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Football Can Benefit Alzheimer Patients

By Suparna Chakaraborthy

While doctors are cracking their brains to get treatment for Alzheimer, the patients themselves seem to have come up with a remedy. The conversational skills of a dementia sufferer, who only used to speak to reveal what he wanted for dinner or to say that he was going to bed, has returned after joining a group of men sharing their memories of great football games.

George Jaconelli runs a weekly group, where men with Alzheimer and other forms of dementia meet to revive long-past football memories.

Doctors believe that this practice could have an amazing effect on the patients. A study has supported this by showing that dementia sufferers can start to communicate again and see their symptoms reduced, even if just for a short time.

Professor Debbie Tolson, said, "A lack of social stimulation is harmful for people with dementia. It exaggerates the impact of the condition. It can lead to depression and it encourages people to withdraw into themselves."

Tolson confirmed that football conversation has a better impact because the topic has a common acceptance. This though not a cure, has benefits sometimes for a few hours or a few days in different people.

"We found that it encouraged people to converse, that it seemed to offset some of the low mood, that it certainly helped people deal with some of the feelings of frustration," Tolson said.

Read more about: alzeimer communication
Story first published: Friday, March 19, 2010, 15:11 [IST]
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