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1.  An Economic Evaluation of Resistance Training and Aerobic Training versus Balance and Toning Exercises in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63031.
Background
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) represents a critical window to intervene against dementia. Exercise training is a promising intervention strategy, but the efficiency (i.e., relationship of costs and consequences) of such types of training remains unknown. Thus, we estimated the incremental cost-effectiveness of resistance training or aerobic training compared with balance and tone exercises in terms of changes in executive cognitive function among senior women with probable MCI.
Methods
Economic evaluation conducted concurrently with a six-month three arm randomized controlled trial including eighty-six community dwelling women aged 70 to 80 years living in Vancouver, Canada. Participants received twice-weekly resistance training (n = 28), twice weekly aerobic training (n = 30) or twice-weekly balance and tone (control group) classes (n = 28) for 6 months. The primary outcome measure of the Exercise for Cognition and Everyday Living (EXCEL) study assessed executive cognitive function, a test of selective attention and conflict resolution (i.e., Stroop Test). We collected healthcare resource utilization costs over six months.
Results
Based on the bootstrapped estimates from our base case analysis, we found that both the aerobic training and resistance training interventions were less costly than twice weekly balance and tone classes. Compared with the balance and tone group, the resistance-training group had significantly improved performance on the Stroop Test (p = 0.04).
Conclusions
Resistance training and aerobic training result in health care cost saving and are more effective than balance and tone classes after only 6 months of intervention. Resistance training is a promising strategy to alter the trajectory of cognitive decline in seniors with MCI.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00958867.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063031
PMCID: PMC3653911  PMID: 23690976
2.  Change in Body Fat Mass Is Independently Associated with Executive Functions in Older Women: A Secondary Analysis of a 12-Month Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52831.
Objectives
To investigate the independent contribution of change in sub-total body fat and lean mass to cognitive performance, specifically the executive processes of selective attention and conflict resolution, in community-dwelling older women.
Methods
This secondary analysis included 114 women aged 65 to 75 years old. Participants were randomly allocated to once-weekly resistance training, twice-weekly resistance training, or twice-weekly balance and tone training. The primary outcome measure was the executive processes of selective attention and conflict resolution as assessed by the Stroop Test. Sub-total body fat and lean mass were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to determine the independent association of change in both sub-total body fat and sub-total body lean mass with Stroop Test performance at trial completion.
Results
A multiple linear regression model showed reductions in sub-total body fat mass to be independently associated with better performance on the Stroop Test at trial completion after accounting for baseline Stroop performance, age, baseline global cognitive state, baseline number of comorbidities, baseline depression, and experimental group. The total variance explained was 39.5%; change in sub-total body fat mass explained 3.9% of the variance. Change in sub-total body lean mass was not independently associated with Stroop Test performance (P>0.05).
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that reductions in sub-total body fat mass – not sub-total lean mass – is associated with better performance of selective attention and conflict resolution.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052831
PMCID: PMC3538688  PMID: 23308123
3.  Sustained economic benefits of resistance training among community-dwelling senior women 
BACKGROUND
Previously, we demonstrated that 12 months of group based resistance training intervention delivered once or twice weekly provided significantly lower healthcare resource utilization costs and health benefits including improvement in health related quality of life than balance and tone exercises.
OBJECTIVE
We conducted a 12-month follow-up study to determine whether these health and cost benefits of resistance training were sustained 12 months after formal cessation of the intervention.
DESIGN
Cost-utility analysis conducted alongside a randomized controlled trial.
SETTING
Community-dwelling women aged 65 to 75 years living in Vancouver, British Columbia.
PARTICIPANTS
123 of the 155 community-dwelling women aged 65 to 75 years who originally were randomly allocated to once-weekly resistance training (n=54), twice-weekly resistance training (n=52), or to twice-weekly balance and tone exercises (i.e., control group) (n=49) participated in the 12-month follow-up study. Of these, 98 took part in the economic evaluation (twice-weekly balance and tone exercises, n=28, once-weekly resistance training, n=35; twice-weekly resistance training, n=35).
MEASUREMENTS
Our primary outcome measure was incremental cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Healthcare resource utilization was assessed over 21 months (2009 prices); health status was assessed using the EQ-5D to calculate QALYs using a 21 month time horizon.
RESULTS
Once- and twice-weekly resistance training were less costly than balance and tone classes with incremental mean healthcare costs of Canadian dollars (CAD$) -$1857 and -$1077, respectively. The incremental QALYs for once- and twice weekly resistance training were -0.051 and -0.081, respectively, compared with balance and tone exercises.
CONCLUSION
The cost benefits of participating in a 12-month resistance training intervention were sustained for both the once- and twice-weekly resistance training group while the health benefits were not.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03474.x
PMCID: PMC4019577  PMID: 21718265 CAMSID: cams2567
quality adjusted life year; executive functions; cognition; older adults; cost-utility analysis
4.  Changes in executive functions and self-efficacy are independently associated with improved usual gait speed in older women 
BMC Geriatrics  2010;10:25.
Background
Improved usual gait speed predicts substantial reduction in mortality. A better understanding of the modifiable factors that are independently associated with improved gait speed would ensure that intervention strategies are developed based on a valid theoretical framework. Thus, we examined the independent association of change in executive functions and change in falls-related self-efficacy with improved gait speed among community-dwelling senior women.
Methods
A secondary analysis of the 135 senior women aged 65 to 75 years old who completed a 12-month randomized controlled trial of resistance training. Usual gait speed was assessed using a 4-meter walk. Three executive processes were assessed by standard neuropsychological tests: 1) set shifting; 2) working memory; and 3) selective attention and response inhibition. A linear regression model was constructed to determine the independent association of change in executive functions and falls-related self-efficacy with change in gait speed.
Results
Improved selective attention and conflict resolution, and falls-related self-efficacy, were independently associated with improved gait speed after accounting for age, global cognition, baseline gait speed, and change in quadriceps strength. The total variance explained was 24%.
Conclusions
Interventions that target executive functions and falls-related self-efficacy, in addition to physical functions, to improve gait speed may be more efficacious than those that do not.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00426881
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-25
PMCID: PMC2887871  PMID: 20482830
5.  The Effect of Intermittent Antenatal Iron Supplementation on Maternal and Infant Outcomes in Rural Viet Nam: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001470.
