Background: There is limited evidence on the efficacy and social utility of cognitive training. To address this, we have designed a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of memory training workshops for healthy older people in terms of their short- and long-term impact on cognitive function, health-related quality of life, and functionality.
Methods/design: A randomized controlled trial will be performed in health care centers in Barcelona (Spain) through comparison of a group of individuals participating in memory training workshops (experimental group) with another group with similar characteristics not participating in the workshops (control group). The intervention will consist of twelve 90-minute group sessions imparted once a week by a psychologist specialized in memory training. The groups will each comprise approximately 15 people, for a total number of 230 patients involved in the study. Each session has its own objectives, materials and activities. The content of the intervention is based on memory training from different perspectives, including cognitive and emotional aspects and social and individual skills. Data will be collected at baseline, at 3-4 months and at 6 months. To assess the efficacy of the intervention on cognitive function, health-related quality of life and functionality, a statistical analysis will be performed by fitting a repeated-measures mixed effects model for each main outcome: Self-perceived memory, measured by a Subjective Self-reported Memory Score (from 0 to 10) and by the Memory Failures in Everyday life questionnaire (MFE); Everyday memory, measured using the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test-3 (RBMT-3) and Executive control abilities, measured in terms of visual-perceptual ability, working memory and task-switching ability with the Trail Making Test (TMT) and with the digit span scale of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III (WAIS III).
Discussion: The results of this study will be highly useful for social and public health policies related to older people. Given the continuous increase in the prevalence of older people, a large number of interventions targeting memory loss are funded by public resources. To ensure transparency and effective prioritization, research such as the present study is needed to provide evidence of the effectiveness and usefulness of these interventions.
Trial registration: Number: NCT02431182 .