Effects of Cognitive Training with Older Adults
Following are research results compiled by the ACTIVE Study Group:
To evaluate whether 3 cognitive training interventions improve mental abilities and daily functioning in older, independent-living adults.
Randomized, controlled, single-blind trial with recruitment conducted from March 1998 to October 1999 and 2-year follow-up through December 2001.
Volunteer sample of 2832 persons aged 65 to 94 years recruited from senior housing, community centers, and hospital/clinics in 6 metropolitan areas in the United States.
Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: 10-session group training for memory (verbal episodic memory), or reasoning (ability to solve problems that follow a serial pattern), or speed of processing (visual search and identification); or a control group.
Each type of training improved the targeted cognitive ability compared with baseline.
Moreover, the improvement was durable to 2 years. More than 70% of the participants of the speed of processing group and of the reasoning group and about 25% of the memory group demonstrated reliable cognitive improvement immediately after the intervention period.
Further training sessions, given 11 months later, enhanced training gains in speed and reasoning interventions, which were maintained at 2-year follow-up.
Results support the effectiveness and durability of the cognitive training interventions in improving targeted cognitive abilities. Training effects were of a magnitude equivalent to the amount of decline expected in elderly persons without dementia over 7- to 14-year intervals.