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May 1990

Baby Dolls in Dementia

Author Affiliations

Wilkes-Barre, Pa

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(5):1132. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390170154046

To the Editor.—Dementia of the Alzheimer's type continues to be an illness for which treatment is as perplexing and disappointing as is a search for its cause. Herein is described a case that is ameliorated by a simple ego prosthesis, 1 the baby doll.

Report of a Case.—An 80-year-old white woman with severe senility of the Alzheimer's type was presented with a gift of a baby doll. Within days, this withdrawn, frustrated, and depressed individual gained a new sense of meaning to her life. Whereas she previously spent countless hours in autistic behavior in her bedroom, she now interacts with others in the living quarters. Simple tasks, such as folding the baby's clothes, dressing and undressing the doll, and playing with and caring for the "child," now consume the patient's entire day. The baby doll has strengthened her sense of control, and her affect is improved.

Comment. —The

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