Purpose: This paper examines and reviews studies on the efficacy of computer-based cognitive intervention programmes in the elderly affected by Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI patients are at higher risk to progress to dementia. Recent effort has been made to slow the cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia in this population.
Method: MEDLINE sources were searched with the following subject headings: computer-based cognitive intervention, cognitive stimulation, cognitive training, aging, elderly, cognitive impairment. Selected studies were quality assessed and data extracted by two reviewers.
Results: Several studies reported encouraging results on cognitive interventions programmes as a means to improve cognitive abilities and emotional states and to decrease subjective memory complaints in MCI patients.
Conclusion: Though both traditional and computer-based cognitive intervention programmes seem to be effective, the computer-based ones present more advantages: 1) they could individualize the programme tailored to the patient's neuropsychological pattern and needs. 2) they permit the user to make an immediate objective comparison with data collected earlier and thus help in setting up a systematic training plan by providing instant value-free feedback. 3) they offer a possibility of a widescale dissemination.