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New & Excellent Review of Computerized Cognitive Training with Older Adults

“Within 20 years, older adults will account for almost 25% of the U.S. population. From a healthcare perspective, a major concern with an aging population is a higher prevalence of age-related impairment in cognitive function. This expanding aging population highlights the need to identify quick, effective, low-cost solutions to delay pathological cognitive decline associated with aging. Developing interventions that can preserve cognitive function can also help to maintain quality of life and independence well into old age. With the help of new technology, novel cognitive training platforms, including computers and video games, can be readily disseminated to an older population…”

New & Excellent Study: Computerized Cognitive Training with Older Adults: A Systematic Review (PLoS ONE, open access)

Abstract: A systematic review to examine the efficacy of computer-based cognitive interventions for cognitively healthy older adults was conducted. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: average sample age of at least 55 years at time of training; participants did not have Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment; and the study measured cognitive outcomes as a result of training. Theoretical articles, review articles, and book chapters that did not include original data were excluded. We identified 151 studies published between 1984 and 2011, of which 38 met inclusion criteria and were further classified into three groups by the type of computerized program used: classic cognitive training tasks, neuropsychological software, and video games. Reported pre-post training effect sizes for intervention groups ranged from 0.06 to 6.32 for classic cognitive training interventions, 0.19 to 7.14 for neuropsychological software interventions, and 0.09 to 1.70 for video game interventions. Most studies reported older adults did not need to be technologically savvy in order to successfully complete or benefit from training. Overall, findings are comparable or better than those from reviews of more traditional, paper-and-pencil cognitive training approaches suggesting that computerized training is an effective, less labor intensive alternative.

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