Cognitive exercise and its role in cognitive function in older adults.

Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia.
Current Psychiatry Reports (Impact Factor: 3.05). 02/2010; 12(1):20-7. DOI: 10.1007/s11920-009-0085-y
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Converging lines of research indicate that complex mental activity is associated with reduced dementia risk. Thus, intense interest exists in whether different forms of cognitive exercise can help protect against cognitive decline and dementia. However, there is considerable confusion in terminology that is hindering progress in the field. We therefore introduce a concrete definition of cognitive training (CT) and make this the focus of our article. Clinical research that has evaluated CT in normal aging, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia is then critically reviewed. Despite many methodological shortcomings, the overall findings indicate that multidomain CT has the potential to improve cognitive function in healthy older adults and slow decline in affected individuals. Finally, practical issues, including the strengths and weaknesses of commercial products, are explored, and recommendations for further research and clinical implementation are made.

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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCCIÓN La falta de un tratamiento farmacológico defi nitivo, que permita curar y/o prevenir la enfermedad de Alzheimer (EA), ha generado un creciente interés sobre las intervenciones que ayudan a optimizar el funcionamiento cognitivo y mejoran el ajuste emocional de éstas personas (Clare, 2008a). Así, las intervenciones centra-das en aspectos cognitivos han demostrado que pueden ayudar a enlentecer la progresión del deterioro (Gatz et al., 1998; Sitzer, Twamley y Jeste, 2006; Woods, 2002) y reducir las altera-ciones de conducta asociadas a la demencia (Olazarán et al., 2004; Spector et al., 2003), lo Resumen: El estudio trata de comprobar si el formato de la intervención individual o grupal, apli-cado en un programa multimodal de estimulación cognitiva (PMEC), repercute en la evolución y las alteraciones de la conducta asociadas a pacientes con enfermedad de Alzheimer (EA). 45 participan-tes diagnosticados de EA probable fueron distribuidos aleatoriamente en 3 grupos. El rendimiento de los grupos experimentales, que recibieron el PMEC, en formato individual o grupal, fue compa-rado con un grupo de control, siguiendo un diseño pre-post, en una serie de medidas neuropsicoló-gicas, funcionales y conductuales estandarizadas. Los grupos sometidos al PMEC lograron enlente-cer, signifi cativamente, el avance del deterioro cognitivo y reducir los síntomas conductuales de la EA. No obstante, la condición formato individual obtuvo mayores benefi cios que la condición for-mato grupal. El formato de intervención individual, en comparación con el formato grupal, incre-menta los benefi cios que se derivan de la aplicación de un PMEC para pacientes con EA. Palabras Clave: Demencia, enfermedad de Alzheimer, neuropsicología, intervención, estimulación cognitiva.
    Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica 05/2010; 15(2). DOI:10.5944/rppc.vol.15.num.2.2010.4090 · 0.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive training (CT) has been reported to improve cognition in older adults. Its combination with protective factors such as physical activity (CPT) has rarely been studied, but it has been suggested that CPT might show stronger effects than pure CT. Healthy older adults (aged 50-85 years) were trained with CPT (n=15) or CT (n=15). Interventions were conducted in 90-minute sessions twice weekly for 6.5 weeks. Cognitive functions were assessed before and immediately after the interventions, and at 1-year follow-up. The main finding was an interaction effect on attention, with comparable gains from CPT and CT from pre- to post-test, but stronger effects of CPT to follow-up (P=0.02). Significant effects were found in subjects in terms of cognitive state (P=0.02), letter verbal fluency (P=0.00), and immediate (P=0.00) and delayed (P=0.01) verbal memory. Post hoc analyses indicated that these latter domains were affected differentially by CPT and CT. No significant between-subject effects were found. Our results suggest that CPT might lead to stronger long-term effects on attention. However, as the difference between CT and CPT was only evident at follow-up, these effects cannot be interpreted as a direct consequence of CPT; they may have been related to sustained physical activity after the training. Other domains were improved by both interventions, but no typical pattern could be identified. Possible underlying mechanisms are discussed, and directions for future research are suggested.
    Clinical Interventions in Aging 01/2015; 10:297-310. DOI:10.2147/CIA.S74071 · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive training has recently become a primary topic of interest in cognitive psychology. The discovery of a strong relationship between WM and Gf gave rise to new cognitive training methods (like dual n-back task), which challenged traditional views of intelligence as a fixed trait in healthy adults. Previous research has shown mixed results in the ability of cognitive training to improve fluid intelligence. Presented dissertation aims to first replicate such effects in a study with (N=142) participants, and then to explore the mediating role of personality systems interaction (PSI) personality factors. In addition, univariate and bivariate analyses of two n-back related, self-report questionnaires (N=258 and N=97) are presented. Experimental results showed improvements in one out of two IQ test scores, which reflects the ambivalent nature of previous research in this field. After examining the results in context of PSI theory, it was found that different training methods yielded different IQ gains in participants, depending on their personality styles. In addition, these correlations suggested a meaningful pattern, indicating that PSI theory may be able to account for the different outcomes of cognitive training studies. Analysis of self-report questionnaires suggests, among other things, that the use of mental strategies during n-back training does not influence prospective IQ gains, and neither does the motivation to participate in n-back study. Qualitative reports complement these findings by offering unique insights into the subjective experiences of people who trained n-back. The presented findings may facilitate tailor-made cognitive training interventions in the future, and can contribute to explaining the mechanisms underlying the far-transfer of working memory training to fluid intelligence.
    01/2015, Degree: Ph.D., Supervisor: prof. PhDr. Tomáš Urbánek, Ph.D.


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Jun 10, 2014