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Various art programs are available for people with dementia. These have been shown to contribute to the patient’s quality of life. But are all types of art suitable for this purpose and for the target group? This study investigated whether responsiveness during museum programs depends on the type of art work shown and/or characteristics of the person with dementia, such as severity of dementia or specific cognitive impairments.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in which the responsiveness of people with dementia to different types of art was investigated as part of a study into the implementation of the Unforgettable program, an interactive guided museum tour program in Dutch museums for people with dementia.
The appreciative and active responsiveness and interaction with others during the program appeared related to the severity of dementia, to specific cognitive impairments, and to type of artworks. People with more severe dementia responded less to art than people with mild dementia. Artworks with more natural elements revealed less interaction with others. Artifacts (i.e., objects not originally meant as artworks) evoked more reactions than artworks.
The study results are important to take into account when designing and offering art programs for people with dementia. Knowing which type of art works appeals most to (subgroups of) people with dementia will contribute to the optimization of art programs for this target group and to their active participation in such programs.
It has been hypothesized that stressful life events are associated with changes in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis regulation, which increases susceptibility to psychiatric disorders. We investigated the association of early and late life events with HPA axis regulation in older persons.
Within the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) 1055 participants (47% male), aged 63–93 years, collected saliva within 30 min after waking and late in the evening. Early and late life events were assessed during a home interview. The associations between life events and cortisol levels were examined using linear regression and analysis of covariance with adjustments for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors and depressive symptoms.
Within our sample, the median morning and evening cortisol levels were 15.0 nmol/l [interdecile range (10–90%): 7.4–27.0 nmol/l] and 2.8 nmol/l (10–90%: 1.5–6.3 nmol/l), respectively. Persons who reported early life events showed lower levels of natural log-transformed morning cortisol [B=−0.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.17 to −0.04] and flattened diurnal variability of cortisol (B=−1.06, 95% CI −2.05 to −0.08). Those reporting two or more late life events showed higher levels of natural log-transformed morning cortisol (B=0.10, 95% CI 0.02–0.18) and higher diurnal variability (B=1.19, 95% CI 0.05–2.33). No associations were found with evening cortisol.
The results of this large population-based study of older persons suggest a differential association of early and late life events with HPA axis regulation; early life events were associated with a relative hypo-secretion of morning cortisol and flattened diurnal variability, while late life events were associated with elevated secretion of morning cortisol and high diurnal variability of cortisol.
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