Neuroplastic effects of combined computerized physical and cognitive training in elderly individuals at risk for dementia: an eLORETA controlled study on resting states

Neural Plast. 2015;2015:172192. doi: 10.1155/2015/172192. Epub 2015 Apr 7.


The present study investigates whether a combined cognitive and physical training may induce changes in the cortical activity as measured via electroencephalogram (EEG) and whether this change may index a deceleration of pathological processes of brain aging. Seventy seniors meeting the clinical criteria of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were equally divided into 5 groups: 3 experimental groups engaged in eight-week cognitive and/or physical training and 2 control groups: active and passive. A 5-minute long resting state EEG was measured before and after the intervention. Cortical EEG sources were modelled by exact low resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (eLORETA). Cognitive function was assessed before and after intervention using a battery of neuropsychological tests including the minimental state examination (MMSE). A significant training effect was identified only after the combined training scheme: a decrease in the post- compared to pre-training activity of precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex in delta, theta, and beta bands. This effect was correlated to improvements in cognitive capacity as evaluated by MMSE scores. Our results indicate that combined physical and cognitive training shows indices of a positive neuroplastic effect in MCI patients and that EEG may serve as a potential index of gains versus cognitive declines and neurodegeneration. This trial is registered with Identifier NCT02313935.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data