Brain training game improves executive functions and processing speed in the elderly: a randomized controlled trial.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The beneficial effects of brain training games are expected to transfer to other cognitive functions, but these beneficial effects are poorly understood. Here we investigate the impact of the brain training game (Brain Age) on cognitive functions in the elderly. METHODS AND RESULTS:Thirty-two elderly volunteers were recruited through an advertisement in the local newspaper and randomly assigned to either of two game groups (Brain Age, Tetris). This study was completed by 14 of the 16 members in the Brain Age group and 14 of the 16 members in the Tetris group. To maximize the benefit of the interventions, all participants were non-gamers who reported playing less than one hour of video games per week over the past 2 years. Participants in both the Brain Age and the Tetris groups played their game for about 15 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. Each group played for a total of about 20 days. Measures of the cognitive functions were conducted before and after training. Measures of the cognitive functions fell into four categories (global cognitive status, executive functions, attention, and processing speed). Results showed that the effects of the brain training game were transferred to executive functions and to processing speed. However, the brain training game showed no transfer effect on any global cognitive status nor attention. CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed that playing Brain Age for 4 weeks could lead to improve cognitive functions (executive functions and processing speed) in the elderly. This result indicated that there is a possibility which the elderly could improve executive functions and processing speed in short term training. The results need replication in large samples. Long-term effects and relevance for every-day functioning remain uncertain as yet. TRIAL REGISTRATION:UMIN Clinical Trial Registry 000002825.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Do brain training games work? The beneficial effects of brain training games are expected to transfer to other cognitive functions. Yet in all honesty, beneficial transfer effects of the commercial brain training games in young adults have little scientific basis. Here we investigated the impact of the brain training game (Brain Age) on a wide range of cognitive functions in young adults. METHODS: We conducted a double-blind (de facto masking) randomized controlled trial using a popular brain training game (Brain Age) and a popular puzzle game (Tetris). Thirty-two volunteers were recruited through an advertisement in the local newspaper and randomly assigned to either of two game groups (Brain Age, Tetris). Participants in both the Brain Age and the Tetris groups played their game for about 15 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. Measures of the cognitive functions were conducted before and after training. Measures of the cognitive functions fell into eight categories (fluid intelligence, executive function, working memory, short-term memory, attention, processing speed, visual ability, and reading ability). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Our results showed that commercial brain training game improves executive functions, working memory, and processing speed in young adults. Moreover, the popular puzzle game can engender improvement attention and visuo-spatial ability compared to playing the brain training game. The present study showed the scientific evidence which the brain training game had the beneficial effects on cognitive functions (executive functions, working memory and processing speed) in the healthy young adults. CONCLUSIONS: Our results do not indicate that everyone should play brain training games. However, the commercial brain training game might be a simple and convenient means to improve some cognitive functions. We believe that our findings are highly relevant to applications in educational and clinical fields. TRIAL REGISTRATION: UMIN Clinical Trial Registry 000005618.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent studies have demonstrated that brain activities using NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) at baseline during cognitive tasks (e.g., N-back task) can predict the cognitive benefits of a cognitive training. In this study, we investigated whether brain activities during brain training game (BT) at baseline would predict benefits to cognitive functions after the intervention period. METHODS:In a four-week double-blinded randomized control trial (RCT) 72 young adults were randomly assigned to one of the two groups: participants in the BT group played specific game, called the Brain Age. Participants in an active control group (ACT) played the puzzle game Tetris. We measured brain activity during the training games using two channel NIRS before the intervention period. Cognitive functions were tested before and after the four-week intervention period. RESULTS:The BT showed significant improvements in inhibition, processing speed, and working memory performance compared to ACT. The left and right DLPFC (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) brain activities during the BT at baseline were associated with improvements in inhibition and processing speed. DISCUSSION:This randomized control trial first provides scientific evidence that DLPFC activities during BT at baseline can predict cognitive improvements after a four-week intervention period.
Project description:Cognitive training, including fast simple numerical calculation (FSNC), has been shown to improve performance on untrained processing speed and executive function tasks in the elderly. However, the effects of FSNC training on cognitive functions in the young and on neural mechanisms remain unknown. We investigated the effects of 1-week intensive FSNC training on cognitive function, regional gray matter volume (rGMV), and regional cerebral blood flow at rest (resting rCBF) in healthy young adults. FSNC training was associated with improvements in performance on simple processing speed, speeded executive functioning, and simple and complex arithmetic tasks. FSNC training was associated with a reduction in rGMV and an increase in resting rCBF in the frontopolar areas and a weak but widespread increase in resting rCBF in an anatomical cluster in the posterior region. These results provide direct evidence that FSNC training alone can improve performance on processing speed and executive function tasks as well as plasticity of brain structures and perfusion. Our results also indicate that changes in neural systems in the frontopolar areas may underlie these cognitive improvements.