Beverley-Anne Biggs and colleagues conduct a community-based cluster randomized trial in rural Viet Nam to compare the effect of antenatal iron-folic acid supplementation taken daily or twice weekly on maternal and infant outcomes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Anemia affects over 500 million women, and in pregnancy is associated with impaired maternal and infant outcomes. Intermittent antenatal iron supplementation is an attractive alternative to daily dosing; however, the impact of this strategy on infant outcomes remains unclear. We compared the effect of intermittent antenatal iron supplementation with daily iron supplementation on maternal and infant outcomes in rural Viet Nam.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomised trial was conducted in Ha Nam province, Viet Nam. 1,258 pregnant women (<16 wk gestation) in 104 communes were assigned to daily iron–folic acid (IFA), twice weekly IFA, or twice weekly multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplementation. Primary outcome was birth weight. Mean birth weight was 3,148 g (standard deviation 416). There was no difference in the birth weights of infants of women receiving twice weekly IFA compared to daily IFA (mean difference [MD] 28 g; 95% CI −22 to 78), or twice weekly MMN compared to daily IFA (MD −36.8 g; 95% CI −82 to 8.2). At 32 wk gestation, maternal ferritin was lower in women receiving twice weekly IFA compared to daily IFA (geometric mean ratio 0.73; 95% CI 0.67 to 0.80), and in women receiving twice weekly MMN compared to daily IFA (geometric mean ratio 0.62; 95% CI 0.57 to 0.68), but there was no difference in hemoglobin levels. Infants of mothers who received twice weekly IFA had higher cognitive scores at 6 mo of age compared to those who received daily IFA (MD 1.89; 95% CI 0.23 to 3.56).
Conclusions
Twice weekly antenatal IFA or MMN did not produce a clinically important difference in birth weight, when compared to daily IFA supplementation. The significant improvement in infant cognitive outcomes at 6 mo of age following twice weekly antenatal IFA requires further exploration, and provides additional support for the use of intermittent, rather than daily, antenatal IFA in populations with low rates of iron deficiency.
Trial registration
Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry 12610000944033
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Anemia is a common condition in which the blood does not supply the body with enough oxygen because of a low number of red blood cells or low levels of hemoglobin—the iron-containing pigment that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia worldwide and, according to the World Health Organization, affects over 2 billion people: half of all pregnant women and 40% of preschool children in low- and middle-income countries are thought to be anemic. Anemia contributes to 20% of all maternal deaths and is also linked to increased maternal morbidity, higher rates of preterm birth and low birth weight, and reduced infant survival, with potential long-term consequences for child growth and development. Identifying and treating iron deficiency anemia is therefore a global health priority.
Why Was This Study Done?
Daily iron–folic acid supplementation given from early in pregnancy is the standard recommended approach to prevent and treat anemia in pregnant women, but recently the World Health Organization recommended intermittent use because of poor compliance with daily regimes (because of side effects) and poor bowel absorption. However, the evidence from many of the studies used to support this recommendation was of poor quality, and so it remains unclear whether intermittent supplementation is as, or more, effective than daily supplementation, especially in lower income settings where antenatal testing for anemia is not readily available. So in this study, the researchers conducted a community-based cluster randomized trial (where groups of people are randomized, rather than individuals) in rural Viet Nam to compare the effect of antenatal iron–folic acid supplementation taken twice weekly (either alone, or in combination with other micronutrients) with daily iron–folic acid supplementation, on maternal and infant outcomes during the first six months of life.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomized 104 communes in Ha Nam Province, Viet Nam, and enrolled 1,258 women who were less than 16 weeks pregnant into the study between September and November 2010. Although the researchers intended to register the trial before the study started, registration was delayed by a month because the supplements arrived earlier than the researchers anticipated, and they thought it best to start recruiting at that time to avoid the Vietnamese New Year, when women might be travelling. Each woman was interviewed and had blood taken for hemoglobin and iron indices (ferritin) before receiving daily iron–folic acid supplementation (426 women), twice weekly iron–folic acid supplementation (425 women), or twice weekly iron–folic acid supplementation plus micronutrients (407 women). The women had follow-up assessments at 32 weeks gestation, delivery, and at six months postpartum: their infants were assessed at birth and at six months old.
The researchers found that at enrollment, the women's average hemoglobin concentration was 123 g/l, and 12.6% of the women were anemic. At 32 weeks gestation, 10.8% of the women were anemic, but there was no difference in hemoglobin levels between the three supplement groups. The average ferritin level was 75.6 µg/l at enrollment, with 2.2% of women iron deficient. Ferritin levels decreased from enrollment to 32 weeks gestation in all supplement groups but were lower in women who took twice weekly supplements. The researchers also found that birth weight (the primary outcome) was similar in all supplement groups, and there were also no differences in gestational age or in the risk of prematurity, stillbirth, or early neonatal death. At six months, there were also no differences in the levels of infant hemoglobin, prevalence of anemia, or growth rates. However, infants born to mothers in the twice weekly iron–folic acid group had improved cognitive development compared to infants born to mothers in the daily supplement group. Finally, the researchers found that adherence rates were significantly higher in the twice weekly iron–folic acid supplement group compared to the once daily regime.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that in an area of Southeast Asia with low anemia prevalence, once daily antenatal supplementation with iron–folic acid did not provide any benefits in birth weight or improved infant growth over twice weekly supplementation. Furthermore, twice weekly supplementation with iron–folic acid was associated with improved maternal adherence rates and also improved cognitive development in infants aged six months—a finding that requires further study and provides added support for the use of intermittent iron–folic acid supplementation over daily supplementation.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001470.
The World Health Organization website has comprehensive information on anemia, including a report of global estimates and the guideline Intermittent Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation in Non-Anaemic Pregnant Women
Wikipedia provides information on iron supplementation (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001470
PMCID: PMC3708703  PMID: 23853552
6.  Study protocol: a randomised controlled trial of the effects of a multi-modal exercise program on cognition and physical functioning in older women 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:60.
Background
Intervention studies testing the efficacy of cardiorespiratory exercise have shown some promise in terms of improving cognitive function in later life. Recent developments suggest that a multi-modal exercise intervention that includes motor as well as physical training and requires sustained attention and concentration, may better elicit the actual potency of exercise to enhance cognitive performance. This study will test the effect of a multi-modal exercise program, for older women, on cognitive and physical functioning.
Methods/design
This randomised controlled trial involves community dwelling women, without cognitive impairment, aged 65–75 years. Participants are randomised to exercise intervention or non-exercise control groups, for 16 weeks. The intervention consists of twice weekly, 60 minute, exercise classes incorporating aerobic, strength, balance, flexibility, co-ordination and agility training. Primary outcomes are measures of cognitive function and secondary outcomes include physical functioning and a neurocognitive biomarker (brain derived neurotrophic factor). Measures are taken at baseline and 16 weeks later and qualitative data related to the experience and acceptability of the program are collected from a sub-sample of the intervention group.
