Recently, many efforts have been made to assess the effectiveness of non-pharmacological therapies as an alternative or supportive option to conventional approaches. Specifically, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has recently raised a great interest and large research efforts. This work represents a retrospective study carried out over seven years (from 2012 to 2019) in 127 patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The patients were divided into three groups: an experimental group that received AAT interventions adapted to the formal reality orientation therapy (ROT), a group receiving a formal ROT, and a control group that did not perform any of the previous therapies. All sessions, for all patient groups, were held weekly for a total period of six months. The evaluation of cognitive function was performed through the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), while the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) assessed the depressive state. Test administration to all patients was performed before the start of the first session (T0
) and after the last session (T1
). The results obtained showed an improvement in the values in the GDS and MMSE tests. The variations between the average MMSE values between T1
were 0.94 ± 0.9 (SD), 0.15 ± 0.62, and −0.42 ± 0.45 in the AAT group, ROT group, and control (CTRL) group, respectively. The variations between the average GDS values between T1
were −1.12 ± 1.17 (SD), −0.42 ± 1.21, and 0.12 ± 0.66 in the AAT group, ROT group, and CTRL group, respectively. Based on our findings, we can therefore affirm how the study carried out confirms the potential of AAT performed by Federico II Model of Healthcare Zooanthropology, and particularly its efficacy in the treatment of cognitive deficits deriving from Alzheimer’s disease.
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