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1.  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
2.  Choice of Interactive Dance and Bicycle Games in Overweight and Nonoverweight Youth 
Background:
Interactive video games are a popular alternative to physical activity in youth. One advancement in computer games are interactive games that use physical activity as a game playing controller, combining exercise and entertainment, or exertainment.
Purpose:
This study tested the reinforcing value and activity levels of interactive dance and bicycle race games in 18 overweight and 17 nonoverweight 8- to 12-year-old youth.
Methods:
Reinforcing value was studied using a behavioral choice paradigm that provided children the opportunity to respond on progressive ratio schedules of reinforcement for a choice of either playing the video dance or bicycle game using a handheld video game controller or one of three options: dancing or bicycling alone, dancing or bicycling while watching a video, or playing the interactive dance or bicycle game. Reinforcing value was defined in relationship to the amount of responding children engaged in for either choice.
Results:
Results showed the interactive dance game was more reinforcing than dancing alone or dancing while watching the video (p = .003), but there was no difference across bicycling conditions. Nonoverweight youth were more active when given the opportunity to play the interactive dance game than overweight children (p = .05).
Conclusions:
These results suggest that children may be motivated to be active when given the opportunity to play an interactive dance game.
doi:10.1080/08836610701307835
PMCID: PMC2213751  PMID: 17447864
3.  Neuropsychological Benefits of Stationary Bike Exercise and a Cybercycle Exergame for Older Adults with Diabetes: An Exploratory Analysis 
Objective
This quasi-experimental exploratory study investigated neuropsychological effects of exercise among older adults with diabetes mellitus (DM) compared with adults without diabetes (non-DM), and it examined the feasibility of using a stationary bike exergame as a form of exercise for older adults with and without diabetes. It is a secondary analysis that uses a small dataset from a larger randomized clinical trial (RCT) called the Cybercycle Study, which compared cognitive and physiological effects of traditional stationary cycling versus cybercycling.
Methods
In the RCT and the secondary analysis, older adults living in eight independent living retirement facilities in the state of New York were enrolled in the study and assigned to exercise five times per week for 45 min per session (two times per week was considered acceptable for retention in the study) by using a stationary bicycle over the course of 3 months. They were randomly assigned to use either a standard stationary bicycle or a “cybercycle” with a video screen that displayed virtual terrains, virtual tours, and racing games with virtual competitors. For this secondary analysis, participants in the RCT who had type 2 DM (n = 10) were compared with age-matched non-DM exercisers (n = 10). The relationship between exercise and executive function (i.e., Color Trials 2, Digit Span Backwards, and Stroop C tests) was examined for DM and non-DM patients.
Results
Older adults with and without diabetes were able to use cybercycles successfully and complete the study, so the feasibility of this form of exercise for this population was supported. However, in contrast with the larger RCT, this small subset did not demonstrate statistically significant differences in executive function between the participants who used cybercycles and those who used stationary bikes with no games or virtual content on a video screen. Therefore, the study combined the two groups and called them “exercisers” and compared cognitive outcomes for DM versus non-DM patients. As predicted, exercisers with DM exhibited significant gains in executive function as measured by the Color Trails 2 test, controlling for age and education, while non-DM exercisers did not significantly gain in this measure [group × time interaction, F(1,16]) = 9.75; p = .007].
Conclusions
These preliminary results support the growing literature that finds that exercise may improve cognition among older adult with DM. Additional research is needed to clarify why certain aspects of executive function might be differentially affected. The current findings may encourage physicians to prescribe exercise for diabetes management and may help motivate DM patients’ compliance for engaging in physical activity.
PMCID: PMC3440156  PMID: 22920811
aging; cognition; diabetes; exercise; videogame
4.  Study of Mental Activity and Regular Training (SMART) in at risk individuals: A randomised double blind, sham controlled, longitudinal trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:19.
