Acupuncture/ pressureAlzheimer's Dementia

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

Hi, I’m JR

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.