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: 3.24). 02/2010; 12(1):20-7. DOI: 10.1007/s11920-009-0085-y
Source: PubMed


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
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    • "Cognitive training represents another strategy for combatting age-related cognitive decline and enhancing select cognitive functions among older adults. While a lack of transferable improvements has been a critique of cognitive training paradigms (Ball et al. 2002), these do lead to significant improvements in cognitive domains that are directly trained by the program, such as processing speed, attention, and memory (Gates and Valenzuela 2010). In addition, emerging evidence suggests that combining exercise and "

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    • "Rearing in such environment has been found to produce positive behavioral and biological changes in animals, which consequentially improve their performance on an array of spatial and non-spatial memory tasks161718 . Furthermore, EE was also reported to have beneficial effects against cognitive dysfunctions, such as dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases [19,20]. Despite these positive effects, little is known about the impact of EE on the symptomatology of ADHD. "
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    • "Research suggests there is great potential for cognitive deficit reversal and strengthening of executive function at the MCI stage [18]. MCI adults are reported to regain cognitive function by engaging in physical exercise [19], eating healthy foods (e.g., fish oils) [20], reducing LDL cholesterol intake [21], and practicing challenging cognitive tasks [22]. Therefore, clinical tools that accurately detect the progression from normal cognitive aging to MCI award preclinical adults the opportunity to actively participate in tasks that may help improve and preserve their cognitive function. "
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