Background
The extent to which mental and physical exercise may slow cognitive decline in adults with early signs of cognitive impairment is unknown. This article provides the rationale and methodology of the first trial to investigate the isolated and combined effects of cognitive training (CT) and progressive resistance training (PRT) on general cognitive function and functional independence in older adults with early cognitive impairment: Study of Mental and Regular Training (SMART). Our secondary aim is to quantify the differential adaptations to these interventions in terms of brain morphology and function, cardiovascular and metabolic function, exercise capacity, psychological state and body composition, to identify the potential mechanisms of benefit and broader health status effects.
Methods
SMART is a double-blind randomized, double sham-controlled trial. One hundred and thirty-two community-dwelling volunteers will be recruited. Primary inclusion criteria are: at risk for cognitive decline as defined by neuropsychology assessment, low physical activity levels, stable disease, and age over 55 years. The two active interventions are computerized CT and whole body, high intensity PRT. The two sham interventions are educational videos and seated calisthenics. Participants are randomized into 1 of 4 supervised training groups (2 d/wk × 6 mo) in a fully factorial design. Primary outcomes measured at baseline, 6, and 18 months are the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog), neuropsychological test scores, and Bayer Informant Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (B-IADLs). Secondary outcomes are psychological well-being, quality of life, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function, body composition, insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and anabolic/neurotrophic hormones, and brain morphology and function via Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy (fMRS).
Discussion
SMART will provide a novel evaluation of the immediate and long term benefits of CT, PRT, and combined CT and PRT on global cognitive function and brain morphology, as well as potential underlying mechanisms of adaptation in older adults at risk of further cognitive decline.
Trial Registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ANZCTRN12608000489392
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-19
PMCID: PMC3110111  PMID: 21510896
5.  Video-Game Play Induces Plasticity in the Visual System of Adults with Amblyopia 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(8):e1001135.
A pilot study suggests that playing video games may enhance a range of spatial vision functions in adults with amblyopia.
Abnormal visual experience during a sensitive period of development disrupts neuronal circuitry in the visual cortex and results in abnormal spatial vision or amblyopia. Here we examined whether playing video games can induce plasticity in the visual system of adults with amblyopia. Specifically 20 adults with amblyopia (age 15–61 y; visual acuity: 20/25–20/480, with no manifest ocular disease or nystagmus) were recruited and allocated into three intervention groups: action videogame group (n = 10), non-action videogame group (n = 3), and crossover control group (n = 7). Our experiments show that playing video games (both action and non-action games) for a short period of time (40–80 h, 2 h/d) using the amblyopic eye results in a substantial improvement in a wide range of fundamental visual functions, from low-level to high-level, including visual acuity (33%), positional acuity (16%), spatial attention (37%), and stereopsis (54%). Using a cross-over experimental design (first 20 h: occlusion therapy, and the next 40 h: videogame therapy), we can conclude that the improvement cannot be explained simply by eye patching alone. We quantified the limits and the time course of visual plasticity induced by video-game experience. The recovery in visual acuity that we observed is at least 5-fold faster than would be expected from occlusion therapy in childhood amblyopia. We used positional noise and modelling to reveal the neural mechanisms underlying the visual improvements in terms of decreased spatial distortion (7%) and increased processing efficiency (33%). Our study had several limitations: small sample size, lack of randomization, and differences in numbers between groups. A large-scale randomized clinical study is needed to confirm the therapeutic value of video-game treatment in clinical situations. Nonetheless, taken as a pilot study, this work suggests that video-game play may provide important principles for treating amblyopia, and perhaps other cortical dysfunctions.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01223716
Author Summary
Early abnormal visual experience disrupts neuronal circuitry in the brain and results in reduced vision, known as amblyopia or “lazy eye,” the most frequent cause of permanent visual loss in childhood. It is generally believed that adult amblyopia is irreversible beyond the sensitive period of brain development during childhood. In this study, we examine whether playing video games, both action and non-action, has an effect on the vision of adults with amblyopia. We assessed visual acuity (visual resolution), positional acuity (the ability to localize object's relative position), spatial attention (the ability to direct visual attention to various locations in the visual field), and stereoacuity (stereo-vision / 3-D depth perception) in a small group of teenagers and adults. We found that they tended to recover vision much faster than we would have expected from the results of conventional occlusion therapy in childhood amblyopia. Additional experiments and modelling suggest that the improvements are a result of decreasing spatial distortion and increasing information processing efficiency in the amblyopic brain. Thus, video games may include essential elements for active vision training to boost visual performance. Most importantly, our findings suggest that video-game play may provide important principles for treating amblyopia, a suggestion that we are pursuing with larger scale clinical trials.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001135
PMCID: PMC3166159  PMID: 21912514
6.  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
7.  Feasibility, design and conduct of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to reduce overweight and obesity in children: The electronic games to aid motivation to exercise (eGAME) study 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:146.
