Patients who were capable of walking and had moderate to severe dementia (Mini-Mental State examination mean score=7, SD=5) and severe behavioral disturbances on the modified Neuropsychiatric Inventory (maximum score=108) were enrolled in 18 special care units (patients, N=39) and 25 traditional nursing homes (control subjects, N=41) (3). The patients were assessed at baseline (10 days after admission) and after 6 months. Although at baseline the patients had more severe behavioral disturbances (modified Neuropsychiatric Inventory mean score=37, SD=18, and mean score=28, SD=12, for patients and control subjects, respectively) (p=0.02), at the follow-up examination, these disturbances had significantly improved in both groups (decrease of 38% and 41%, respectively) (p<0.0001); there was no increase in the percentage of patients taking neuroleptic or other psychotropic drugs. Extrapyramidal signs were not assessed, but proxies of adverse effects of psychotropic medications (cognitive performance and falls) remained unchanged. It is noteworthy that in the patient group, the reduction of behavioral disturbances was achieved with a lower use of physical restraints: 10% of patients and 32% of control subjects (p=0.02) had to be restrained with a chest vest or a belt at follow-up.