Introduction: While conventional wisdom has always affirmed the value of animals in promoting human health and well-being, only recently has their therapeutic role in medicine become a topic for dedicated research. Animal assisted interventions (AAI) can be classified as animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy, and service animal programs. Objective: The aim of this review is to analyse original papers addressing AAI and neurological diseases and published in the most influential medical journals between 2001 and 2012, and discuss their findings in the light of what may be of interest in the field of neurology. Discussion: We selected a total of 23 articles on neurorehabilitation in cerebral palsy, pervasive developmental disorders, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke, and mental disorders. The main therapeutic results were improvement on the Gross Motor Function Classification Scale and in upper limb dexterity (cerebral palsy); improvement in social functioning and interaction; reductions in stress, anxiety, and loneliness (pervasive developmental disorders and mental disorders); and decreased spasticity with improved balance (multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke). Conclusion: These interventions, performed with highly specialised animals in very specific neurological populations, deliver an increasing body of scientific evidence suggesting that they are an effective complement to other existing therapies. In these diseases, further high-quality studies are warranted in order to define the most appropriate programmes for therapy.

Animal assisted interventions in neurorehabilitation: A review of the most recent literature

Ferriero G
2015-01-01

Abstract

Introduction: While conventional wisdom has always affirmed the value of animals in promoting human health and well-being, only recently has their therapeutic role in medicine become a topic for dedicated research. Animal assisted interventions (AAI) can be classified as animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy, and service animal programs. Objective: The aim of this review is to analyse original papers addressing AAI and neurological diseases and published in the most influential medical journals between 2001 and 2012, and discuss their findings in the light of what may be of interest in the field of neurology. Discussion: We selected a total of 23 articles on neurorehabilitation in cerebral palsy, pervasive developmental disorders, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke, and mental disorders. The main therapeutic results were improvement on the Gross Motor Function Classification Scale and in upper limb dexterity (cerebral palsy); improvement in social functioning and interaction; reductions in stress, anxiety, and loneliness (pervasive developmental disorders and mental disorders); and decreased spasticity with improved balance (multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke). Conclusion: These interventions, performed with highly specialised animals in very specific neurological populations, deliver an increasing body of scientific evidence suggesting that they are an effective complement to other existing therapies. In these diseases, further high-quality studies are warranted in order to define the most appropriate programmes for therapy.
Animal assisted therapy; Nervous system diseases; Service animals;
Muñoz Lasa, S; Máximo Bocanegra, N; Valero Alcaide, R; Atín Arratibel, Ma; Varela Donoso, E; Ferriero, G
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2099242
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