Authors: Parlak MM, Kose A, Guc M, Munis OB
Title: Development of mobile compatible software for cognitive-communication disorder in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2024 59(1): 234-254
Year: 2024
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
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BACKGROUND: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Cognitive functions and communication skills worsen as the disease progresses, thereby reducing patients' independence levels. Therefore, recommending software that can be used at home may be a useful means of slowing down the cognitive and communicative decline in AD. AIMS: To develop software that can be used at home to slow down the cognitive and communicative decline and increase independence in individuals with AD; and to examine the effect of this software on the cognitive communication skills of individuals with AD. METHODS & PROCEDURES: The study was completed in four stages: the development of the application; the evaluation of the participants and their training for the application; their use of the application at home; and the re-evaluation of the participants. A total of 32 individuals who met the inclusion criteria were included in the study. These individuals were randomly divided into study and control groups, each consisting of a total of 16 participants, including six in the mild stage, six in the moderate stage, and four in the severe stages. The developed software was loaded on tablets and given to the participants in the study group. The participants in the control group only received their pharmacological treatment, while those in the study group received both their pharmacological treatment and used the developed application. All participants were evaluated with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Language Assessment Test for Aphasia (LATA) before and after application use. A survey was administered to the caregivers of the participants in the study group after the use of the application. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: The results revealed a positive change in the cognitive-communication skills of the individuals in the study group, even if they were in the severe stage, according to the LATA and MMSE, as well as the survey. The application led to the greatest improvements in grammar on the LATA and orientation on the MMSE. No rapid cognitive decline was seen in individuals at all stages in the control group. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: In this study, software was developed in Turkish that can be used in every stage of AD as part of a holistic cognitive-communication intervention programme offering alternative and supportive communication for individuals with AD, even those in the severe stage. Results prove the effectiveness of the developed software on the cognitive-communication skills of individuals with AD.

Access: Open Access