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Short-term computerized cognitive training does not improve cognition compared to an active control in non-demented adults aged 80 years and above

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 April 2019

Rebecca K. West*
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
Laura A. Rabin
Brooklyn College, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA
Jeremy M. Silverman
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
Erin Moshier
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
Mary Sano
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
Michal Schnaider Beeri
Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
Correspondence should be addressed to: Rebecca K. West, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Psychiatry, Box 1230 One Gustave L Levy Place, New York, NY 10029. Phone: (212) 659-5603. Email:



Older adults, especially those above age 80, are the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States and at risk for age-related cognitive decline and dementia. There is growing evidence that cognitive activity and training may allow adults to maintain or improve cognitive functioning, but little is known about the potential benefit in the oldest old. In this randomized trial, the effectiveness of a computerized cognitive training program (CCT program) was compared to an active control games program to improve cognition in cognitively normal individuals aged 80 and older.


Sixty-nine older adults were randomized to a 24-session CCT program (n = 39) or an active control program (n = 30). Participants completed a pre- and post- training neuropsychological assessment. The primary outcome measure was a global cognitive composite, and the secondary outcomes were the scores on specific cognitive domains (of memory, executive function/attention, and language).


Using linear mixed models, there were no significant differences between the CCT and the active control program on the primary (p = 0.662) or any of the secondary outcomes (language functioning, p = .628; attention/executive functioning, p = .428; memory, p = .749).


This study suggests that short-term CCT had no specific benefit for cognitive functioning in non-demented individuals aged 80 and older.

Original Research Article
© International Psychogeriatric Association 2019 

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The authors have not entered into an agreement with the funding organization that has limited their ability to complete the research as planned and publish the results.

The authors have had full control of all the primary data.

The authors are willing to allow the journal to review their data if requested.


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