Long-term Effects of Training

Long-term Effects of Cognitive Training on Everyday Functional Outcomes in Older Adults
Following are research results compiled by the ACTIVE Study Group:


Previously reported data from the ACTIVE study showed that each of 3 cognitive interventions improved the cognitive ability it targeted and these improvements were maintained through the 2 years of follow-up.  However, the effects of cognitive training on everyday function have not been demonstrated yet.


To determine the effects of cognitive training on daily function and durability of training on cognitive abilities.

Design, Setting and Participants

Five-year follow-up of a randomized controlled single-blind trial with 4 treatment groups. A volunteer sample of 2832 persons (mean age, 73.6 years; 26% black), living independently in 6 US cities, was recruited from senior housing, community centers, and hospitals and clinics. The study was conducted between April 1998 and December 2004. Five-year follow-up was completed in 67% of the sample.


Ten-session training for memory (verbal episodic memory), reasoning (inductive reasoning), or speed of processing (visual search and identification); 4-session booster training at 11 and 35 months after training in a random sample of those who completed training.


The reasoning group reported significantly less difficulty in the instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) than the control group. Neither speed of processing training nor memory training had a significant effect on IADL. The booster training for the speed of processing group, but not for the other 2 groups, showed a significant effect on the performance-based functional measure of everyday speed of processing.

No booster effects were seen for any of the groups for everyday problem-solving or self-reported difficulty in IADL. Each intervention maintained effects on its specific targeted cognitive ability through 5 years (memory; reasoning; speed of processing). Booster training produced additional improvement with the reasoning intervention for reasoning performance and the speed of processing intervention for speed of processing performance.


Compared with the control group, cognitive training resulted in improved cognitive abilities specific to the abilities trained that continued 5 years after the initiation of the intervention.

Link to study: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/296/23/2805

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