Background: Interest in cognitive training aimed at slowing or countering ormal age-related cognitive decline has been growing in both popular culture and in aging research. While it has been demonstrated that older adults an improve performance in trained tasks, it remains unclear as to whether the effects of training can generalize to more distal cognitive domains and if hey can be maintained longer-term. Previous investigations have been hindered by methodological shortfalls. The present study aimed to evaluate ong-term effects of a cognitive training program on a range of cognitive domains, subjective memory and quality of life in healthy, community dwelling lder adults. Methods: To date a total of 197 participants (Age M = 66.49, SD =6.85 years) have participated in a 10-week group, multi-dimensional ognitive training program. Following initial eligibility screening, participants undertook a computerized test battery (CogState) measuring visual orking memory, short- and long-term memory, speed of processing and executive functioning. Participants' verbal memory and learning ability as also measured using the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). In addition, subjective ratings of everyday memory, engagement in healthy ifestyle activities (e.g. exercise) and quality of life were measured. These assessments were repeated immediately following the program, and at 6- nd 12- month follow-ups. A no-contact control group is being tested at these same post-test intervals. Results: Preliminary results demonstrate significant enefits of training from baseline at 6- and 12-month follow-ups on a number of cognitive tests. This includes improved performance on Cog- tate tasks measuring working memory speed and executive functioning, with small effect sizes compared to controls. RAVLT performance was lso significantly enhanced on total words recalled, delayed recall and recognition at 6- and 12-months. In addition, participants report a significant mprovement in subjective ratings of memory contentment and fewer memory errors at these follow-ups. Memory strategy use was significantly higher t 6-months. Further long-term cognitive, healthy lifestyle and quality of life data will be presented at the conference. Conclusions: Early findings suggest hat cognitive training can produce generalized and sustained improvements in performance in a range of cognitive assessments and in subjective atings of memory in trained older adults.
Wolf, A., Elder, S., Summers, M., Tyler, M., & Summers, J. (2011). P1-489: Evaluation of a multidimensional cognitive training program for healthy older adults. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 7, S269–S270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2011.05.771