The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Acupressure to treat agitation in people with dementia

    Agitated behavior occurs in nearly half of patients with dementia. It can be the difference between a person qualifying for different levels (and cost) of nursing home care.

    The problem is that the nursing staff is limited in using drugs to control it.

    Now, the results of a small study at the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan suggest that acupressure might be a useful alternative.

    • Each of 31 nursing home patients were treated with both acupressure or companionship and conversation separated by a one week to ensure no carryover effect.
    • Treatments lasted 15 minutes, given twice a day, five days a week for four weeks.
    • Effectiveness of treatment was based on the results of a caregiver questionnaire and daily agitation records about physical and non-physical attacks, and verbal and non-verbal attacks.

    And the results.

    • Acupressure was an effective, non-intrusive method to decrease agitation in patients with dementia.
    • The effects began to fade within a week of the last treatment.

    OK, we need another confirmatory study in a larger group of patients.

    A nice summary of the study is available here at Medical News Today.

    1/27/07 23:34 JR

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