.

Conclusion: Based on this working model, an integrative approach to AD treatment shows promising results. The possibility to both improve the quality of life and delay nursing home placement is certainly on the horizon. Furthermore, controlled studies using this combined therapy model for real life patients are necessary.

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