Benefits for Individuals with Age-Related Memory Changes.

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Long-term Effects of Cognitive Training on Everyday Functional Outcomes in Older Adults, (the ‘ACTIVE’ study)

A ten-year study financed by the National Institutes on Health and Aging, titled:  was first reported January 2, 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  While the 2007 report provided a Five-year follow-up study, the recently published 2014 report provides a TEN-year follow-up! (Rebok, Ball, et. al., Journal of the American Geriatrics Society”. Volume 62, Issue 1, pages 16–24, January 2014)

The study reports that 2,100 Americans ages 65 to 94 derived long-lasting benefit from a short burst of training on how to improve memory, reasoning power and mind speed..The ACTIVE study, was a collaboration of 11 scientists at eight academic institutions, plus Jeffrey Elias, a cognitive aging specialist at the National Institute on Aging. The five-week training consisted of 10 90-minute sessions on memory, reasoning and speed of processing. Even five years later, study participants outperformed non-participants on cognitive functioning and everyday skills, such as handling medication tasks, looking up phone book numbers and making calls, finding food in their pantries, etc. In the 2014 follow-up report, at a mean age of 82, approximately 60% of trained participants, versus 50% of controls (< .05), were at or above their baseline level of self-reported IADL function at 10 years. The gains delayed typical cognitive decline of healthy adults by seven to 14 years. Seventy-year-olds exhibited the mental quickness of 60-year-olds.”

“In summary, ACTIVE was the first multisite clinical trial to test the effects of cognitive training interventions on cognitive abilities and daily function. Results at 10 years demonstrate that cognitive training has beneficial effects on cognitive abilities and on self-reported IADL function. These results provide support for the development of other interventions, particularly those that target multiple cognitive abilities and are more likely to have an effect on IADL performance. Such interventions hold the potential to delay onset of functional decline and possibly dementia and are consistent with comprehensive geriatric care that strives to maintain and support functional independence. If interventions that could delay onset of functional impairment by even 6 years were introduced, the number of people affected by 2050 would be reduced by 38%, [48] which would be of great public health significance.”

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