Structural brain changes after traditional and robot-assisted multi-domain cognitive training in community-dwelling healthy elderly

PLoS One. 2015 Apr 21;10(4):e0123251. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123251. eCollection 2015.


The purpose of this study was to investigate if multi-domain cognitive training, especially robot-assisted training, alters cortical thickness in the brains of elderly participants. A controlled trial was conducted with 85 volunteers without cognitive impairment who were 60 years old or older. Participants were first randomized into two groups. One group consisted of 48 participants who would receive cognitive training and 37 who would not receive training. The cognitive training group was randomly divided into two groups, 24 who received traditional cognitive training and 24 who received robot-assisted cognitive training. The training for both groups consisted of daily 90-min-session, five days a week for a total of 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the changes in cortical thickness. When compared to the control group, both groups who underwent cognitive training demonstrated attenuation of age related cortical thinning in the frontotemporal association cortices. When the robot and the traditional interventions were directly compared, the robot group showed less cortical thinning in the anterior cingulate cortices. Our results suggest that cognitive training can mitigate age-associated structural brain changes in the elderly.

Trial registration: NCT01596205.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Robotics
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data


Grants and funding

This study was partly funded by Gaha Corporation through a research grant to Samsung Medical Center, a grant from the Korea Healthcare Technology R&D Project, Ministry for Health, Welfare & Family Affairs, Republic of Korea (A102065), grants from Samsung Medical Center Clinical Research Development Program (CRL-108011 & CRS 110-14-1), and a grant from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) NLRL program funded by the Korean Government (MEST) (2011-0028333). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Duk L.Na MD, PhD had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Final decisions on the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and manuscript content were made by the authors at Samsung Medical Center, independent of Gaha Corporation or the Center for Intelligent Robotics at Korea Institute Science and Technology.