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  • Writer's pictureDr. Domenico Pratico

THE SENSORY DIET~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP

THE SENSORY DIET~ Domenico Pratico, MD, FCPP

The human brain is the master regulator in charge of receiving, interpreting, and responding to various sensory input from the environment. Disturbances of this process can manifest as hyper-sensitivity, or hyposensitivity thereby impinging upon an individual's capacity to function optimally in daily life.

The “sensory diet” has recently garnered attention for its potential to resolve, or at least ameliorate, these issues. This type of diet represents a novel concept aimed at optimizing sensory processing mechanisms in individuals with sensory dysfunction. It encompasses a diverse range of sensory modalities, including tactile, auditory, and visual stimuli.

The process of aging is characterized among other things by alterations in sensory perception. In the context of aging, visual perception undergoes changes that contribute to a shift in the way individuals interact with and perceive their surroundings. For instance, diminished visual acuity reduces the ability to see fine details and sharpness in vision, which can make tasks like reading, recognizing small objects more challenging. Compromised depth perception, another facet of healthy aging, involves difficulties in accurately perceiving distances and spatial relationships.

In Alzheimer's disease, the brain faces challenges in adapting and forming new connections, a process known as neuroplasticity, which is important for normal sensory activities, and as result the individual often experiences additional sensory dysfunction.

Research in the field is developing targeted sensory diet interventions which aim at mitigating the impact of both age-related and dementia-related sensory decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The incorporation of sensory diets into classical pharmacologic dementia management offers a range of additional benefit primarily centered around their ability to mitigate the emotional distress and behavioral symptoms often associated with the condition.

A sensory diet tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each individual can provide a structured and engaging routine that fosters emotional well-being and physical health.

In recent years, the convergence of sensory diets with technology has ushered in innovative solutions to support individuals in managing their sensory needs. One of the most notable developments is the proliferation of various sensory apps. These apps cater to individuals with sensory processing difficulties, offering a plethora of activities designed to provide optimal sensory input. From soothing sounds that promote relaxation, to visually stimulating graphics that encourage focus and engagement, these apps serve as valuable tools for individuals seeking to regulate their sensory experiences and improve their daily life activities.


For more information on sensory diet, please read our recent article:

Domenico Praticò, MD, holds the position of the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer’s Research and serves as a Professor and the Director at the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, as well as a Professor of Pharmacology at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.

For more information on the research conducted by Dr. Domenico Pratico, please visit this link.

Connect with Dr. Domenico Pratico through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Medium.

Stay updated with the work happening at Dr. Domenico Pratico's lab by visiting the Pratico Lab website. 


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