Memory rehabilitation in Alzheimer's disease: A review of progress

Luc P. De Vreese, Mirco Neri, Mario Fioravanti, Luciano Belloi, Orazio Zanetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Memory rehabilitation is a sadly misrepresented area of applied research in Alzheimer's disease. Objectives: To gather and evaluate recent evidence for the clinical effectiveness or ecologically validity of memory rehabilitation for mild to moderate Alzheimer's patients. Methods: Computerised searches and some handsearching were conducted spanning the last five years, from 1995 to 2000, inclusively. Criteria for inclusion in this overview involved the use of a precise memory rehabilitation technique within an experimental study design applied to Alzheimer's patients with pre- and post-treatment evaluation. Findings: Three potential levels of memory rehabilitation procedures with proven clinical or pragmatic efficacy were identified. The first level bears on the facilitation of residual explicit memory with structured support both at encoding and at subsequent recall; the second level of memory rehabilitation exploits the relatively intact implicit memory system (priming and procedural memory); the last deals with finding ways of coping with the patient's limited explicit memory capacities through the use of external memory aids. A proposal of suggestions for good practice and future research in memory rehabilitation is also offered with the hope to spur further development in this rapidly expanding area of applied research. Conclusion: The available evidence shows that alternative and innovative ways of memory rehabilitation for Alzheimer's patients can indeed be clinically effective or pragmatically useful with a great potential for use within the new culture of a more graded and proactive type of Alzheimer's disease care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-809
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Explicit and implicit memory
  • Memory rehabilitation
  • Research methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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