Aim: This article presents an overview of complementary and alternative medicine approaches (CAM) to treat symptoms of dementia.
Method: Retrieving of studies from several bibliographic databases (January 1998 to March 2020) applying prespecified selection criteria and methodological quality assessment.
Results: CAM approaches reduce symptoms of dementia, slow down the progression, and create relief for patients, while not intending to prevent and cure dementia. Psychological interventions are helpful for families to establish more and better interactions with patients. Traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine) is promising strategies to treat memory loss. Homeopathy might be effective in treating symptoms of dementia. Light therapy reduces sleep deprivation, depression and agitation. Aroma & music therapy improve quality of life and recalling thoughts and feelings. Nutrition shows variant effects on dementia symptoms and development
of AD, such as with folate-rich foods, low-fat dairy products, and intake of fish or omega-3 fats. Red grapes show a protective effect on AD and VaD. Exercises enhance memory. Controlled Multisensory Therapy (Snoezel therapy) shows short-term effects on mood and behaviour.
Conclusion: CAM is an alternative for conventional treatments, like medicines to relieve symptoms, however good CAM trials are lacking. Analysed studies were of low quality, having no control groups, small samples, and only case and animal studies. Research on a combination of conventional and CAM is needed to show the additional
effects on conventional treatments.