Most of the research effort into Alzheimer's disease has tended to concentrate on drug treatment but other approaches to treating the condition can also be effective. Researchers at the University of Illinois looked at the effectiveness of an intensive 40-week programme of twice-weekly sessions of cognitive behaviour therapy and support groups, along with three sessions a week of qigong (Chinese meditation) and tai-chi. A control group was placed on a waiting list for the programme. After 20 weeks those taking part in the programme had improved balance and lower-leg strength, higher self-esteem and a slight improvement in their mental functioning. No additional benefits were seen after 40 weeks but participants were able to maintain their initial gains and the intervention proved very popular with the participants and their caregivers.
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