Discussion
If this randomised controlled trial demonstrates that multimodal exercise (that includes motor fitness training) can improve cognitive performance in later life, the benefits will be two-fold. First, an inexpensive, effective strategy will have been developed that could ameliorate the increased prevalence of age-related cognitive impairment predicted to accompany population ageing. Second, more robust evidence will have been provided about the mechanisms that link exercise to cognitive improvement allowing future research to be better focused and potentially more productive.
Trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registration Number: ANZCTR12612000451808
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-60
PMCID: PMC3503610  PMID: 23009189
Exercise; Cognition; Aged; Multi-modal exercise; Brain derived neurotrophic factor
7.  Functional neural correlates of reduced physiological falls risk 
Background
It is currently unclear whether the function of brain regions associated with executive cognitive processing are independently associated with reduced physiological falls risk. If these are related, it would suggest that the development of interventions targeted at improving executive neurocognitive function would be an effective new approach for reducing physiological falls risk in seniors.
Methods
We performed a secondary analysis of 73 community-dwelling senior women aged 65 to 75 years old who participated in a 12-month randomized controlled trial of resistance training. Functional MRI data were acquired while participants performed a modified Eriksen Flanker Task - a task of selective attention and conflict resolution. Brain volumes were obtained using MRI. Falls risk was assessed using the Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA).
Results
After accounting for baseline age, experimental group, baseline PPA score, and total baseline white matter brain volume, baseline activation in the left frontal orbital cortex extending towards the insula was negatively associated with reduced physiological falls risk over the 12-month period. In contrast, baseline activation in the paracingulate gyrus extending towards the anterior cingulate gyrus was positively associated with reduced physiological falls risk.
Conclusions
Baseline activation levels of brain regions underlying response inhibition and selective attention were independently associated with reduced physiological falls risk. This suggests that falls prevention strategies may be facilitated by incorporating intervention components - such as aerobic exercise - that are specifically designed to induce neurocognitive plasticity.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00426881
doi:10.1186/1744-9081-7-37
PMCID: PMC3178476  PMID: 21846395
8.  Enhancing cognitive functioning in the elderly: multicomponent vs resistance training 
Purpose
The primary purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two different exercise training programs on executive cognitive functions and functional mobility in older adults. A secondary purpose was to explore the potential mediators of training effects on executive function and functional mobility with particular reference to physical fitness gains.
Methods
A sample of 42 healthy community dwelling adults aged 65 to 75 years participated twice weekly for 3 months in either: (1) multicomponent training, prioritizing neuromuscular coordination, balance, agility, and cognitive executive control; or (2) progressive resistance training for strength conditioning. Participants were tested at baseline (T1), following a 4-week control period (T2), and finally at postintervention (T3) for executive function (inhibition and cognitive flexibility) and functional mobility (maximal walking speed with and without additional task requirements). Cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness were also assessed as potential mediators.
Results
Indices of inhibition, the functions involved in the deliberate withholding of prepotent or automatic responses, and measures of functional mobility improved after the intervention, independent of training type. Mediation analysis suggested that different mechanisms underlie the effects of multicomponent and progressive resistance training. While multicomponent training seemed to directly affect inhibitory capacity, resistance training seemed to affect it indirectly through gains in muscular strength. Physical fitness and executive function variables did not mediate functional mobility changes.
Conclusion
These results confirm that physical training benefits executive function and suggest that different training types might lead to such benefits through different pathways. Both types of training also promoted functional mobility in older adulthood; however, neither inhibitory capacity, nor muscular strength gains seemed to explain functional mobility outcomes.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S36514
PMCID: PMC3546758  PMID: 23341738
executive function; functional mobility; physical training; physical fitness; aging
9.  The gait and balance of patients with diabetes can be improved: a randomised controlled trial 
Diabetologia  2009;53(3):458-466.
Aims/hypothesis
Gait characteristics and balance are altered in diabetic patients. Little is known about possible treatment strategies. This study evaluates the effect of a specific training programme on gait and balance of diabetic patients.
Methods
This was a randomised controlled trial (n = 71) with an intervention (n = 35) and control group (n = 36). The intervention consisted of physiotherapeutic group training including gait and balance exercises with function-orientated strengthening (twice weekly over 12 weeks). Controls received no treatment. Individuals were allocated to the groups in a central office. Gait, balance, fear of falls, muscle strength and joint mobility were measured at baseline, after intervention and at 6-month follow-up.
Results
The trial is closed to recruitment and follow-up. After training, the intervention group increased habitual walking speed by 0.149 m/s (p < 0.001) compared with the control group. Patients in the intervention group also significantly improved their balance (time to walk over a beam, balance index recorded on Biodex balance system), their performance-oriented mobility, their degree of concern about falling, their hip and ankle plantar flexor strength, and their hip flexion mobility compared with the control group. After 6 months, all these variables remained significant except for the Biodex sway index and ankle plantar flexor strength. Two patients developed pain in their Achilles tendon: the progression for two related exercises was slowed down.
Conclusions/interpretation
Specific training can improve gait speed, balance, muscle strength and joint mobility in diabetic patients. Further studies are needed to explore the influence of these improvements on the number of reported falls, patients’ physical activity levels and quality of life.
Trial registration:
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00637546
Funding:
This work was supported by the Swiss National Foundation (SNF): PBSKP-123446/1/
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-009-1592-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
doi:10.1007/s00125-009-1592-4
PMCID: PMC2815802  PMID: 19921145
Balance; Clinical diabetes; Diabetic foot; Exercise; Fear; Gait disorders; Joint mobility; Neuropathy; Muscle strength; Walking
10.  Computerized Cognitive Training in Cognitively Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Effect Modifiers 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001756.
Michael Valenzuela and colleagues systematically review and meta-analyze the evidence that computerized cognitive training improves cognitive skills in older adults with normal cognition.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
New effective interventions to attenuate age-related cognitive decline are a global priority. Computerized cognitive training (CCT) is believed to be safe and can be inexpensive, but neither its efficacy in enhancing cognitive performance in healthy older adults nor the impact of design factors on such efficacy has been systematically analyzed. Our aim therefore was to quantitatively assess whether CCT programs can enhance cognition in healthy older adults, discriminate responsive from nonresponsive cognitive domains, and identify the most salient design factors.
