The Memory Fitness Program: Cognitive Effects of a Healthy Aging Intervention
Age-related memory decline affects a large proportion of older adults. Cognitive training, physical exercise, and other lifestyle habits may help to minimize self-perception of memory loss and a decline in objective memory performance.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a 6-week educational program on memory training, physical activity, stress reduction, and healthy diet led to improved memory performance in older adults.
A convenience sample of 115 participants (mean age: 80.9 [SD: 6.0 years]) was recruited from two continuing care retirement communities. The intervention consisted of 60-minute classes held twice weekly with 15-20 participants per class. Testing of both objective and subjective cognitive performance occurred at baseline, preintervention, and postintervention. Objective cognitive measures evaluated changes in five domains: immediate verbal memory, delayed verbal memory, retention of verbal information, memory recognition, and verbal fluency. A standardized metamemory instrument assessed four domains of memory self-awareness: frequency and severity of forgetting, retrospective functioning, and mnemonics use.
The intervention program resulted in significant improvements on objective measures of memory, including recognition of word pairs (t() = 3.62, p <0.001) and retention of verbal information from list learning (t() = 2.98, p <0.01). No improvement was found for verbal fluency. Regarding subjective memory measures, the retrospective functioning score increased significantly following the intervention (t() = 4.54, p <0.0001), indicating perception of a better memory.
These findings indicate that a 6-week healthy lifestyle program can improve both encoding and recalling of new verbal information, as well as self-perception of memory ability in older adults residing in continuing care retirement communities.
Available from: Graham Joseph McDougall Jr
- "Because most (92% up to 2010) of the published research is from rodent data and not human data, the extrapolation of these findings to humans and research on adult human neurogenesis is in the early phases of discovery (Bergmann & Frisen, 2013; Sierra, Encinas, & Maletic-Savatic, 2011). Nevertheless , applied studies of various memory and cognitive interventions are ongoing with humans with the goal of improving neural plasticity and cognitive reserve (Miller et al., 2012). After nearly 40 years of memory training research with older adults, a number of principles have been learned (Verhaegen, Marcoen, & Goosens, 1992). "
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ABSTRACT: Previous tests of the SeniorWISE intervention with community-residing older adults that were designed to improve affect and cognitive performance were successful and positively affected these outcomes. In this study, we tested whether adding yoga to the intervention would affect the outcomes. Using a quasiexperimental pre-post design, we delivered 12 hours of SeniorWISE memory training that included a 30-minute yoga component before each training session. The intervention was based on the four components of self-efficacy theory: enactive mastery experience, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiologic arousal. We recruited 133 older adults between the ages of 53 and 96 years from four retirement communities in Central Texas. Individuals were screened and tested and then attended training sessions two times a week over 4 weeks. A septuagenarian licensed psychologist taught the memory training, and a certified yoga instructor taught yoga. Eighty-three participants completed at least 9 hours (75%) of the training and completed the posttest. Those individuals who completed made significant gains in memory performance, instrumental activities of daily living, and memory self-efficacy and had fewer depressive symptoms. Thirteen individuals advanced from poor to normal memory performance, and seven improved from impaired to poor memory performance; thus, 20 individuals improved enough to advance to a higher functioning memory group. The findings from this study of a memory training intervention plus yoga training show that the benefits of multifactorial interventions had additive benefits. The combined treatments offer a unique model for brain health programs and the promotion of nonpharmacological treatment with the goals of maintaining healthy brain function and boosting brain plasticity.
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Salthouse illustrated that among Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) participants, cognitive change accelerated following training. Our goal was to determine if this finding persists net of practice, training, and loss of training gains effects.
We evaluated change over 5 years following cognitive training among older adults (N = 1,659, age 65 to 94).
Reasoning training, but not memory or speed, attenuated aging-related change. Memory gains were maintained, but about half of reasoning and speed gains were lost. Performance differences at the end of the follow-up were equivalent to about 6, 4, and 8 years of aging for memory, reasoning, and speed training, respectively.
Training can appear to accelerate age-related change, because change over time is coupled with loss of training gains. Our analysis is limited by follow-up that is short for precisely characterizing aging-related change.
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ABSTRACT: To describe the recent (2011-2012) literature relevant to subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), focusing principally on studies of this symptom in older age groups. This is an issue of growing importance: although the symptom itself is controversial in older people because of variable associations with objective cognitive impairment, it remains one of the few presenting complaints which may identify people experiencing early cognitive decline.
Several neuroimaging studies confirm earlier reports of associations between SCI and underlying abnormalities whereas those between subjective and objective cognitive function remain heterogeneous. Several studies now highlight the fact that, regardless of underlying associations, SCI as a symptom is associated with significant concern but is something for which older people rarely seek help.
Neuroimaging findings suggest that older people may be more aware of underlying brain changes than was previously apparent or than can be detected using conventional neuropsychological assessments. However, not all of these brain changes are necessarily progressive or neurodegenerative. At least some attention should be paid to interventions for what is a common, often distressing, but underreported symptom.
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