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CogniFit has improved the state of cognitive abilities in older adults

A study presented at the Symposium on Progress in Alzheimer's Therapy

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Original name: CogniFit Program Improves Cognitive Abilities Among Older Adults.

Authors: Amos D. Korczyn1,2,3, Chava Peretz1,2,3, Vered Aharonson3,4, Nir Giladi1,2,3.

  • 1. Department of Neurology, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
  • 2. Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
  • 3. NextSig, Israel.
  • 4. School of Engineering, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Symposium: 10th International Hong Kong/Springfield Pan-Asian Symposium on Advances in Alzheimer Therapy. February 28, 29 - March 1, 2008; Hong Kong.

References to this article (APA style):

  • Korczyn, A. D., Peretz, C., Aharonson, V., & Giladi, N. (2008, February 28, 29 - March 1). CogniFit Program Improves Cognitive Abilities Among Older Adults. 10th International Hong Kong/Springfield Pan-Asian Symposium on Advances in Alzheimer Therapy., 10, 1-3.

Study Conclusion

CogniFit is significantly more effective in improving seniors' cognitive abilities than nonspecific computer games. This improvement is even greater in people with weaker cognitive status . Focused attention (P<.0001), visual-spatial learning (P<.001), short-term memory (P<.01) and shifting or cognitive flexibility (P<.01).

Context

Cognitive decline is not a natural consequence of aging, but it still has a high incidence amongst seniors. Luckily, there are certain protective factors and activities that can help slow cognitive decline , such as reading, playing musical instruments or playing certain games. Episodic memory is one of the cognitive abilities that shows greater benefits when performing this type of activity.

On the other hand, organized and regular cognitive exercise can improve cognitive performance and also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease . It has also been shown that both specific brain stimulation and non-specific brain stimulation may be beneficial.

This is why it is very important to know precisely the effects of cognitive stimulation in seniors. The aim of this study is to find out which is more effective: personalized cognitive stimulation or general stimulation through computer games.

Methodology

To conduct the study, 750 participants who had volunteered were contacted to assess their risk of developing Alzheimer's, stroke, or future falls. One year after this evaluation, they were offered the possibility of participating in this study. A total of 155 participants met the inclusion criteria and wanted to participate in the study, 34 of whom (21.9%) dropped out of the study during its development. The remaining 121 participants completed the study, with an average age of 67 years , and with an age range between 50 and 81 years.

Participants were randomly divided into two groups: the training group (N=66) and the control group (N=55). The NexAde assessment was applied to both groups at the beginning and end of the study. The experimental group conducted 24 training sessions with CogniFit (20-minute sessions, every 2 or 3 days) for 3 months. On the other hand, the control group was given a CD with a selection of computer games with a duration similar to CogniFit.

  • The NexAde evaluation is a standardized software, with validation and reliability, for Alzheimer's early detection. It measures the following skills: Focused attention, sustained attention, recognition, recall, visual-spatial learning, short-term spatial memory, executive functions and cognitive flexibility.
  • The CD with computer games included 12 popular games: Mathematical triangle, Labyrinth, X-O, Tangram, Tennis, Memory - Simon, Memory - Pairs, Numbers, Tetris, Puzzles, Target practice, Snake.
  • CogniFit is a cognitive training program that fits the specific needs of the user. The activities that the training showed, therefore, varied from one user to another, as well as the difficulty of the activities or the frequency with which each of them was presented. The higher the user's score, the greater the difficulty of the activities.
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Results and Conclusions

Comparing the results of the PRE and POST assessments showed that both groups had improved their performance in most of the cognitive abilities measured. However, the group using CogniFit significantly improved all cognitive abilities measured . In addition, this same group also showed significantly greater improvement in 4 of the measured cognitive abilities than the control group. These four cognitive abilities were: focused attention (P<.0001), visuospatial learning (P<.001), short term memory (P<.01) and cognitive flexibility (P<.01). Regressive analysis of the assessments indicates that, when the initial score was low, the improvement in the group that had used CogniFit was greater than that of the group that had simply used computer games. The lower the initial score, the greater the difference .

While it is true that all participants improved the state of their cognitive abilities, the group that used CogniFit achieved significantly greater improvement . Thus, it is extracted that when cognitive training is personalized and systematic, the training effect turns out to be more effective than using a wide variety of nonspecific games. It also highlights that training is more effective in participants who started training with a lower cognitive score, suggesting that this type of training may be very beneficial for people with cognitive impairment.

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