Article

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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Available from: Nicola J Gates, Aug 26, 2015
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    • "In this connection, epidemiological studies have shown that different lifestyle factors (i.e. education, diet, social activities, physical activity and mental stimulation activities) correlate with the delayed onset of Mild Cognitive Impairment and lower incidence of AD [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40]. Along these lines, some researchers have tried to test whether being reared under stimulating environments may modify/influence age-related (and, in particular, AD-related) processes in rodents. "
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    Behavioural Brain Research 11/2014; 281. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.11.004 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    • "In this connection, epidemiological studies have shown that different lifestyle factors (i.e. education, social activities, physical activity and mental stimulation activities) correlate with the delayed onset of Mild Cognitive Impairment and lower incidence of AD [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]. Thus, in line with those studies indicating associations among environmental factors and AD, basic researchers have tried to test whether being reared under stimulating environments may modify/influence age-related (and, in particular, AD-related) processes in rodents. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer disease is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with age which represents the most common cause of dementia. It is characterized by an accelerated memory loss compared to normal aging, and deterioration of other cognitive abilities that interfere with mood, reason, judgment and language. The main neuropathological hallmarks of the disorder are β-amyloid (βA) plaques and neurofibrillary Tau tangles. Triple transgenic 3×TgAD mouse model develops βA and Tau pathologies in a progressive manner, with a specific temporal and anatomic profile mimicking the pattern that takes place in the human brain with AD, and showing cognitive alterations characteristic of the disease. Environmental enrichment treatment in mice induces behavioral and emotional reactivity changes, including cognitive improvements in some AD-related transgenic mice. The present work intended to characterize the behavioral profile of 3×TgAD mice at advanced stages of neuropathological development (12 and 15 months of age) and to investigate whether environmental enrichment administered during adulthood was able to modify some of their behavioral and cognitive alterations. Results show that, at advanced stages of the disease 3×TgAD mice show deficits of spatial learning acquisition, as well as short-term and working memory, while displaying increased levels of anxiety/fearfulness and normal sensorimotor functions. 3×TgAD mice also show sexual dimorphism, as reflected by increased cognitive deficits in females and increased levels of novelty-induced behavioral inhibition in males. Environmental enrichment exerts some slight positive effects, by mainly improving the initial acquisition of the spatial learning and working memory in 12-month-old 3×TgAD mice. Such effects vary depending on the gender.
    Behavioural brain research 04/2014; 268. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.04.008 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    • "Although declines in some domains of cognition are part of the natural course of aging [2] [3], sufficient evidence from prospective and observational studies indicates that the trajectories and outcomes of cognitive decline may be mitigated by participating in cognitively stimulating activities [4] [5]. Recent reviews of cognitive interventions suggest some potential benefits that may improve functioning in healthy older adults or slow decline in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and those already affected with dementia [6] [7] [8] [9]. Results from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in healthy aging revealed a strong positive effect on cognition at immediate, medium-, and longterm followup after cognitive training [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been considered to maintain or strengthen cognitive skills, thereby minimizing age-related cognitive decline. While the idea that there may be a modifiable behavior that could lower risk for cognitive decline is appealing and potentially empowering for older adults, research findings have not consistently supported the beneficial effects of engaging in cognitively stimulating tasks. Using observational studies of naturalistic cognitive activities, we report a series of mixed effects models that include baseline and change in cognitive activity predicting cognitive outcomes over up to 21 years in four longitudinal studies of aging. Consistent evidence was found for cross-sectional relationships between level of cognitive activity and cognitive test performance. Baseline activity at an earlier age did not, however, predict rate of decline later in life, thus not supporting the concept that engaging in cognitive activity at an earlier point in time increases one's ability to mitigate future age-related cognitive decline. In contrast, change in activity was associated with relative change in cognitive performance. Results therefore suggest that change in cognitive activity from one's previous level has at least a transitory association with cognitive performance measured at the same point in time.
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