Veränderung kognitiver Hirnleistungen im Alter durch Kneipp-AnwendungenDoering T.J. · Thiel J. · Steuernagel B. · Johannes B. · Konitzer M. · Niederstadt C. · Schneider B. · Fischer G.C.
aAbteilung Allgemeinmedizin, bAbteilung Neurologie, cAbteilung für Biometrie, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
Changes of Cognitive Brain Functions in the Elderly by Kneipp Therapy Introduction: Pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment of brain syndrome is multifarious. Until now, plain external applications of physical stimuli, as used daily in geriatric care, were not explored regarding their influence on cognitive brain function.The aim of this randomized cross-over study was to examine the influence of dermatoreceptive stimuli on cognitive brain function of healty geriatric volunteers. Methods: 24 healthy volunteers (23 women, 1 man) were randomized into 2 groups (cross-over design). Group A (mean age ± SD: 68.8 ± 6.2 years) was treated according to the following regime: at first a 10–12 °C cold stimulus for 10 s (a so-called Kneipp face shower) and afterwards a cold wet pack of 10–12 °C at the neck for 1 min. Group B (age 69.8 ± 5.3 years) was subjected to an identical procedure but with warm thermoindifferent temperatures of 34–36 °C. After 1 week the two groups were interchanged. The parameters of interest were the critical flicker frequency (CFF) and the latencies of the event-related P300 potentials of the visually evoked potentials (VEP), which can be considered the electroencephalographic substrate of the cognitive functional ability. The CFFs and the P300 latencies and amplitudes were measured directly before and 10 min after the application of the above-mentioned stimuli. Furthermore, the CFFs were recorded a second and third time 30 and 60 min later. Results: Following application of cold-water stimuli, the CFF increased from (mean ± SE) 32.55 ± 0.44 s-1 to 33.06 ± 0.44 s-1 (p = 0.003) 10 min after the stimulus. 30 min later the CFF was still elevated at 32.95 ± 0.47 s-1 (p = 0.043). The P300 latencies decreased by 4.8% (p < 0.001) after cold-water application from 266.5 ± 5.28 to 253.7 ± 4.22 ms. After warm stimuli they increased from 258.69 ± 3.71 to 266.17 ± 5.03 ms (p = 0.01). The P300 amplitudes were elevated by 5% only with the cold stimuli (p = 0.004). Conclusion: Cold water applied locally to face and neck region is able to provoke significant improvements of cognitive abilities.