Methods and Findings
We systematically searched Medline, Embase, and PsycINFO for relevant studies from the databases' inception to 9 July 2014. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of ≥4 h of CCT on performance in neuropsychological tests in older adults without dementia or other cognitive impairment. Fifty-two studies encompassing 4,885 participants were eligible. Intervention designs varied considerably, but after removal of one outlier, heterogeneity across studies was small (I2 = 29.92%). There was no systematic evidence of publication bias. The overall effect size (Hedges' g, random effects model) for CCT versus control was small and statistically significant, g = 0.22 (95% CI 0.15 to 0.29). Small to moderate effect sizes were found for nonverbal memory, g = 0.24 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.38); verbal memory, g = 0.08 (95% CI 0.01 to 0.15); working memory (WM), g = 0.22 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.35); processing speed, g = 0.31 (95% CI 0.11 to 0.50); and visuospatial skills, g = 0.30 (95% CI 0.07 to 0.54). No significant effects were found for executive functions and attention. Moderator analyses revealed that home-based administration was ineffective compared to group-based training, and that more than three training sessions per week was ineffective versus three or fewer. There was no evidence for the effectiveness of WM training, and only weak evidence for sessions less than 30 min. These results are limited to healthy older adults, and do not address the durability of training effects.
Conclusions
CCT is modestly effective at improving cognitive performance in healthy older adults, but efficacy varies across cognitive domains and is largely determined by design choices. Unsupervised at-home training and training more than three times per week are specifically ineffective. Further research is required to enhance efficacy of the intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
As we get older, we notice many bodily changes. Our hair goes grey, we develop new aches and pains, and getting out of bed in the morning takes longer than it did when we were young. Our brain may also show signs of aging. It may take us longer to learn new information, we may lose our keys more frequently, and we may forget people's names. Cognitive decline—developing worsened thinking, language, memory, understanding, and judgment—can be a normal part of aging, but it can also be an early sign of dementia, a group of brain disorders characterized by a severe, irreversible decline in cognitive functions. We know that age-related physical decline can be attenuated by keeping physically active; similarly, engaging in activities that stimulate the brain throughout life is thought to enhance cognition in later life and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Thus, having an active social life and doing challenging activities that stimulate both the brain and the body may help to stave off cognitive decline.
Why Was This Study Done?
“Brain training” may be another way of keeping mentally fit. The sale of computerized cognitive training (CCT) packages, which provide standardized, cognitively challenging tasks designed to “exercise” various cognitive functions, is a lucrative and expanding business. But does CCT work? Given the rising global incidence of dementia, effective interventions that attenuate age-related cognitive decline are urgently needed. However, the impact of CCT on cognitive performance in older adults is unclear, and little is known about what makes a good CCT package. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers assess whether CCT programs improve cognitive test performance in cognitively healthy older adults and identify the aspects of cognition (cognitive domains) that are responsive to CCT, and the CCT design features that are most important in improving cognitive performance. A systematic review uses pre-defined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 51 trials that investigated the effects of more than four hours of CCT on nearly 5,000 cognitively healthy older adults by measuring several cognitive functions before and after CCT. Meta-analysis of these studies indicated that the overall effect size for CCT (compared to control individuals who did not participate in CCT) was small but statistically significant. An effect size quantifies the difference between two groups; a statistically significant result is a result that is unlikely to have occurred by chance. So, the meta-analysis suggests that CCT slightly increased overall cognitive function. Notably, CCT also had small to moderate significant effects on individual cognitive functions. For example, some CCT slightly improved nonverbal memory (the ability to remember visual images) and working memory (the ability to remember recent events; short-term memory). However, CCT had no significant effect on executive functions (cognitive processes involved in planning and judgment) or attention (selective concentration on one aspect of the environment). The design of CCT used in the different studies varied considerably, and “moderator” analyses revealed that home-based CCT was not effective, whereas center-based CCT was effective, and that training sessions undertaken more than three times a week were not effective. There was also some weak evidence suggesting that CCT sessions lasting less than 30 minutes may be ineffective. Finally, there was no evidence for the effectiveness of working memory training by itself (for example, programs that ask individuals to recall series of letters).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that CCT produces small improvements in cognitive performance in cognitively healthy older adults but that the efficacy of CCT varies across cognitive domains and is largely determined by design aspects of CCT. The most important result was that “do-it-yourself” CCT at home did not produce improvements. Rather, the small improvements seen were in individuals supervised by a trainer in a center and undergoing sessions 1–3 times a week. Because only cognitively healthy older adults were enrolled in the studies considered in this systematic review and meta-analysis, these findings do not necessarily apply to cognitively impaired individuals. Moreover, because all the included studies measured cognitive function immediately after CCT, these findings provide no information about the durability of the effects of CCT or about how the effects of CCT on cognitive function translate into real-life outcomes for individuals such as independence and the long-term risk of dementia. The researchers call, therefore, for additional research into CCT, an intervention that might help to attenuate age-related cognitive decline and improve the quality of life for older individuals.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001756.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Druin Burch
The US National Institute on Aging provides information for patients and carers about age-related forgetfulness, about memory and cognitive health, and about dementia (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides information about dementia and about memory loss
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about memory, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001756
PMCID: PMC4236015  PMID: 25405755
11.  A Randomized Trial to Measure the Impact of a Community-Based Cognitive Training Intervention on Balance and Gait in Cognitively Intact Black Older Adults 
Introduction
Fall prevention is important for maintaining mobility and independence into old age. Approaches for reducing falls include exercise, tai chi, and home modifications; however, causes of falling are multifactorial and include not just physical but cognitive factors. Cognitive decline occurs with age, but older adults with the greatest declines in executive function experience more falls. The purpose of this study was twofold: to demonstrate the feasibility of a community-based cognitive training program for cognitively intact Black older adults and to analyze its impact on gait and balance in this population.
Method
This pilot study used a pretest/posttest randomized trial design with assignment to an intervention or control group. Participants assigned to the intervention completed a computer-based cognitive training class that met 2 days a week for 60 min over 10 weeks. Classes were held at senior/community centers. Primary outcomes included balance as measured by the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), 10-meter gait speed, and 10-meter gait speed under visuospatial dual-task condition. All measures were assessed at baseline and immediately post-intervention.
Results
Participants were community-dwelling Black adults with a mean age of 72.5 and history of falls (N = 45). Compared to controls, intervention participants experienced statistically significant improvements in BBS and gait speed. Mean performance on distracted gait speed also improved more for intervention participants compared to controls.
Conclusion
Findings from this pilot randomized trial demonstrate the feasibility of a community-based cognitive training intervention. They provide initial evidence that cognitive training may be an efficacious approach toward improving balance and gait in older adults known to have a history of falls.
doi:10.1177/1090198114537068
PMCID: PMC4326003  PMID: 25274713
aging and health; community health; computer-mediated health promotion; health behavior new media and social media interventions
12.  Protocol for a randomized comparison of integrated versus consecutive dual task practice in Parkinson’s disease: the DUALITY trial 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:61.
