A pinboard by
this curator

A scientist, doctor, artist, traveler, musician, activist, runner and animal-lover.

Pediatric surgery, trauma, medical education, women in surgery, women in science, health technology, robotics, everyday science.


Dogs are a man's best friend; in life and health. Explore the magic behind therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs are awesome! You can find them from hospitals to nursing home. Therapy dogs relieve post-operative pain in children ,improving stress levels in healthcare staff and lift depression in dementia patients. Delve into articles that attempt to explain the magic behind the therapy on four paws.


Post-operative benefits of animal-assisted therapy in pediatric surgery: a randomised study.

Abstract: Interest in animal-assisted therapy has been fuelled by studies supporting the many health benefits. The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of an animal-assisted therapy program on children response to stress and pain in the immediate post-surgical period.Forty children (3-17 years) were enrolled in the randomised open-label, controlled, pilot study. Patients were randomly assigned to the animal-assisted therapy-group (n = 20, who underwent a 20 min session with an animal-assisted therapy dog, after surgery) or the standard-group (n = 20, standard postoperative care). The study variables were determined in each patient, independently of the assigned group, by a researcher unblinded to the patient's group. The outcomes of the study were to define the neurological, cardiovascular and endocrinological impact of animal-assisted therapy in response to stress and pain. Electroencephalogram activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, cerebral prefrontal oxygenation, salivary cortisol levels and the faces pain scale were considered as outcome measures.After entrance of the dog faster electroencephalogram diffuse beta-activity (> 14 Hz) was reported in all children of the animal-assisted therapy group; in the standard-group no beta-activity was recorded (100% vs 0%, p<0.001). During observation, some differences in the time profile between groups were observed for heart rate (test for interaction p = 0.018), oxygen saturation (test for interaction p = 0.06) and cerebral oxygenation (test for interaction p = 0.09). Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were influenced by animal-assisted therapy, though a higher variability in diastolic pressure was observed. Salivary cortisol levels did not show different behaviours over time between groups (p=0.70). Lower pain perception was noted in the animal-assisted group in comparison with the standard-group (p = 0.01).Animal-assisted therapy facilitated rapid recovery in vigilance and activity after anaesthesia, modified pain perception and induced emotional prefrontal responses. An adaptative cardiovascular response was also present.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02284100.

Pub.: 04 Jun '15, Pinned: 11 Apr '17

Effect of animal‐assisted interventions on depression, agitation and quality of life in nursing home residents suffering from cognitive impairment or dementia: a cluster randomized controlled trial

Abstract: The prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in cognitively impaired nursing home residents is known to be very high, with depression and agitation being the most common symptoms. The possible effects of a 12‐week intervention with animal‐assisted activities (AAA) in nursing homes were studied. The primary outcomes related to depression, agitation and quality of life (QoL).A prospective, cluster randomized multicentre trial with a follow‐up measurement 3 months after end of intervention was used. Inclusion criteria were men and women aged 65 years or older, with a diagnosis of dementia or having a cognitive deficit. Ten nursing homes were randomized to either AAA with a dog or a control group with treatment as usual. In total, 58 participants were recruited: 28 in the intervention group and 30 in the control group. The intervention consisted of a 30‐min session with AAA twice weekly for 12 weeks in groups of three to six participants, led by a qualified dog handler. Norwegian versions of the Cornell Scale for Depression, the Brief Agitation Rating Scale and the Quality of Life in Late‐stage Dementia scale were used.A significant effect on depression and QoL was found for participants with severe dementia at follow‐up. For QoL, a significant effect of AAA was also found immediately after the intervention. No effects on agitation were found.Animal‐assisted activities may have a positive effect on symptoms of depression and QoL in older people with dementia, especially those in a late stage.

Pub.: 25 Jan '16, Pinned: 11 Apr '17