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Clinical Trial ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Aging Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00407

Effects of a Cognitive training with and without additional physical activity in healthy older adults: a follow-up one year after a randomized controlled trial

  • 1Department of Medical Psychology | Neuropsychology and Gender studies & Center for Neuropsychological Diagnostics and Intervention (CeNDI), Uniklinik Köln, Germany
  • 2Institute for Interdisciplinary Dermatological Prevention and Rehabilitation (iDerm), University of Osnabrück, Germany
  • 3Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren (HZ), Germany
  • 4Department of Neurology, Helios Klinikum Wuppertal, Germany
  • 5Department of Geriatrics, St. Franziskus Hospital Lohne, Germany
  • 6Laboratory Services, Laborarztpraxis Osnabrück, Germany

Background: Combining cognitive training (CT) with physical activity (CPT) has been suggested to be most effective in maintaining cognition in healthy older adults, but data are scarce and inconsistent regarding long-term effects (follow-up; FU) and predictors of success.
Objective: To investigate the one-year FU effects of CPT versus CT and CPT plus counselling (CPT+C), and to identify predictors for CPT success at FU.
Setting and Participants: We included 55 healthy older participants in the data analyses; 18 participants (CPT group) were used for the predictor analysis.
Interventions: In a randomized controlled trial, participants conducted a CT, CPT, or CPT+C for seven weeks.
Outcome Measures: Overall cognition, verbal, figural, and working memory, verbal fluency, attention, planning, and visuo-construction.
Results: While within-group comparisons showed cognitive improvements for all types of training, only one significant interaction Group x Time favoring CPT in comparison to CPT+C was found for overall cognition and verbal long-term memory. The most consistent predictor for CPT success (in verbal short-term memory, verbal fluency, attention) was an initial low baseline performance. Lower education predicted working memory gains. Higher levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and lower levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor at baseline (BDNF) predicted alternating letter verbal fluency gains.
Discussion: Within-group comparisons indicate that all used training types are helpful to maintain cognition. The fact that cognitive and sociodemographic data as well as nerve growth factors predict long-term benefits of CPT contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying training success and may ultimately help to adapt training to individual profiles.

Keywords: physical training, cognitive training, healthy older adults, follow-up, rct

Received: 10 Aug 2018; Accepted: 26 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Aurel Popa-Wagner, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Essen, Germany

Reviewed by:

Laura Lorenzo-López, University of A Coruña, Spain
Laura Serra, Fondazione Santa Lucia (IRCCS), Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Kalbe, Prof. Dr., Roheger, Paluszak, Meyer, Becker, Fink, Kukolja, Rahn, Szabados, Wirth and Kessler. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Elke Kalbe, Prof. Dr., Uniklinik Köln, Department of Medical Psychology | Neuropsychology and Gender studies & Center for Neuropsychological Diagnostics and Intervention (CeNDI), Cologne, Germany, elke.kalbe@uk-koeln.de
Mrs. Mandy Roheger, Uniklinik Köln, Department of Medical Psychology | Neuropsychology and Gender studies & Center for Neuropsychological Diagnostics and Intervention (CeNDI), Cologne, Germany, mandy.roheger@uk-koeln.de