Time to read: 5 minutes
For the more than 55 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s Disease—including some 10 percent of Americans over the age of 65—it has never been more urgent to find Alzheimer’s Disease treatments that help preserve cognitive abilities and improve quality of life. Yet no single medication can stall the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Instead, a tandem regimen of medication and non-pharmacological therapy–such as cognitive rehabilitation—is considered the gold standard to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, in-person cognitive rehabilitation programs are inaccessible for far too many patients. High costs, provider shortages, and participation caps all contribute to the inability of many people to receive the treatment they need to continue living a full life with their Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Fortunately, recent technological advancements have enabled digital brain rehabilitation programs like Constant Therapy to bridge that treatment gap by connecting patients across the globe with the care they need right from the comfort of their own homes.
Neuroscience researchers have taken note, and increasingly Constant Therapy’s digital rehab program has been put to the test in rigorous experimental studies designed to measure its success as a treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease. Correspondingly, a September 2022 study published in the peer-reviewed journal JMIR Formative Research, investigated the feasibility of Constant Therapy as an intervention for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease. This BrainWire post summarizes the research’s key findings and discusses the practical implications for patients, caregivers, and clinicians.
The study in question, “Home-Based Electronic Cognitive Therapy in Patients With Alzheimer Disease: Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial,” was spearheaded by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. It primarily sought to assess whether Constant Therapy’s home-based cognitive rehabilitation program was an accessible tool to help people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) maintain their cognition and quality of life.
Researchers chose Constant Therapy for this study in part due to the abundance of prior neuroscience research performed with its evidence-based digital rehabilitation program. Indeed, past studies have found that Constant Therapy is a manageable and effective intervention for people with dementia and for people with aphasia.
Three questions in particular motivated this research study:
To find out, researchers developed a study with two groups.The 19 participants ranged from 50 to 90 years of age, and all had a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) secondary to Alzheimer’s disease. In the experimental group, participants were asked to practice Constant Therapy for 30 minutes daily over 24 weeks. In the active control group, by contrast, participants were asked to complete brain puzzles in a physical workbook for 30 to 60 minutes a day over 24 weeks. At 24 weeks, all study participants were given the option to continue practicing with Constant Therapy for another 24 weeks.
At weeks 0, 24, and 48, participants in both groups underwent the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS)–a battery of neuropsychological tests–to determine how the regimen to which they were assigned affected their cognitive and daily life functioning. To measure feasibility, researchers compared patient adherence to each program over the course of the six month period.
In encouraging news for current and prospective Constant Therapy users, this study found that Constant Therapy is a feasible treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease. Notably, the experimental (Constant Therapy) group exhibited better treatment adherence over the 24-week study period than did the active control (paper-and-pencil workbook) group. Eighty (80) percent of participants in the Constant Therapy group adhered to the program over the six months, as compared to just fifty five (55) percent of the control group participants.
The Constant Therapy group also demonstrated marked improvement over 24 weeks of practice, with median accuracy increasing and latency (response time) decreasing by a statistically significant level across all task domains. Moreover, the Constant Therapy group demonstrated greater improvement in coding—a measure of executive function ability—on the RBANS neuropsychological tests than did the control group. That finding led the researchers to conclude that “gains made during Constant Therapy have the potential to transfer onto neuropsychological test performance.”
This research provides encouraging evidence that Constant Therapy is a viable, at-home brain rehabilitation intervention. Indeed, through its proprietary, AI-powered NeuroPerformance Engine, Constant Therapy tailors its therapy program to each individual patient’s level, calibrating the difficulty and exercise progression accordingly. By contrast, traditional exercises completed in a workbook are centered around a one-size-fits-all approach that offers limited adaptation to a particular patient’s needs. The centrality of customization to Constant Therapy ensures not only that patients are practicing the specific cognitive skills they need help with, but also that they do not become discouraged by or bored with a program that is either too easy or too difficult.
Ultimately, these findings that Constant Therapy is a feasible intervention for patients with Alzheimer’s disease add to a growing body of research suggesting that digital brain rehabilitation via Constant Therapy should be considered as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, Constant Therapy offers a fourteen-day free trial to assess whether the program is a good fit. If you or someone you know might benefit from evidence-based cognitive rehabilitation, please see here for further details on how to take this next step in your health journey.
Marin, A., DeCaro, R., Schiloski, K., Elshaar, A., Dwyer, B., Vives-Rodriguez, A., Palumbo, R., Turk, K., & Budson, A. (2022). Home-Based Electronic Cognitive Therapy in Patients With Alzheimer Disease: Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Formative Research, 6(9), e34450. https://doi.org/10.2196/34450