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Research shows that cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) improves cognitive function, quality of life, and well-being of people with mild–moderate dementia. Despite consistent evidence and recommendations, CST is not routinely available in Ireland post-diagnosis. The aim of the current research was to develop and evaluate community-based CST for people with mild–moderate dementia, run by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland across four pilot sites in Ireland.
Participants with mild–moderate dementia attended once weekly CST sessions for 14 weeks. Baseline and post-intervention assessments were completed by CST participants, carers, and CST facilitators. Primary outcomes of interest for CST participants included quality of life (Quality of Life in Alzheimer Disease Scale), cognitive function (Montreal Cognitive Assessment), and subjective cognitive function (Memory Awareness Rating Scale-Functioning Subscale). Secondary outcomes included well-being, cognitive ability, satisfaction with cognitive performance, and engagement and confidence of CST participants; well-being of carers; and job satisfaction of facilitators. Post-intervention interviews supplemented quantitative analyses.
In total, 20 CST participants, 17 carers, and six CST facilitators completed evaluation assessments. Results showed that CST improved participants’ satisfaction with cognitive performance (p=0.002), level of engagement (p=0.046), level of confidence (p=0.026). Improvements on subjective cognitive function just fell short of significance (p=0.055). Qualitative analysis of interview data identified consistent themes of cognitive and overall benefits of CST; and provided support for quantitative data.
Community-based CST positively impacted the lives of people with dementia and their families. This study supports prior recommendations that CST should be made routinely available to people with mild–moderate dementia, particularly in light of the lack of post-diagnostic interventions currently offered in Ireland.
Fontan survivors have depressed cardiac index that worsens over time. Serum biomarker measurement is minimally invasive, rapid, widely available, and may be useful for serial monitoring. The purpose of this study was to identify biomarkers that correlate with lower cardiac index in Fontan patients.
Methods and results
This study was a multi-centre case series assessing the correlations between biomarkers and cardiac magnetic resonance-derived cardiac index in Fontan patients ⩾6 years of age with biochemical and haematopoietic biomarkers obtained ±12 months from cardiac magnetic resonance. Medical history and biomarker values were obtained by chart review. Spearman’s Rank correlation assessed associations between biomarker z-scores and cardiac index. Biomarkers with significant correlations had receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the curve estimated. In total, 97 cardiac magnetic resonances in 87 patients met inclusion criteria: median age at cardiac magnetic resonance was 15 (6–33) years. Significant correlations were found between cardiac index and total alkaline phosphatase (−0.26, p=0.04), estimated creatinine clearance (0.26, p=0.02), and mean corpuscular volume (−0.32, p<0.01). Area under the curve for the three individual biomarkers was 0.63–0.69. Area under the curve for the three-biomarker panel was 0.75. Comparison of cardiac index above and below the receiver operating characteristic curve-identified cut-off points revealed significant differences for each biomarker (p<0.01) and for the composite panel [median cardiac index for higher-risk group=2.17 L/minute/m2 versus lower-risk group=2.96 L/minute/m2, (p<0.01)].
Higher total alkaline phosphatase and mean corpuscular volume as well as lower estimated creatinine clearance identify Fontan patients with lower cardiac index. Using biomarkers to monitor haemodynamics and organ-specific effects warrants prospective investigation.
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