Vol. 7 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2013
Original Article Páginas: 181 a 189

Education, leisure activities and cognitive and functional ability of Alzheimer's disease patients: A follow-up study

Authors Margarida Sobral1,2; Constança Paúl2

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keywords: aging; Alzheimer's disease; education; leisure activities.

ABSTRACT:
Education and participation in leisure activities appear to be highly relevant variables in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and usually form the basis of the Cognitive Reserve construct.
OBJECTIVE: [A] To determine the association between education, cognitive and functional ability of AD patients; [B] To determine the association between participation in leisure activities and cognitive and functional ability of AD patients; [C] To evaluate the association of education and participation in leisure activities in the course of AD.
METHODS: Functional and neuropsychological abilities of 120 outpatients with probable AD were evaluated at baseline, at 36 and 54 months. Data collected at baseline included socio-demographics, clinical variables, education and frequency of participation in leisure activities throughout life. All participants and/or caregivers answered the questionnaire, "Participation in leisure activities throughout life" while patients completed the MMSE, the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, neuropsychological tests from the Lisbon Screening for Dementia Assessment, Barthel Index and Lawton and Brody's Index.
RESULTS: AD patients with higher levels of education achieved better results on cognitive tests. The participants with higher participation in leisure activities exhibited better results on cognitive and functional tests than those with lower participation. The disease progression was linear and progressed similarly regardless of the level of education of participants. However, the results suggest a slower disease progression in patients with a higher level of participation in leisure activities throughout their lives.
CONCLUSION: AD patients with high education and high participation in leisure activities may benefit from a slower cognitive and functional decline after diagnosis of AD.

 

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