Improvement in memory with plasticity-based adaptive cognitive training: results of the 3-month follow-up

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Feb;59(2):258-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03277.x.


Objectives: To investigate maintenance of training effects of a novel brain plasticity-based computerized cognitive training program in older adults after a 3-month no-contact period.

Design: Multisite, randomized, controlled, double-blind trial with two treatment groups.

Setting: Communities in northern and southern California and Minnesota.

Participants: Four hundred eighty-seven community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older without diagnosis of clinically significant cognitive impairment.

Intervention: Random assignment into a broadly available brain plasticity-based computerized cognitive training program experimental group or a novelty- and intensity-matched cognitive stimulation active control. Assessments at baseline, after training, and at 3 months.

Measurements: The primary outcome was a composite of auditory subtests of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status. Secondary measures included trained task performance, standardized neuropsychological assessments of overall memory and attention, and participant-reported outcomes (PROs).

Results: A significant difference in improvement from baseline to 3-month follow-up was seen between the experimental training and control groups on the secondary composite of overall memory and attention, (P=.01, d=0.25), the trained processing-speed measure (P<.001, d=0.80), word list total recall (P=.004, d=0.28), letter-number sequencing (P=.003, d=0.29), and the cognitive subscale of PRO (P=.006, d=0.27). Previously significant improvements became nonsignificant at the 3-month follow-up for the primary outcome, two secondary measures of attention and memory, and several PROs. Narrative memory continued to show no advantage for the experimental group. Effect sizes from baseline to follow-up were generally smaller than effect sizes from baseline to posttraining.

Conclusion: Training effects were maintained but waned over the 3-month no-contact period.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Treatment Outcome