Project description:Previous reports have described that long-term combination exercise training improves cognitive functions in healthy elderly people. This study investigates the effects of 4 weeks of short-term combination exercise training on various cognitive functions of elderly people. We conducted a single-blinded randomized controlled trial with two parallel groups. Sixty-four healthy older adults were assigned randomly to a combination exercise training group or a waiting list control group. Participants in the combination exercise training group participated in the combination exercise training (aerobic, strength, and stretching exercise trainings) 3 days per week during 4 weeks (12 workouts total). The waiting list control group did not participate in the combination exercise training. Measures of the cognitive functions (executive functions, episodic memory, working memory, reading ability, attention, and processing speed) were conducted before and after training. Results showed that the combination exercise training improved executive functions, episodic memory, and processing speed compared to those attributes of the waiting list control group. This report was the first of a study demonstrating the beneficial effects of short-term combination exercise training on diverse cognitive functions of elderly people. Our study provides important evidence of the short-term combination exercise's effectiveness.
Project description:Background: Processing speed training using a 1-year intervention period improves cognitive functions and emotional states of elderly people. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether short-term processing speed training such as 4 weeks can benefit elderly people. This study was designed to investigate effects of 4 weeks of processing speed training on cognitive functions and emotional states of elderly people. Methods: We used a single-blinded randomized control trial (RCT). Seventy-two older adults were assigned randomly to two groups: a processing speed training game (PSTG) group and knowledge quiz training game (KQTG) group, an active control group. In PSTG, participants were asked to play PSTG (12 processing speed games) for 15 min, during five sessions per week, for 4 weeks. In the KQTG group, participants were asked to play KQTG (four knowledge quizzes) for 15 min, during five sessions per week, for 4 weeks. We measured several cognitive functions and emotional states before and after the 4 week intervention period. Results: Our results revealed that PSTG improved performances in processing speed and inhibition compared to KQTG, but did not improve performance in reasoning, shifting, short term/working memory, and episodic memory. Moreover, PSTG reduced the depressive mood score as measured by the Profile of Mood State compared to KQTG during the 4 week intervention period, but did not change other emotional measures. Discussion: This RCT first provided scientific evidence related to small acute benefits of 4 week PSTG on processing speed, inhibition, and depressive mood in healthy elderly people. We discuss possible mechanisms for improvements in processing speed and inhibition and reduction of the depressive mood. Trial registration: This trial was registered in The University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN000022250).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cognitive training may contribute to the ability to maintain cognitive function in healthy elderly adults. Whether genotype modifies training effects remains unknown. OBJECTIVE:Assess influence of APOE on cognitive function over time in community-dwelling elderly adults participating in multi-domain cognitive training. METHODS:Healthy individuals ?70 years of age were screened from one urban community in Shanghai. 145 healthy Chinese older adults met inclusion criteria and were assigned to intervention (n?=?88) or control (n?=?57) groups. Multi-domain cognitive training involved 24 sessions of different content taking place over 12 weeks. Neuropsychological testing was administered at baseline, immediately after training, six months and twelve months post-intervention; composite measures of cognitive function were identified via factor analysis. RESULTS:Three factors explained the majority of variance in function (verbal memory, processing speed, executive function). The intervention attenuated 12-month declines in processing speed, regardless of APOE genotype (p?=?0.047). Executive function declined in APOE?4 carriers over 12 months, regardless of intervention (p?=?0.056). There was a significant interaction after 12 months where intervention ?4 carriers had better processing speed than ?4 controls (p?=?0.003). Intervention ?2 carriers had better executive function immediately after training (p?=?0.02) and had better verbal memory 6-months post-intervention (p?=?0.04). These effects remained significant after false-discovery rate correction. CONCLUSION:Multi-domain cognitive training reduces declines in processing speed over time. APOE?4 is associated with reductions in executive function over time, and training may attenuate ?4-associated declines in processing speed. APOE?2 carriers may also benefit from training, particularly on measures of executive function and verbal memory.