Background
Multiple tasking is an integral part of daily mobility. Patients with Parkinson’s disease have dual tasking difficulties due to their combined motor and cognitive deficits. Two contrasting physiotherapy interventions have been proposed to alleviate dual tasking difficulties: either to discourage simultaneous execution of dual tasks (consecutive training); or to practice their concurrent use (integrated training). It is currently unclear which of these training methods should be adopted to achieve safe and consolidated dual task performance in daily life. Therefore, the proposed randomized controlled trial will compare the effects of integrated versus consecutive training of dual tasking (tested by combining walking with cognitive exercises).
Methods and design
Hundred and twenty patients with Parkinson’s disease will be recruited to participate in this multi-centered, single blind, randomized controlled trial. Patients in Hoehn & Yahr stage II-III, with or without freezing of gait, and who report dual task difficulties will be included. All patients will undergo a six-week control period without intervention after which they will be randomized to integrated or consecutive task practice. Training will consist of standardized walking and cognitive exercises delivered at home four times a week during six weeks. Treatment is guided by a physiotherapist twice a week and consists of two sessions of self-practice using an MP3 player. Blinded testers will assess patients before and after the control period, after the intervention period and after a 12-week follow-up period. The primary outcome measure is dual task gait velocity, i.e. walking combined with a novel untrained cognitive task to evaluate the consolidation of learning. Secondary outcomes include several single and dual task gait and cognitive measures, functional outcomes and a quality of life scale. Falling will be recorded as a possible adverse event using a weekly phone call for the entire study period.
Discussion
This randomized study will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of integrated versus consecutive task training in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The study will also highlight whether dual task gait training leads to robust motor learning effects, and whether these can be retained and carried-over to untrained dual tasks and functional mobility.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01375413.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-14-61
PMCID: PMC3974198  PMID: 24674594
Parkinson disease; Rehabilitation; Physical therapy; Neurologic gait disorder; Cognition; Dual task
13.  A best practice fall prevention exercise program to improve balance, strength / power, and psychosocial health in older adults: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:105.
Background
With increasing age neuromuscular deficits (e.g., sarcopenia) may result in impaired physical performance and an increased risk for falls. Prominent intrinsic fall-risk factors are age-related decreases in balance and strength / power performance as well as cognitive decline. Additional studies are needed to develop specifically tailored exercise programs for older adults that can easily be implemented into clinical practice. Thus, the objective of the present trial is to assess the effects of a fall prevention program that was developed by an interdisciplinary expert panel on measures of balance, strength / power, body composition, cognition, psychosocial well-being, and falls self-efficacy in healthy older adults. Additionally, the time-related effects of detraining are tested.
Methods/Design
Healthy old people (n = 54) between the age of 65 to 80 years will participate in this trial. The testing protocol comprises tests for the assessment of static / dynamic steady-state balance (i.e., Sharpened Romberg Test, instrumented gait analysis), proactive balance (i.e., Functional Reach Test; Timed Up and Go Test), reactive balance (i.e., perturbation test during bipedal stance; Push and Release Test), strength (i.e., hand grip strength test; Chair Stand Test), and power (i.e., Stair Climb Power Test; countermovement jump). Further, body composition will be analysed using a bioelectrical impedance analysis system. In addition, questionnaires for the assessment of psychosocial (i.e., World Health Organisation Quality of Life Assessment-Bref), cognitive (i.e., Mini Mental State Examination), and fall risk determinants (i.e., Fall Efficacy Scale – International) will be included in the study protocol. Participants will be randomized into two intervention groups or the control / waiting group. After baseline measures, participants in the intervention groups will conduct a 12-week balance and strength / power exercise intervention 3 times per week, with each training session lasting 30 min. (actual training time). One intervention group will complete an extensive supervised training program, while the other intervention group will complete a short version ('3 times 3’) that is home-based and controlled by weekly phone calls. Post-tests will be conducted right after the intervention period. Additionally, detraining effects will be measured 12 weeks after program cessation. The control group / waiting group will not participate in any specific intervention during the experimental period, but will receive the extensive supervised program after the experimental period.
Discussion
It is expected that particularly the supervised combination of balance and strength / power training will improve performance in variables of balance, strength / power, body composition, cognitive function, psychosocial well-being, and falls self-efficacy of older adults. In addition, information regarding fall risk assessment, dose–response-relations, detraining effects, and supervision of training will be provided. Further, training-induced health-relevant changes, such as improved performance in activities of daily living, cognitive function, and quality of life, as well as a reduced risk for falls may help to lower costs in the health care system. Finally, practitioners, therapists, and instructors will be provided with a scientifically evaluated feasible, safe, and easy-to-administer exercise program for fall prevention.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01906034
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-105
PMCID: PMC3852637  PMID: 24106864
Seniors; Fall risk assessment; Resistance training; Postural stability
14.  Tai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson's Disease 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(6):511-519.
Background
Patients with Parkinson's disease have substantially impaired balance, leading to diminished functional ability and an increased risk of falling. Although exercise is routinely encouraged by health care providers, few programs have been proven effective.
Methods
We conducted a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether a tailored tai chi program could improve postural control in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease. We randomly assigned 195 patients with stage 1 to 4 disease on the Hoehn and Yahr staging scale (which ranges from 1 to 5, with higher stages indicating more severe disease) to one of three groups: tai chi, resistance training, or stretching. The patients participated in 60-minute exercise sessions twice weekly for 24 weeks. The primary outcomes were changes from baseline in the limits-of-stability test (maximum excursion and directional control; range, 0 to 100%). Secondary outcomes included measures of gait and strength, scores on functional-reach and timed up-and-go tests, motor scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, and number of falls.
Results
The tai chi group performed consistently better than the resistance-training and stretching groups in maximum excursion (between-group difference in the change from baseline, 5.55 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12 to 9.97; and 11.98 percentage points; 95% CI, 7.21 to 16.74, respectively) and in directional control (10.45 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.89 to 17.00; and 11.38 percentage points; 95% CI, 5.50 to 17.27, respectively). The tai chi group also performed better than the stretching group in all secondary outcomes and outperformed the resistance-training group in stride length and functional reach. Tai chi lowered the incidence of falls as compared with stretching but not as compared with resistance training. The effects of tai chi training were maintained at 3 months after the intervention. No serious adverse events were observed.
Conclusions
Tai chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson's disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00611481.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1107911
PMCID: PMC3285459  PMID: 22316445
15.  Balance Confidence Improves with Resistance or Agility training: Increase is not Correlated with Objective Changes in Fall Risk and Physical Abilities 
Gerontology  2004;50(6):373-382.
