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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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