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Sunday, February 12, 2012

ARTICLE = LIFE-LIKE DOLLS USED FOR THERAPY RAISES CONCERNS

Life-like dolls used for therapy raises concerns 

 

 Published on Feb 12, 2012
 
 They look like real babies, feel like real babies and, with eyes closed, sleep like real babies.
'They are so amazingly life- like,' exclaimed Mrs Lilly Tan, a housewife and mother of three boys. She was at Great World City mall when she came across these dolls.
Yes, dolls. They first emerged in the 1990s in the US, where hobbyists wanting more realistic, human-like dolls modified the store-bought vinyl variants.

 First sold over the Internet, they are now available in stores. Called baby dolls or reborn dolls, they recently became available in Singapore - at Motherswork, a one-stop shop for mothers and children.


REBORN DOLL THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA
In the medical world, the use of reborn doll therapy has not been scientifically established.
There have been a few accounts and experiences of when the dolls produced positive effects in dementia and Alzheimer's patients.
For instance, a home care service in Derbyshire, Britain, reported, in the early part of 2008, the effects of reborn dolls on their patients with Alzheimer's disease.
It has largely reduced the number of patients who take psychotropic drugs - from 92 per cent to 28 per cent.
Such dolls apparently help reduce withdrawal issues and can help overcome communication problems between the patient and the carer.
It also appears that the therapy is most helpful among female dementia patients. They are found to respond more positively with the reborn dolls as the dolls help them remember the times when they were mothers.
The therapy was discussed at a British Psychological Society Conference in 2010 as a prospect for improving the mental health of Alzheimer's and dementia patients in long-term care facilities.
Neurologist Nagaendran Kandiah told The Sunday Times that doll therapy would be a form of reminiscence therapy.
'Though reminiscence therapy as a whole lacks evidence for effectiveness in dementia, it is believed to help reduce anxiety and other challenging behaviours,' he said.
He added that it may be beneficial, along with other behavioural modifications, in patients with advanced dementia.
Judith Tan

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