Treating dementia with CST

Research on Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) has changed the way that dementia is managed and treated, both in the UK and internationally.

In 1998 researchers at University College London began testing how CST could improve cognitive skills and quality of life for people with dementia. Activities such as word association and discussion of current affairs resulted in just as much improvement as anti-dementia drugs.

Later findings showed that weekly CST sessions after the initial programme can continue to improve cognitive function over a period of six months. Interviews with service users and staff showed that the therapy led to improvements in mood and concentration in everyday life.

CST has now been recognised by a large number of NHS trusts as an effective treatment. The World Alzheimer's Report has recommended that CST should routinely be given to people with early stage dementia. Since 2008 the therapy has been used in several countries, including China, Brazil, Australia, Nepal, Tanzania and Nigeria.