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Cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly: Overview and future directions

  • GORDON WINOCUR (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), FERGUS I.M. CRAIK (a1) (a2), BRIAN LEVINE (a1) (a2) (a5), IAN H. ROBERTSON (a1) (a6), MALCOLM A. BINNS (a1), MICHAEL ALEXANDER (a1) (a7), SANDRA BLACK (a1) (a5) (a8), DEIRDRE DAWSON (a9) (a10) (a11), HEATHER PALMER (a1), TARA MCHUGH (a1) and DONALD T. STUSS (a1) (a2) (a5) (a10)...


This study provides an overview of the papers emanating from the experimental trial that evaluated a new cognitive rehabilitation program in older adults who were experiencing normal cognitive decline. The main features of the design are summarized, along with evidence that the training produced long-lasting improvement in memory performance, goal management, and psychosocial status. The benefits were attributed to several factors, including the program's emphasis on techniques that promoted efficient strategic processing. Limitations of the program and directions for future research are discussed (JINS, 2007, 13, 166–171.)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Gordon Winocur, Ph.D., Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, 3560 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON M6A 2E1 Canada. E-mail:


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Anschutz, L., Camp, C.L., Markley, R.P., & Kramer, J.J. (1985). Maintenance and generalization of mnemonics for grocery shopping by older adults. Experimental Aging Research, 11, 157160.
Ball, K., Berch, D.B., Helmers, K.F., Jobe, J.B., Leveck, M.D., Marsiske, M., Norris, J.N., Rebok, G.W., Smith, D.M., Tennstedt, S.L., Unverzagt, F.W., & Willis, S.L. (2002). Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288, 22712281.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Craik, F.I.M., Winocur, G., Palmer, H., Binns, M.A., Edwards, M., Bridges, K., Glazer, P., Chavannes, R., & Stuss, D.T. (2007, this issue). Cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly: Effects on memory. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13, 132142.
Duff Canning, S.J., Leach, L., Stuss, D., Ngo, L., & Black, S.E. (2004). Diagnostic utility of abbreviated fluency measures in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. Neurology, 62, 556562.
Levine, B., Stuss, D.T., Winocur, G., Binns, M.A., Fahy, L., Mandic, M., Bridges, K., & Robertson, I.H. (2007, this issue). Cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly: Effects on strategic behavior in relation to goal management. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13, 143152.
Oswald, W.D., Rupprecht, R., Gunzelmann, T., & Tritt, K. (1996). The SIMA-project: Effects of 1 year cognitive and psychomotor training on cognitive abilities of the elderly. Behavioural Brain Research, 78, 6772.
Rebok, G.W. & Balcerak, L.J. (1989). Memory self-efficacy and performance differences in young and old adults: The effect of mnemonic training. Developmental Psychology, 25, 714721.
Scogin, F. & Bienias, J.L. (1988). A three-year follow-up of older adult participants in a memory-skills training program. Psychology and Aging, 3, 334337.
Stigsdotter Neely, A. & Bäckman, L. (1993a). Long-term maintenance of gains from memory training in older adults: Two 3 1/2 year follow-up studies. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 48, 233237.
Stigsdotter Neely, A. & Bäckman, L. (1993b). Maintenance of gains following multifactorial and unifactorial memory training in late adulthood. Educational Gerontology, 19, 105117.
Stigsdotter Neely, A. & Bäckman, L. (1995). Effects of multifactorial memory training in old age: Generalizability across tasks and individuals. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 3, 134140.
Stuss, D.T., Alexander, M.P., Hamer, L., Palumbo, C., Dempster, R., Binns, M., Levine, B., & Izukawa, D. (1998). The effects of focal anterior and posterior brain lesions on verbal fluency. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 4, 265278.
Stuss, D.T., Robertson, I.H., Craik, F.I.M., Levine, B., Alexander, M.P., Black, S., Dawson, D., Binns, M.A., Palmer, H., Downey-Lamb, M., & Winocur, G. (2007, this issue). Cognitive Rehabilitation in the elderly: A randomized trial to evaluate a new protocol. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13, 120131.
Troyer, A.K., Moscovitch, M., Winocur, G., Alexander, M.P., & Stuss, D. (1998). Clustering and switching on verbal fluency: The effects of focal frontal- and temporal-lobe lesions. Neuropsychologia, 36, 499504.
Willis, S.L. & Nesselroade, C.S. (1990). Long-term effects of fluid ability training in old-old age. Developmental Psychology, 26, 905910.
Winocur, G., Palmer, H., Dawson, D., Binns, M.A., Bridges, K., & Stuss, D.T. (2007, this issue). Cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly: An evaluation of psychosocial factors. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13, 153165.
Yesavage, J.A. & Rose, T.L. (1983). Concentration and mnemonic training in elderly with memory complaints: A study of combined therapy and order effects. Psychiatry Research, 9, 157167.



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