Objectives: To determine the effects of cognitive training on cognitive abilities and everyday function over 10 years.
Design: Ten-year follow-up of a randomized, controlled single-blind trial (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE)) with three intervention groups and a no-contact control group.
Setting: Six U.S. cities.
Participants: A volunteer sample of 2,832 persons (mean baseline age 73.6; 26% African American) living independently.
Intervention: Ten training sessions for memory, reasoning, or speed of processing; four sessions of booster training 11 and 35 months after initial training.
Measurements: Objectively measured cognitive abilities and self-reported and performance-based measures of everyday function.
Results: Participants in each intervention group reported less difficulty with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) (memory: effect size = 0.48, 99% confidence interval (CI) = 0.12-0.84; reasoning: effect size = 0.38, 99% CI = 0.02-0.74; speed of processing: effect size = 0.36, 99% CI = 0.01-0.72). At a mean age of 82, approximately 60% of trained participants, versus 50% of controls (P < .05), were at or above their baseline level of self-reported IADL function at 10 years. The reasoning and speed-of-processing interventions maintained their effects on their targeted cognitive abilities at 10 years (reasoning: effect size = 0.23, 99% CI = 0.09-0.38; speed of processing: effect size = 0.66, 99% CI = 0.43-0.88). Memory training effects were no longer maintained for memory performance. Booster training produced additional and durable improvement for the reasoning intervention for reasoning performance (effect size = 0.21, 99% CI = 0.01-0.41) and the speed-of-processing intervention for speed-of-processing performance (effect size = 0.62, 99% CI = 0.31-0.93).
Conclusion: Each Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly cognitive intervention resulted in less decline in self-reported IADL compared with the control group. Reasoning and speed, but not memory, training resulted in improved targeted cognitive abilities for 10 years.
Keywords: cognitive abilities; cognitive training; elderly; everyday function; training maintenance.
© 2014, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2014, The American Geriatrics Society.