Effects of an art gallery intervention in people living with dementia: A Pilot Study

Nathan M D'Cunha, Andrew J McKune, Stephen Isbel, Ekavi N Georgousopoulou, Jane Kellett, Nenad Naumovski

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


Art gallery programs tailored to the needs of people living with dementia are becoming more popular worldwide. This study aimed to observe the effects of six consecutive weekly discussion-based small group visits to the National Gallery of Australia Art and Dementia program on the salivary cortisol (SC) diurnal rhythm, salivary interleukin-6, quality of life (QoL), depressive symptoms, and cognitive function. Twenty-five participants (17 female; mean age 84.6 ± 7.27 years) completed the study with data collection at baseline, post-intervention, and at a six-week follow-up. Statistical methods were selected based on data distribution. The waking to evening (WE) SC ratio was altered (p = 0.016) (Baseline: 1.35 (1.19, 1.64), Post-intervention: 1.72 (1.54, 1.96), Follow-up: 1.44 (1.22, 1.79)) in the 22 participants who provided viable saliva samples. The WE SC ratio was higher post-intervention compared with baseline (p = 0.011), indicating a more dynamic SC rhythm, but returned to baseline levels at follow-up (p = 0.020). Interleukin-6 levels were unchanged (p = 0.664). In the total sample, no improvements in QoL (Proxy) (p = 0.165) were observed. However, self-reported depressive symptoms differed (p = 0.006), decreasing post-intervention (2.00 (1.00, 2.00)) compared with baseline (3.00 (2.00, 4.50)) (p = 0.015), and verbal fluency was affected (p = 0.027), improving from baseline (2.00 (0.00, 3.00)) to post-intervention (2.00 (0.50, 4.00)) (p = 0.027). Art and Dementia programs appear to have quantifiable benefits, including improved hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, justifying a longer controlled trial inclusive of physiological outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-52
Number of pages1
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019

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