Background
While the fear of falling is a common psychological consequence of falling, older adults who have not fallen also frequently report this fear. Fear of falling can lead to activity restriction that is self-imposed rather than due to actual physical impairments. Evidence suggests that exercise can significantly improve balance confidence, as measured by falls-related self-efficacy scales. However, there are no prospective reports that correlate change in balance confidence with changes in fall risk and physical abilities as induced by participating in a group-based exercise program.
Objective
The primary purpose of this prospective study was to examine the relationship between the change in balance confidence and the changes in fall risk and physical abilities in older women with confirmed low bone mass after 13 weeks of exercise participation. The secondary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the change in balance confidence and the change in physical activity level.
Methods
The sample comprised 98 women aged 75 to 85 years old women with low bone mass. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Resistance Training (n=32), Agility Training (n=34), and Stretching (sham) exercises (n=32). The 50-minute exercise classes for each study arm were held twice weekly at a local YMCA community centre.
Results
Both resistance training and agility training significantly improved balance confidence by 6% from baseline after 13 weeks. However, the change in balance confidence was only weakly correlated with improved general physical function and not significantly correlated with the changes in fall risk score, postural stability, gait speed, or physical activity level. As well, we observed balance confidence enhancement in the presence of increased fall risk or deterioration in physical abilities.
Conclusions
Two different types of exercise training improved balance confidence in older women with low bone mass. This change in balance confidence was significantly correlated with change in general physical function. Because of the observation of discordance between balance confidence change and changes in fall risk and physical abilities, those who design group-based exercise programs for community-dwelling older adults may wish to consider including an education component on factors that influence fear of falling. Objective changes in fall risk factors cannot be assumed to mirror change of fear of falling and physical abilities in older adults in the short-term.
doi:10.1159/000080175
PMCID: PMC3383061  PMID: 15477698 CAMSID: cams2199
Balance confidence; fall risk; exercise; older women; low bone mass
16.  Beneficial effects of short-term combination exercise training on diverse cognitive functions in healthy older people: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:200.
Background
Results of previous studies have shown that exercise training can improve cognitive functions in healthy older people. Some studies have demonstrated that long-term combination exercise training can facilitate memory function improvement better than either aerobic or strength exercise training alone. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether short-term combination exercise training can improve diverse cognitive functions in healthy older people or not. We investigate the effects of four weeks of short-term combination exercise training on various cognitive functions (executive functions, episodic memory, short-term memory, working memory, attention, reading ability, and processing speed) of healthy older people.
Methods
A single-blinded intervention with two parallel groups (combination exercise training; waiting list control) is used. Testers are blind to the study hypothesis and the participants’ group membership. Through an advertisement in a local newspaper, 64 healthy older adults are recruited and then assigned randomly to a combination exercise training group or a waiting list control group. Participants in the combination exercise training group must participate in the short-term combination exercise training (aerobic and strength exercise training) three days per week during the four weeks (12 workouts in total). The waiting list group does not participate in the combination exercise training. The primary outcome measure is the Stroop test score: a measure of executive function. Secondary outcome measures are assessments including the Verbal Fluency Task, Logical Memory, First and Second Names, Digit Span Forward, Digit span backward, Japanese Reading Test, Digit Cancellation Task, Digit Symbol Coding, and Symbol Search. We assess these outcome measures before and after the intervention.
Discussion
This report is the first of a study that investigates the beneficial effects of short-term combination exercise training on diverse cognitive functions of older people. Our study is expected to provide sufficient evidence of short-term combination exercise’s effectiveness.
Trial registration
This trial was registered in The University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (Number UMIN000007828).
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-200
PMCID: PMC3495024  PMID: 23107038
17.  Can cognitive enhancers reduce the risk of falls in older people with Mild Cognitive Impairment? A protocol for a randomised controlled double blind trial 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:42.
Background
Older adults with cognitive problems have a higher risk of falls, at least twice that of cognitively normal older adults. The consequences of falls in this population are very serious: fallers with cognitive problems suffer more injuries due to falls and are approximately five times more likely to be admitted to institutional care. Although the mechanisms of increased fall risk in cognitively impaired people are not completely understood, it is known that impaired cognitive abilities can reduce attentional resource allocation while walking. Since cognitive enhancers, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, improve attention and executive function, we hypothesise that cognitive enhancers may reduce fall risk in elderly people in the early stages of cognitive decline by improving their gait and balance performance due to an enhancement in attention and executive function.
Method/Design
Double blinded randomized controlled trial with 6 months follow-up in 140 older individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Participants will be randomized to the intervention group, receiving donepezil, and to the control group, receiving placebo. A block randomization by four and stratification based on fall history will be performed. Primary outcomes are improvements in gait velocity and reduction in gait variability. Secondary outcomes are changes in the balance confidence, balance sway, attention, executive function, and number of falls.
Discussion
By characterizing and understanding the effects of cognitive enhancers on fall risk in older adults with cognitive impairments, we will be able to pave the way for a new approach to fall prevention in this population. This RCT study will provide, for the first time, information regarding the effect of a medication designed to augment cognitive functioning have on the risk of falls in older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment. We expect a significant reduction in the risk of falls in this vulnerable population as a function of the reduced gait variability achieved by treatment with cognitive enhancers. This study may contribute to a new approach to prevent and treat fall risk in seniors in early stages of dementia.
Trial Registration
The protocol for this study is registered with the Clinical Trials Registry, identifier number: NCT00934531 http://www.clinicaltrials.gov
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-42
PMCID: PMC3224736  PMID: 19674471
18.  Physical Activity Improves Verbal and Spatial Memory in Older Adults with Probable Mild Cognitive Impairment: A 6-Month Randomized Controlled Trial 
Journal of Aging Research  2013;2013:861893.
We report secondary findings from a randomized controlled trial on the effects of exercise on memory in older adults with probable MCI. We randomized 86 women aged 70–80 years with subjective memory complaints into one of three groups: resistance training, aerobic training, or balance and tone (control). All participants exercised twice per week for six months. We measured verbal memory and learning using the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and spatial memory using a computerized test, before and after trial completion. We found that the aerobic training group remembered significantly more items in the loss after interference condition of the RAVLT compared with the control group after six months of training. In addition, both experimental groups showed improved spatial memory performance in the most difficult condition where they were required to memorize the spatial location of three items, compared with the control group. Lastly, we found a significant correlation between spatial memory performance and overall physical capacity after intervention in the aerobic training group. Taken together, our results provide support for the prevailing notion that exercise can positively impact cognitive functioning and may represent an effective strategy to improve memory in those who have begun to experience cognitive decline.
doi:10.1155/2013/861893
PMCID: PMC3595715  PMID: 23509628
19.  A cognitive-motor intervention using a dance video game to enhance foot placement accuracy and gait under dual task conditions in older adults: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:74.
