Exploring the Effects of an "Everyday" Activity Program on Executive Function and Memory in Older Adults: Experience Corps(R)
Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The Gerontologist
(Impact Factor: 3.21).
12/2008; 48(6):793-801. DOI: 10.1093/geront/48.6.793
There is little empirical translation of multimodal cognitive activity programs in "real-world" community-based settings. This study sought to demonstrate in a short-term pilot randomized trial that such an activity program improves components of cognition critical to independent function among sedentary older adults at greatest risk.
We randomized 149 older adults to Experience Corps (EC) or a wait-list control arm. Participants randomized to EC trained in teams to help elementary school children with reading achievement, library support, and classroom behavior for 15 hr/week during an academic year. We compared baseline and follow-up assessments of memory, executive function (EF), and psychomotor speed at 4 to 8 months by intervention arm, adjusting for exposure duration. We observed a range of EF abilities at baseline and stratified analyses according to the presence of baseline impairment using established norms.
Overall, EC participants tended to show improvements in EF and memory relative to matched controls (ps < .10). EC participants with impaired baseline EF showed the greatest improvements, between 44% and 51% in EF and memory at follow-up, compared to declines among impaired-EF controls (ps < .05).
Short-term participation in this community-based program designed to increase cognitive and physical activity in a social, real-world setting may train memory and, particularly, executive functions important to functional independence. This community-based program represents one potentially effective model to bring high doses of sustainable cognitive exercise to the greatest proportion of older adults, particularly those sedentary individuals at elevated risk for health disparities.
Available from: Ian M Mcdonough
- "This article is published online with Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License. U n c o r r e c t e d A u t h o r P r o o f 2 I.M. McDonough et al. / Cognitive engagement increases brain modulation studies is the Experience Corps program in which 44 older adults spent sustained periods of time partner- 45 ing with elementary school students, teaching them 46 literacy skills, library support, and classroom etiquette 47 (Carlson et al., 2008, 2009). When compared to a wait- 48 list control group, the older adults who participated in 49 the program showed improvement in episodic "
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Correlational and limited experimental evidence suggests that an engaged lifestyle is associated with the maintenance of cognitive vitality in old age. However, the mechanisms underlying these engagement effects are poorly understood. We hypothesized that mental effort underlies engagement effects and used fMRI to examine the impact of high-challenge activities (digital photography and quilting) compared with low-challenge activities (socializing or performing low-challenge cognitive tasks) on neural function at pretest, posttest, and one year after the engagement program.
In the scanner, participants performed a semantic-classification task with two levels of difficulty to assess the modulation of brain activity in response to task demands.
The High-Challenge group, but not the Low-Challenge group, showed increased modulation of brain activity in medial frontal, lateral temporal, and parietal cortex-regions associated with attention and semantic processing-some of which were maintained a year later. This increased modulation stemmed from decreases in brain activity during the easy condition for the High-Challenge group and was associated with time committed to the program, age, and cognition.
Sustained engagement in cognitively demanding activities facilitated cognition by increasing neural efficiency. Mentally-challenging activities may be neuroprotective and an important element to maintaining a healthy brain into late adulthood.
10/2015; 33(6). DOI:10.3233/RNN-150533
Available from: Piotr Sorokowski
- "Relatedly, early life experiences and environmental conditions in different cultures might influence the trajectory of cognitive aging (Melrose et al., 2015; Sisco et al., 2015), and research has found that continued social and intellectual engagement through everyday activities can stave off age-related decrements in fluid cognition (e.g., Carlson et al., 2008). In contrast to industrialized societies where retirement is normative, older adults in traditional societies remain involved in daily activities (Keith et al., 1994) and may thus maintain objectively higher levels of cognitive functioning. "
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ABSTRACT: Cross-cultural studies suggest that aging attitudes show some variation across societies, but this evidence is mostly drawn from industrialized settings. The limited research record on pre-industrial societies is largely qualitative in nature. The present study targeted this gap by adapting an existing multidimensional measure of aging attitudes for use in traditional populations and administering it to samples from one traditional society and two industrialized societies.
We administered the adapted multidimensional measure of aging attitudes to samples from one traditional society (Tsimane' Amazonian forager-farmers in Bolivia, n = 90) and two industrialized societies (the United States, n = 91, and Poland, n = 100).
Across societies, aging perceptions were more favorable for respect and wisdom than for other domains of functioning, and women were perceived to be aging less favorably. Further, the Tsimane' reported more positive aging perceptions than the U.S. and Polish samples, especially with regard to memory functioning. Within the Tsimane' sample, there was no evidence of an influence of acculturation on aging perceptions.
The present study contributed to our understanding of cross-cultural differences in aging attitudes. Theoretical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.
The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 09/2015; DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbv080 · 3.21 Impact Factor
Available from: Christina Röcke
- "The intervention group underwent an intense 2-week training and instruction phase and was then placed into a school where they volunteered in different roles (e.g., supporting literacy development, helping children find library books, fostering conflict resolution skills) for at least 15 h over 3–4 days a week during a 9-month school year. Participants in the intervention group reported increased physical, social, and cognitive activity levels (Fried et al., 2004) and showed improvements in memory and executive function (Carlson et al., 2008), while there was a slight decrease in the waitlist control group (for study details see Table 1). In the Senior Odyssey program (Stine-Morrow et al., 2008), participants prepared a tournament that consisted of on-site challenges that had to be solved spontaneously (problem solving tasks or handicrafts) and long-term problems that had to be prepared in a 6-month preparation phase of 20 group meetings led by a coach (e.g., presenting a new interpretation of a classical piece of literature). "
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ABSTRACT: Finding effective training interventions for declining cognitive abilities in healthy aging is of great relevance, especially in view of the demographic development. Since it is assumed that transfer from the trained to untrained domains is more likely to occur when training conditions and transfer measures share a common underlying process, multi-domain training of several cognitive functions should increase the likelihood of such an overlap. In the first part, we give an overview of the literature showing that cognitive training using complex tasks, such as video games, leisure activities, or practicing a series of cognitive tasks, has shown promising results regarding transfer to a number of cognitive functions. These studies, however, do not allow direct inference about the underlying functions targeted by these training regimes. Custom-designed serious games allow to design training regimes according to specific cognitive functions and a target population's need. In the second part, we introduce the serious game Hotel Plastisse as an iPad-based training tool for older adults that allows the comparison of the simultaneous training of spatial navigation, visuomotor function, and inhibition to the training of each of these functions separately. Hotel Plastisse not only defines the cognitive functions of the multi-domain training clearly, but also implements training in an interesting learning environment including adaptive difficulty and feedback. We propose this novel training tool with the goal of furthering our understanding of how training regimes should be designed in order to affect cognitive functioning of older adults most broadly.
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 07/2015; 7. DOI:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00137 · 4.00 Impact Factor
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