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Animal-assisted therapy and nutrition in Alzheimer's disease

By Nancy Edwards, Alan M. Beck

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This study examined the influence of animal-assisted therapy, specifically fish aquariums, on nutritional intake in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Sixty-two individuals with AD who lived in specialized units were studied. Baseline nutritional data were obtained followed by a 2-week treatment period when the aquariums were introduced. The treatment data were col- lected daily for 2 weeks then weekly for 6 weeks. Nutritional intake increased significantly (21.1%; p < .001) when the aquariums were introduced and continued to increase during the 6- week weekly follow-up. Weight increased significantly (1.65 lbs; p < .001) over the 16-week period. In addition, participants required less nutritional supplementation, resulting in health care cost savings.


Deborah Maron

Publication Title Western Journal of Nursing Research
Volume 24
Issue 6
Pages 697-712
Publisher Sage Publications
DOI 10.1177/019394502236642
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Nancy Edwards; Alan M. Beck (2012), "Animal-assisted therapy and nutrition in Alzheimer's disease," https://habricentral.org/resources/459.

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  1. Alzheimer disease
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Aquacultural and fisheries
  4. open access
  5. Pet ownership
  6. Weight
  1. open access