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Open Access Study protocol

Nutritional treatment of aged individuals with Alzheimer disease living at home with their spouses: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Satu K Jyvakorpi1, Taija Puranen1, Kaisu H Pitkala2 and Merja H Suominen1*

Author Affiliations

1 Society for Memory Disorders Expertise in Finland, Fredriksberginkatu 2, 00240, Helsinki, Finland

2 Unit of General Practice, Helsinki University Central Hospital and Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, PO Box 20, 00014, Helsinki, Finland

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Trials 2012, 13:66  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-66

Published: 24 May 2012

Abstract

Background

Nutritional status often deteriorates in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Less is known about whether nutritional care reverses malnutrition and its harmful consequences in AD. The aim of this study is to examine whether individualized nutritional care has an effect on weight, nutrition, health, physical functioning, and quality of life in older individuals with AD and their spouses living at home.

Methods

AD patients and their spouses (aged >65 years) living at home (n = 202, 102 AD patients) were recruited using central AD registers in Finland. The couples were randomized into intervention and control groups. A trained nutritionist visited intervention couples 4–8 times at their homes and the couples received tailored nutritional care. When necessary, the couples were given protein and nutrient-enriched complementary drinks. All intervention couples were advised to take vitamin D 20 μg/day. The intervention lasted for one year. The couples of the control group received a written guide on nutrition of older people. Participants in the intervention group were assessed every three months. The primary outcome measure is weight change. Secondary measures are the intake of energy, protein, and other nutrients, nutritional status, cognition, caregiver’s burden, depression, health related quality of life and grip strength.

Discussion

This study provides data on whether tailored nutritional care is beneficial to home-dwelling AD patients and their spouses.

Trial registration

ACTRN 12611000018910

Keywords:
Nutritional intervention; Malnutrition; Alzheimer disease; RCT; Nutrient intake