Background
Computer-based interventions have demonstrated consistent positive effects on various physical abilities in older adults. This study aims to compare two training groups that achieve similar amounts of strength and balance exercise where one group receives an intervention that includes additional dance video gaming. The aim is to investigate the different effects of the training programs on physical and psychological parameters in older adults.
Methods
Thirty-one participants (mean age ± SD: 86.2 ± 4.6 years), residents of two Swiss hostels for the aged, were randomly assigned to either the dance group (n = 15) or the control group (n = 16). The dance group absolved a twelve-week cognitive-motor exercise program twice weekly that comprised progressive strength and balance training supplemented with additional dance video gaming. The control group performed only the strength and balance exercises during this period. Outcome measures were foot placement accuracy, gait performance under single and dual task conditions, and falls efficacy.
Results
After the intervention between-group comparison revealed significant differences for gait velocity (U = 26, P = .041, r = .45) and for single support time (U = 24, P = .029, r = .48) during the fast walking dual task condition in favor of the dance group. No significant between-group differences were observed either in the foot placement accuracy test or in falls efficacy.
Conclusions
There was a significant interaction in favor of the dance video game group for improvements in step time. Significant improved fast walking performance under dual task conditions (velocity, double support time, step length) was observed for the dance video game group only. These findings suggest that in older adults a cognitive-motor intervention may result in more improved gait under dual task conditions in comparison to a traditional strength and balance exercise program.
Trial registration
This trial has been registered under ISRCTN05350123 ( http://www.controlled-trials.com)
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-74
PMCID: PMC3538689  PMID: 23241332
Dual task; Dance video game; Gait; Older adults; Cognitive-motor intervention
20.  Training dual-task walking in community-dwelling adults within 1 year of stroke: a protocol for a single-blind randomized controlled trial 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:129.
Background
Community ambulation is a highly complex skill requiring the ability to adapt to increased environmental complexity and perform multiple tasks simultaneously. After stroke, individuals demonstrate a diminished ability to perform dual-tasks. Current evidence suggests that conventional rehabilitation does not adequately address gait-related dual-task impairments after stroke, which may be contributing to low levels of participation and physical inactivity in community-dwelling stroke survivors. The objective of this study is to investigate the efficacy of dual-task gait training in community-dwelling adults within 1 year of stroke. Specifically, we will compare the effects of dual-task gait training and single-task gait training on cognitive-motor interference during walking at preferred speed and at fastest comfortable speed (Aim 1), locomotor control during obstacle negotiation (Aim 2), and spontaneous physical activity (Aim 3).
Methods/Design
This single-blind randomized controlled trial will involve 44 individuals within 12 months of stroke. Following baseline evaluation, participants will be randomly allocated to single- or dual-task gait training. Both groups will receive 12, 30-minute sessions provided one-on-one over 4–6 weeks in an outpatient therapy setting. Single-task gait training involves practice of gait activities incorporating motor relearning principles. Dual-task gait training involves an identical gait training protocol; the critical difference being that the dual-task gait training group will practice the gait activities while simultaneously performing a cognitive task for 75% of the repetitions. Blinded assessors will measure outcomes at baseline, post-intervention, and 6 months after completion of the intervention. The primary outcome measure will be dual-task effects on gait speed and cognition during unobstructed walking. Secondary outcomes include spatiotemporal and kinetic gait parameters during unobstructed single- and dual-task walking at preferred and fastest comfortable walking speeds, gait parameters during high and low obstacle crossing, spontaneous physical activity, executive function, lower extremity motor function, Timed Up and Go, balance self-efficacy, number of falls, and stroke-related disability. Hypotheses for each aim will be tested using an intention-to-treat analysis with repeated measures ANOVA design.
Discussion
This trial will provide evidence to help clinicians make decisions about the types of activities to include in rehabilitation to improve dual-task walking after stroke.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01568957
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-129
PMCID: PMC3517392  PMID: 23113928
Stroke; Gait; Dual-task; Attention; Cognition; Rehabilitation; Obstacle avoidance; Participation; Physical therapy
21.  Protocol for a randomised controlled trial to improve cognitive functioning in older adults: the Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000218.
Objectives
Gradual age-related cognitive deteriorations are common and are hypothesised to be partially attributable to declines in information-processing speed. The Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study will evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of a computerised visual processing speed training programme (Road Tour, Posit Science Corporation, San Francisco, California).
Methods and analysis
Using a 3:3:4:4 ratio within two age strata (50–64 vs ≥65 years old), 681 men and women attending family care clinics were randomised to four treatment groups: 10 h of on-site Road Tour training, 10 h of on-site Road Tour training with 4 h of booster training at 11 months postrandomisation, 10 h of on-site attention control using computerised crossword puzzles (Boatload of Crosswords, Boatload Puzzles, LLC, Yorktown Heights, New York) and 10 h of at-home Road Tour training using the participant's personal computer. The primary outcome, visual processing speed, was assessed at randomisation and post-training (6–8 weeks postrandomisation), and is being reassessed at 1-year postrandomisation using the Useful Field of View test. Five secondary outcomes (Symbol Digit Modalities Test, Trail Making Tests A and B, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, Digit Vigilance Test, and the Stroop Colour and Word Test) were assessed at randomisation and will be reassessed at 1-year postrandomisation. Seven hypotheses will be tested using intent-to-treat analyses involving multiple linear, logistic, Poisson and negative binomial regression.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethics approval was provided by the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB-03 protocol 200908789). All participants completed signed informed consent prior to enrolment. Road Tour is commercially available from Posit Science Corporation, which provided it to Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study at no cost. All participants will receive a free copy of Road Tour for unlimited perpetual use at study completion.
Clinical Trial Registration Number
NCT01165463.
Article summary
Article focus
Given that age-related declines in cognitive functioning are part of the normal ageing process, there is a pressing need for efficient and effective training interventions that improve cognitive functioning in older adults.
This protocol paper outlines the design of a study that overcomes several important limitations of a prior, large, multisite randomised controlled trial (RCT) that used memory, reasoning and speed of processing interventions, but found that only the latter effectively translated to improved health outcomes.
This RCT evaluates the efficacy and effectiveness of a second-generation computerised visual speed-of-processing intervention using three modes of delivery (on-site without booster training, on-site with booster training and at-home use) versus an attention control (on-site computerised crossword puzzles without booster training) in improving cognitive processing speed and health outcomes.
Key messages
This is an RCT protocol.
Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study is the first RCT to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of a commercially available computerised visual speed of processing intervention known as Road Tour.
If this intervention is successful, the product vendor pledges to make the computerised intervention software available to governments for widespread distribution and use at a fraction of the current commercial cost.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This study uses six well-established, objective neuropsychological assessments of cognitive processing speed, as well as three highly reliable and valid self-reported measures of health outcomes in a large sample of men and women 50 years old and older.
Although the sample is large, it was drawn from just one large primary care centre in which minorities are under-represented and the key assessments are only conducted at randomisation, after initial training (6-8 weeks postrandomisation) and at 1-year postrandomisation, thereby reducing the opportunity to demonstrate the long-term effects of the intervention.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000218
PMCID: PMC3191599  PMID: 22021885
22.  Chronic stroke patients show early and robust improvements in muscle and functional performance in response to eccentric-overload flywheel resistance training: a pilot study 
Background
Resistance exercise comprising eccentric (ECC) muscle actions enhances muscle strength and function to aid stroke patients in conducting daily tasks. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of a novel ECC-overload flywheel resistance exercise paradigm to induce muscle and functional performance adaptations in chronic stroke patients.
Methods
Twelve patients (~8 years after stroke onset) performed 4 sets of 7 coupled concentric (CON) and ECC actions using the affected limb on a flywheel leg press (LP) device twice weekly for 8 weeks. Maximal CON and ECC isokinetic torque at 30, 60 and 90°/s, isometric knee extension and LP force, and CON and ECC peak power in LP were measured before and after training. Balance (Berg Balance Scale, BBS), gait (6-Min Walk test, 6MWT; Timed-Up-and-Go, TUG), functional performance (30-s Chair-Stand Test, 30CST), spasticity (Modified Ashworth Scale) and perceived participation (Stroke Impact Scale, SIS) were also determined.
Results
CON and ECC peak power increased in both the trained affected (34 and 44%; P < 0.01), and the untrained, non-affected leg (25 and 34%; P < 0.02). Power gains were greater (P = 0.008) for ECC than CON actions. ECC isokinetic torque at 60 and 90°/s increased in the affected leg (P < 0.04). The increase in isometric LP force for the trained, affected leg across tests ranged 10-20% (P < 0.05). BBS (P = 0.004), TUG (P = 0.018), 30CST (P = 0.024) and SIS (P = 0.058) scores improved after training. 6MWT and spasticity remained unchanged.
Conclusions
This novel, short-term ECC-overload flywheel RE training regime emerges as a valid, safe and viable method to improve muscle function, balance, gait and functional performance in men and women suffering from chronic stroke.
doi:10.1186/1743-0003-11-150
PMCID: PMC4236468  PMID: 25359231
Balance; Bilateral asymmetry; Muscle strength; Neuro-rehabilitation
23.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
24.  The Association of Flexibility, Balance, and Lumbar Strength with Balance Ability: Risk of Falls in Older Adults 
The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of a proprioceptive training program on older adults, as well as to analyze the association between flexibility, balance and lumbar strength (physical fitness test) with balance ability and fall risk (functional balance tests). This study was a controlled, longitudinal trial with a 12-week follow-up period. Subjects from a population of older adults were allocated to the intervention group (n = 28) or to the usual care (control) group (n = 26). Subjects performed proprioceptive training twice weekly (6 specific exercises with Swiss ball and BOSU). Each session included 50 minutes (10 minutes of warm-up with slow walk, 10 minutes of mobility and stretching exercises, 30 minutes of proprioceptive exercises). The outcome variables were physical fitness (lower-body flexibility, hip-joint mobility, dynamic balance, static balance, and lumbar strength) and functional balance (Berg scale and Tinetti test). The experimental group obtained significantly higher values than the control group in lower-body flexibility, dynamic balance, and lumbar strength (p = 0.019, p < 0.001, and p = 0.034 respectively). Hip-joint mobility, dynamic balance, and lumbar strength were positively associated with balance ability (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, and p = 0.014, respectively) and the prevention of falls (p = 0.001, p < 0.001, and p = 0.017 respectively). These findings suggest that a 12-week proprioception program intervention (twice a week) significantly improves flexibility, balance, and lumbar strength in older adults. Hip-joint mobility, dynamic balance and lumbar strength are positively associated to balance ability and the risk of falls in older adults. This proprioceptive training does not show a significant improvement in hip-joint mobility or static balance.
Key pointsA 12-week proprioceptive intervention program (two times per week) significantly improves flexibility, balance, and lumbar strength in older adults.The risk of falls and balance ability are significantly improved after a training program with Bosu and Swiss ball in older adults.An improvement in joint mobility, dynamic balance and lumbar strength is positively associated with balance ability and improved fall risk in older adults.A 12-week proprioceptive intervention program (two times per week) does not show a significant improvement in hip-joint mobility and static balance.
PMCID: PMC3990889  PMID: 24790489
Proprioception; physical condition; training; physical qualities; swiss ball
25.  Home-Based Leg Strengthening Exercise Improves Function One Year After Hip Fracture: A Randomized Controlled Study 
Objectives
Examine the effectiveness of a short term leg strengthening exercise program compared to attentional control on improving strength, walking abilities, and function one year after hip fracture.
Design
Randomized controlled pilot study.
Setting
Interventions occurred in patients’ homes.
Participants
Community-dwelling older adults (n=26) six months post hip fracture at baseline.
Intervention
Exercise and control participants received interventions by physical therapists twice weekly for 10 weeks. The exercise group received high intensity leg strengthening exercises. The control group received transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and mental imagery.
Measurements
Isometric force production of lower extremity muscles; usual and fast gait speed, six minute walk (6-MW) distance, modified physical performance test (mPPT), and SF-36 physical function.
Results
The primary endpoint was at one year post fracture. Isometric force production (p<.01), usual and fast gait speed (p=.02 & .03, respectively), 6-MW (p<.01), and mPPT (p<.01) improved at one year post fracture with exercise. Effect sizes were 0.79 for strength, 0.81 for mPPT scores, 0.56 for gait speed, 0.49 for 6-MW, and 0.30 for SF-36 scores. More patients in the exercise group made meaningful changes in gait speed and 6-MW distance than control patients (χ2: p=.004).
Conclusion
A 10-week home-based progressive resistance exercise program was sufficient to achieve moderate to large effects on physical performance and quality of life and may offer an alternative intervention mode for hip fracture patients who are unable to leave home at 6 months after the fracture. The effects were maintained at 3 months after completion of the training program.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03076.x
PMCID: PMC2956597  PMID: 20929467
functional performance; gait speed; six minute walk test; modified physical performance test

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