Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Pharma Outsourcing
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Cognitive Training Shows Staying Power

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Bookmark and Share
NIH-funded trial shows 10-year benefit in realms of reasoning, speed.

Training to improve cognitive abilities in older people lasted to some degree 10 years after the training program was completed, according to results of a randomized clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The findings showed training gains for aspects of cognition involved in the ability to think and learn, but researchers said memory training did not have an effect after 10 years.

The report, from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study, appears in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The project was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), components of the NIH.

"Previous data from this clinical trial demonstrated that the effects of the training lasted for five years," said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. "Now, these longer term results indicate that particular types of cognitive training can provide a lasting benefit a decade later. They suggest that we should continue to pursue cognitive training as an intervention that might help maintain the mental abilities of older people so that they may remain independent and in the community."

"ACTIVE is an important example of intervention research aimed at enabling older people to maintain their cognitive abilities as they age," said NINR Director Patricia Grady, Ph.D. "The average age of the individuals who have been followed over the last 10 years is now 82. Given our nation's aging population, this type of research is an increasingly high priority."

The original 2,832 volunteers for the ACTIVE study were divided into three training groups - memory, reasoning and speed-of-processing - and a control group. The training groups participated in 10 60- to 70-minute sessions over five to six weeks, with some randomly selected for later booster sessions. The study measured effects for each specific cognitive ability trained immediately following the sessions and at one, two, three, five and 10 years after the training.

The investigators were also interested in whether the training had an effect on the participants' abilities to undertake some everyday and complex tasks of daily living. They assessed these using standardized measures of time and efficiency in performing daily activities, as well as asking the participants to report on their ability to carry out everyday tasks ranging from preparing meals, housework, finances, health care, using the telephone, shopping, travel and needing assistance in dressing, personal hygiene and bathing.

At the end of the trial, all groups showed declines from their baseline tests in memory, reasoning and speed of processing. However, the participants who had training in reasoning and speed of processing experienced less decline than those in the memory and control groups. Results of the cognitive tests after 10 years show that 73.6 percent of reasoning-trained participants were still performing reasoning tasks above their pre-trial baseline level compared to 61.7 percent of control participants, who received no training and were only benefiting from practice on the test. This same pattern was seen in speed training: 70.7 percent of speed-trained participants were performing at or above their baseline level compared to 48.8 percent of controls. There was no difference in memory performance between the memory group and the control group after 10 years.

Participants in all training groups said they had less difficulty performing the everyday tasks compared with those in the control group. However, standard tests of function conducted by the researchers showed no difference in functional abilities among the groups.

"The speed-of-processing results are very encouraging," said Jonathan W. King, Ph.D., program director for cognitive aging in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at NIA and co-author. "The self-reported improvements in daily function are interesting, but we do not yet know whether they would truly allow older people to live independently longer; if they did, even a small effect would be important, not only for the older adults, but also for family members and others providing care."

The ACTIVE study followed healthy, community-dwelling older adults from six cities-Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Detroit; State College, Pa.; and Indianapolis. The participants averaged 74 years of age at the beginning of the study and 14 years of education, 76 percent were female, 74 percent were white and 26 percent were African-American. The 10-year follow-up was conducted with 44 percent of the original sample between April 1998 and October 2010.

The ACTIVE study was conducted by the following investigators:

• George W. Rebok, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
• Karlene Ball, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
• Michael Marsiske, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainesville
• John N. Morris, Ph.D., and Richard N. Jones, Sc.D., Hebrew Senior Life, Boston
• Sharon L. Tennstedt, Ph.D., New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Mass.
• Frederick W. Unverzagt, Ph.D., Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
• Sherry L. Willis, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

NIH Framework Points The Way Forward For Developing The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director has presented to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a detailed design framework for building a national research participant group, called a cohort, of 1 million or more Americans to expand our knowledge and practice of precision medicine.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Landmark NIH Study Shows Intensive Blood Pressure Management May Save Lives
Lower blood pressure target greatly reduces cardiovascular complications and deaths in older adults.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
NIH Study Finds Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases
Two-year trial did not produce expected metabolic changes, but influenced other life span markers.
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 Supplements for Cognitive Decline
Research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
NIH Launches Human RSV Study
Study aims to understand infection in healthy adults to aid development of RSV medicines, vaccines.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Dr. Peter Kilmarx Appointed Deputy Director of Fogarty International Center
An expert in infectious disease research and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Benefits of Early Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV Infection
Scientists have explored the clinical importance of starting treatment early in individuals suffering with HIV.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Young South African Women can Adhere to Daily PrEP Regimen as HIV Prevention
NIH-funded study finds men in Bangkok, Harlem also successful in taking daily dose.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Study Shows Promise of Precision Medicine for Most Common Type of Lymphoma
The study appeared online July 20, 2015, in Nature Medicine.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
HIV Control Through Treatment Durably Prevents Heterosexual Transmission of Virus
NIH-funded trial proves suppressive antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people effective in protecting uninfected partners.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Early Antiretroviral Therapy Prevents Non-AIDS Outcomes in HIV-infected People
NIH-supported findings illustrate manifold benefit of therapy.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
NIH-funded Vaccine for West Nile Virus Enters Human Clinical Trials
Enrollment is expected to be completed by December 2015.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
In Blinding Eye Disease, Trash-Collecting Cells Go Awry, Accelerate Damage
NIH research points to microglia as potential therapeutic target in retinitis pigmentosa.
Friday, July 03, 2015
Boys More Likely to Have Antipsychotics Prescribed, Regardless of Age
NIH-funded study is the first look at antipsychotic prescriptions patterns in the U.S.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
New Medication for Alcohol Use Disorder
NIH begins clinical trial investigating a potential treatment for alcohol use disorder.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Scientific News
HIV Patients Should Be Included in Early Clinical Trials of Anti-TB Drugs
Tuberculosis is the number one cause of death in HIV-infected patients in Africa and a leading cause of death in this population worldwide.
Multi-Gene Test Enables Some Breast Cancer Patients to Safely Avoid Chemotherapy
A major study is providing the best evidence to date that a 21-gene test done on the tumor can identify breast cancer patients who can safely avoid chemotherapy.
Low Dose Beta-Blockers As Effective As High Dose After a Heart Attack?
Heart attack patients live as long – or even longer – on one-quarter the suggested dose.
Antidepressants Plus Blood-Thinners Slow Down Brain Cancer
EPFL scientists have found that combining antidepressants with anticoagulants slows down brain tumors (gliomas) in mice.
Old Drug Performs New Tricks
Cambridge-led research reveals the powers of a "wonder drug" that has lain under the noses of doctors for 50 years.
Electronic Reminders Keep TB Patients on Track With Medication In China
Giving electronic reminders to tuberculosis (TB) patients in China can reduce the amount of medication doses they miss by half, according to new research.
Common Drug Presents Fracture Risk To Older Women
Researchers are urging caution in prescribing one of the world’s most commonly issued drug groups, citing links to increased fracture risks in older Australian women.
Combining Epigenetic Therapies and Immunotherapies Improves Cancer Outcomes
Recent data suggest that epigenetic therapies are likely to provide additional clinical benefit to cancer patients when rationally combined with immunotherapeutic drugs.
LiMAx Test Shows Reversibility of Fatty Liver Disease After Obesity Surgery
Clinical study provides evidence for functional liver recovery after weight loss.
Landmark NIH Study Shows Intensive Blood Pressure Management May Save Lives
Lower blood pressure target greatly reduces cardiovascular complications and deaths in older adults.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos