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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.
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