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      Effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

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          The objectives of this review were to summarize the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effects of animal-assisted therapy (AAT). Studies were eligible if they were RCTs. Studies included one treatment group in which AAT was applied. We searched the following databases from 1990 up to October 31, 2012: MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Ichushi Web, GHL, WPRIM, and PsycINFO. We also searched all Cochrane Database up to October 31, 2012. Eleven RCTs were identified, and seven studies were about "Mental and behavioral disorders". Types of animal intervention were dog, cat, dolphin, bird, cow, rabbit, ferret, and guinea pig. The RCTs conducted have been of relatively low quality. We could not perform meta-analysis because of heterogeneity. In a study environment limited to the people who like animals, AAT may be an effective treatment for mental and behavioral disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and alcohol/drug addictions, and is based on a holistic approach through interaction with animals in nature. To most effectively assess the potential benefits for AAT, it will be important for further research to utilize and describe (1) RCT methodology when appropriate, (2) reasons for non-participation, (3) intervention dose, (4) adverse effects and withdrawals, and (5) cost.

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          Author and article information

          Complement Ther Med
          Complementary therapies in medicine
          Apr 2014
          : 22
          : 2
          [1 ] Faculty of Regional Environment Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan. Electronic address: h1kamiok@nodai.ac.jp.
          [2 ] Physical Education and Medicine Research Foundation, Japan.
          [3 ] Department of Drug Policy and Management, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan.
          [4 ] Department of Functioning Activation, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Japan.
          [5 ] Mimaki Onsen (Spa) Clinic, Tomi City, Japan.
          [6 ] Social Welfare Service Corporation CARE-PORT MIMAKI, Japan.
          [7 ] Physical Education and Medicine Research Center Unnan, Japan.
          [8 ] Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan.
          [9 ] The Research Institute of Nippon Sport Science University, Japan.
          Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

          Animal-assisted therapy,Randomized controlled trials,Systematic review


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