The possibility that lifestyle activities may benefit cognitive health in late life is of major importance for our increasingly aging population. Although many studies of physical and cognitive training activities in older adults have attempted to demonstrate such benefits, transfer and maintenance of these benefits have been minimal. In this proposal, we introduce and evaluate two novel, theoretically motivated advances to optimize the effects of training, including transfer to daily, real world activities. Recognizing that real world activities, unlike laboratory tasks, rarely rely upon a single cognitive process, one advance is the incorporation of training that interleaves practice involving three cognitive control processes (task-coordination, prospective and retrospective memory). A second advance rests on the observation that few studies to date have carefully assessed the possibility that aerobic exercise and cognitive training together may be additive or synergistic in yielding cognitive benefits. Accordingly, an important objective is to evaluate the benefits of combining aerobic exercise with cognitive training for optimizing training and transfer of cognitive function, particularly for daily activities. We propose to conduct a randomized, controlled prospective study with residents of a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). Ninety-six men and women, age 55-75 years who are in stable health and without contraindications to exercise or evidence of dementia or cognitive impairment, will be enrolled. Individuals will be randomly assigned to one of four groups for six months: Exercise, Cognitive training, Combined exercise and cognitive training, and Control. This design will allow us to evaluate the unique benefits of each intervention for improving performance from baseline to post-training on measures of cognitive control, including training specific, laboratory and everyday transfer tasks;everyday subjective memory performance;self-reported activities of daily living (ADLs) and quality of life;and objective physical performance. We also plan to compare 6-month maintenance of transfer, ADL, and subjective memory performance gains for individuals in the Cognitive, Exercise, and Combined groups following the 6-month intervention period (12 months after baseline).
The possibility that lifestyle activities may benefit cognitive health in late life is of major importance for our increasingly aging population. Although many studies of physical and cognitive training in older adults have attempted to demonstrate such benefits, transfer and maintenance of these benefits have been minimal. If cognitive training combined with aerobic exercise training is proven to have effects that transfer to everyday activities and are sustained, the results of this study could eventually be directly applied to a variety of community settings to reduce or delay age-related cognitive decline.
|Waldum, Emily R; Dufault, Carolyn L; McDaniel, Mark A (2016) Prospective Memory Training: Outlining a New Approach. J Appl Gerontol 35:1211-1234|
|McDaniel, Mark A; Binder, Ellen F; Bugg, Julie M et al. (2014) Effects of cognitive training with and without aerobic exercise on cognitively demanding everyday activities. Psychol Aging 29:717-30|
|McDaniel, Mark A; Bugg, Julie M (2012) Memory Training Interventions: What has been forgotten? J Appl Res Mem Cogn 1:58-60|