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53 2-Back Performance Does Not Differ Between Cognitive Training Groups in Older Adults Without Dementia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Nicole D Evangelista*
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Jessica N Kraft
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Hanna K Hausman
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Andrew O’Shea
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Alejandro Albizu
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Emanuel M Boutzoukas
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Cheshire Hardcastle
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Emily J Van Etten
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Pradyumna K Bharadwaj
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Hyun Song
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Samantha G Smith
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Steven DeKosky
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Georg A Hishaw
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Samuel Wu
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Michael Marsiske
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Ronald Cohen
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Gene E Alexander
Affiliation:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Eric Porges
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Adam J Woods
Affiliation:
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
*
Correspondence: Nicole D. Evangelista, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, College of Public Health and Health Professions, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA, nevangelista@ufl.edu
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Abstract

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Objective:

Cognitive training is a non-pharmacological intervention aimed at improving cognitive function across a single or multiple domains. Although the underlying mechanisms of cognitive training and transfer effects are not well-characterized, cognitive training has been thought to facilitate neural plasticity to enhance cognitive performance. Indeed, the Scaffolding Theory of Aging and Cognition (STAC) proposes that cognitive training may enhance the ability to engage in compensatory scaffolding to meet task demands and maintain cognitive performance. We therefore evaluated the effects of cognitive training on working memory performance in older adults without dementia. This study will help begin to elucidate non-pharmacological intervention effects on compensatory scaffolding in older adults.

Participants and Methods:

48 participants were recruited for a Phase III randomized clinical trial (Augmenting Cognitive Training in Older Adults [ACT]; NIH R01AG054077) conducted at the University of Florida and University of Arizona. Participants across sites were randomly assigned to complete cognitive training (n=25) or an education training control condition (n=23). Cognitive training and the education training control condition were each completed during 60 sessions over 12 weeks for 40 hours total. The education training control condition involved viewing educational videos produced by the National Geographic Channel. Cognitive training was completed using the Posit Science Brain HQ training program, which included 8 cognitive training paradigms targeting attention/processing speed and working memory. All participants also completed demographic questionnaires, cognitive testing, and an fMRI 2-back task at baseline and at 12-weeks following cognitive training.

Results:

Repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), adjusted for training adherence, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) condition, age, sex, years of education, and Wechsler Test of Adult Reading (WTAR) raw score, revealed a significant 2-back by training group interaction (F[1,40]=6.201, p=.017, η2=.134). Examination of simple main effects revealed baseline differences in 2-back performance (F[1,40]=.568, p=.455, η2=.014). After controlling for baseline performance, training group differences in 2-back performance was no longer statistically significant (F[1,40]=1.382, p=.247, η2=.034).

Conclusions:

After adjusting for baseline performance differences, there were no significant training group differences in 2-back performance, suggesting that the randomization was not sufficient to ensure adequate distribution of participants across groups. Results may indicate that cognitive training alone is not sufficient for significant improvement in working memory performance on a near transfer task. Additional improvement may occur with the next phase of this clinical trial, such that tDCS augments the effects of cognitive training and results in enhanced compensatory scaffolding even within this high performing cohort. Limitations of the study include a highly educated sample with higher literacy levels and the small sample size was not powered for transfer effects analysis. Future analyses will include evaluation of the combined intervention effects of a cognitive training and tDCS on nback performance in a larger sample of older adults without dementia.

Type
Poster Session 04: Aging | MCI
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023