Project description:Background: Elderly people are affected by processes leading to decline in various aspects of daily living that impair their quality of life. Regarding neurological aspects, executive functions have been shown to be valuable for daily life and to slow decline during aging. Most intervention studies intended to improve cognitive functions during aging specifically address long-term destructive processes and countermeasures. However, to an increasing degree, studies also investigate the acute benefits that prove to be useful for daily life, such as physical exercise or video games in the form of exercise video gaming ("exergaming"). Because little is known about the change in cognitive ability following acute intervention of a combination of physical exercise and video gaming, especially for older people, this work is designed as an attempt to address this matter. Methods: This study is a randomized crossover controlled trial to test the response to an acute bout of high-intensity physical exercise followed by a short session with a brain training (Brain Age) video game in physically active and cognitively healthy older adults (60-70 years). The response is measured using Stroop task performance (cognitive task for executive function) and related brain activity assessed with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The control conditions are low-intensity physical exercise and Tetris for video gaming. Discussion: This study is intended to provide insight into the alteration of executive function and its related brain activity from an acute intervention with a combination of physical exercise and video gaming in older people. The protocol might not be implementable in daily life to improve cognitive abilities. However, the results can support future studies that investigate cognition and the combination of physical exercise and video gaming. Moreover, it can provide real-life implications. Trial registration: This trial was registered in The University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN000033054). Registered 19 July 2018, https://upload.umin.ac.jp/cgi-open-bin/ctr/ctr_view.cgi?recptno=R000037687.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Previous reports have described that simple cognitive training using reading aloud and solving simple arithmetic calculations, so-called "learning therapy", can improve executive functions and processing speed in the older adults. Nevertheless, it is not well-known whether learning therapy improve a wide range of cognitive functions or not. We investigated the beneficial effects of learning therapy on various cognitive functions in healthy older adults.<h4>Methods</h4>We used a single-blinded intervention with two groups (learning therapy group: LT and waiting list control group: WL). Sixty-four elderly were randomly assigned to LT or WL. In LT, participants performed reading Japanese aloud and solving simple calculations training tasks for 6 months. WL did not participate in the intervention. We measured several cognitive functions before and after 6 months intervention periods.<h4>Results</h4>Compared to WL, results revealed that LT improved inhibition performance in executive functions (Stroop: LT (Mean = 3.88) vs. WL (Mean = 1.22), adjusted p = 0.013 and reverse Stroop LT (Mean = 3.22) vs. WL (Mean = 1.59), adjusted p = 0.015), verbal episodic memory (Logical Memory (LM): LT (Mean = 4.59) vs. WL (Mean = 2.47), adjusted p = 0.015), focus attention (D-CAT: LT (Mean = 2.09) vs. WL (Mean = -0.59), adjusted p = 0.010) and processing speed compared to the WL control group (digit symbol coding: LT (Mean = 5.00) vs. WL (Mean = 1.13), adjusted p = 0.015 and Symbol Search (SS): LT (Mean = 3.47) vs. WL (Mean = 1.81), adjusted p = 0.014).<h4>Discussion</h4>This randomized controlled trial (RCT) can be showed the benefit of LT on inhibition of executive functions, verbal episodic memory, focus attention and processing speed in healthy elderly people. Our results were discussed under overlapping hypothesis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Almost all cognitive functions decline with age. Results of previous studies have shown that cognitive training related to everyday life (reading aloud and solving simple arithmetic calculations), namely learning therapy, can improve two cognitive function (executive functions and processing speed) in elderly people. However, it remains unclear whether learning therapy engenders improvement of various cognitive functions or not. We investigate the impact of learning therapy on various cognitive functions (executive functions, episodic memory, short-term memory, working memory, attention, reading ability, and processing speed) in healthy older adults. METHODS: We use a single-blinded intervention with two parallel groups (a learning therapy group and a waiting list control group). Testers are blind to the study hypothesis and the group membership of participants. Through an advertisement in local newspaper, 64 healthy older adults are recruited. They will be assigned randomly to a learning therapy group or a waiting list control group. In the learning therapy group, participants are required to perform two cognitive tasks for 6 months: reading Japanese aloud and solving simple calculations. The waiting list group does not participate in the intervention. The primary outcome measure is the Stroop test score: a measure of executive function. Secondary outcome measures are assessments including the following: verbal fluency task, logical memory, first and second names, digit span forward, digit span backward, Japanese reading test, digit cancellation task, digit symbol coding, and symbol search. We assess these outcome measures before and after the intervention. DISCUSSION: This report is the first study which investigates the beneficial effects of learning therapy on a wide range of cognitive functions of elderly people. Our study provides sufficient evidence of learning therapy effectiveness. Most cognitive functions, which are correlated strongly with daily life activities, decrease with age. These study results can elucidate effects of cognitive training on elderly people. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered in The University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (No. UMIN000006998).
Project description:Research indicates that life satisfaction declines with age, and cognitive abilities are gradually reduced-mainly attentional functioning and cognitive processing speed. Therefore, scientists seek to find protective factors and test possible intervention programs; moderately intensive physical activity stands out as particularly promising. In this context, we evaluated the influence of Nordic Walking training supported by vitamin D supplementation (as this nutrient is especially deficient in older people in Poland) on the cognitive and psychological functioning of elderly women. A total of 52 healthy elderly women took part in a Nordic Walking training program complemented by vitamin D supplementation. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Trail Making Test and the D2 Test of Attention. Quality of life and severity of depressive symptoms were measured with the Short Form Health Survey and the Beck Depression Inventory 2. Significant improvements in all aspects of cognitive functioning was observed (p = 0.01-0.47). The study also showed a decrease in depressive symptoms (p = 0.026). Physical activity and adequate levels of vitamin D can be the key factors in maintaining self-reliance in old age. Involvement in Nordic Walking training, supported by vitamin D supplementation, can strengthen the cognitive functioning of older people-reflected in higher attentional capabilities, better executive functions, and improved cognitive processing speed.