Original Article

Research of Arithmetic and Drawing Writing in Improving Communication and Cognitive Function in Patients with Mild-to-Moderate Dementia: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial


Guangzhou Medical University, School of Nursing, Guangzhou, China


Department of Nursing Administration, Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China


Geriatric Neuroscience Center, Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China


Department of Basic Public Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Guangzhou, Guangzhou, China


Edinburgh Napier University, School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh, UK


Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China

Alpha Psychiatry 2024; 25: 262-268
DOI: 10.5152/alphapsychiatry.2023.1470
Read: 352 Downloads: 91 Published: 25 April 2024

Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of arithmetic and drawing writing on communication skills, quality of life, and cognitive impairment among people with mild and moderate dementia.

Methods: We recruited 45 patients diagnosed with mild-to-moderate dementia into this study. The participants were randomly divided into arithmetic group (n=14), drawing writing group (n=16), and control group (n=15). The arithmetic group was educated to understand the addition and subtraction formulas, then wrote down the correct answers between the number of 20 and 100. The drawing writing group was guided to name, draw, and write a given object. Both were trained by therapist for 12 weeks (40 minutes per week). Blinded assessors measured global cognitive function, communication skills, and quality of life using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scale, the subscales of Functional Assessment of Communication Skills scale and Quality of Life—Alzheimer’s Disease scale at baseline and after 12 weeks’ intervention.

Results: After the 12-week intervention, the participants with mild-to-moderate dementia of the arithmetic writing group and the drawing writing group showed statistically significant improvement in communication skills and quality of life compared with the control group (social communication: 6.00 ± 0.69 vs. 6.06 ± 0.92 vs. 3.98 ± 1.33; basic needs communication: 6.32 ± 0.48 vs. 6.42 ± 0.53 vs. 4.25 ± 1.49; quality of life: 33.23 ± 5.34 vs. 34.07 ± 3.49 vs. 25.07 ± 2.60). In addition, MMSE scores of the arithmetic group tended to improve after the 12-week intervention (14.77 ± 3.06 vs. 17.31 ± 4.80, P < .01), but stabled in drawing writing group (14.27 ± 4.28 vs. 14.53 ± 5.26, P > .05) and significant decreased in the control group (13.73 ± 2.58 vs. 10.13 ± 3.23, P < .01).

Conclusion: Arithmetic, drawing, and writing are effective in improving communication skills and quality of life; arithmetic also could delay the decline of cognitive function in people with mild-to-moderate dementia.

Cite this article as: Yuan L, Ye J, Wang W, et al. Research of arithmetic and drawing writing in improving communication and cognitive function in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia: A cluster randomized controlled trial. Alpha Psychiatry. 2024;25(2):262-268.

EISSN 2757-8038