Background
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in developed countries. Sedentary screen-based activities such as video gaming are thought to displace active behaviors and are independently associated with obesity. Active video games, where players physically interact with images onscreen, may have utility as a novel intervention to increase physical activity and improve body composition in children. The aim of the Electronic Games to Aid Motivation to Exercise (eGAME) study is to determine the effects of an active video game intervention over 6 months on: body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, waist circumference, cardio-respiratory fitness, and physical activity levels in overweight children.
Methods/Design
Three hundred and thirty participants aged 10–14 years will be randomized to receive either an active video game upgrade package or to a control group (no intervention).
Discussion
An overview of the eGAME study is presented, providing an example of a large, pragmatic randomized controlled trial in a community setting. Reflection is offered on key issues encountered during the course of the study. In particular, investigation into the feasibility of the proposed intervention, as well as robust testing of proposed study procedures is a critical step prior to implementation of a large-scale trial.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000632493
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-146
PMCID: PMC2696432  PMID: 19450288
8.  Can social dancing prevent falls in older adults? a protocol of the Dance, Aging, Cognition, Economics (DAnCE) fall prevention randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:477.
Background
Falls are one of the most common health problems among older people and pose a major economic burden on health care systems. Exercise is an accepted stand-alone fall prevention strategy particularly if it is balance training or regular participation in Tai chi. Dance shares the ‘holistic’ approach of practices such as Tai chi. It is a complex sensorimotor rhythmic activity integrating multiple physical, cognitive and social elements. Small-scale randomised controlled trials have indicated that diverse dance styles can improve measures of balance and mobility in older people, but none of these studies has examined the effect of dance on falls or cognition. This study aims to determine whether participation in social dancing: i) reduces the number of falls; and ii) improves cognitive functions associated with fall risk in older people.
Methods/design
A single-blind, cluster randomised controlled trial of 12 months duration will be conducted. Approximately 450 participants will be recruited from 24 self-care retirement villages that house at least 60 residents each in Sydney, Australia. Village residents without cognitive impairment and obtain medical clearance will be eligible. After comprehensive baseline measurements including physiological and cognitive tests and self-completed questionnaires, villages will be randomised to intervention sites (ballroom or folk dance) or to a wait-listed control using a computer randomisation method that minimises imbalances between villages based on two baseline fall risk measures. Main outcome measures are falls, prospectively measured, and the Trail Making cognitive function test. Cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses will be performed.
Discussion
This study offers a novel approach to balance training for older people. As a community-based approach to fall prevention, dance offers older people an opportunity for greater social engagement, thereby making a major contribution to healthy ageing. Providing diversity in exercise programs targeting seniors recognises the heterogeneity of multicultural populations and may further increase the number of taking part in exercise.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612000889853
The trial is now in progress with 12 villages already have been randomised.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-477
PMCID: PMC3691670  PMID: 23675705
9.  Cognitive training with casual video games: points to consider 
Frontiers in Psychology  2014;4:1010.
Brain training programs have proliferated in recent years, with claims that video games or computer-based tasks can broadly enhance cognitive function. However, benefits are commonly seen only in trained tasks. Assessing generalized improvement and practicality of laboratory exercises complicates interpretation and application of findings. In this study, we addressed these issues by using active control groups, training tasks that more closely resemble real-world demands and multiple tests to determine transfer of training. We examined whether casual video games can broadly improve cognition, and selected training games from a study of the relationship between game performance and cognitive abilities. A total of 209 young adults were randomized into a working memory–reasoning group, an adaptive working memory–reasoning group, an active control game group, and a no-contact control group. Before and after 15 h of training, participants completed tests of reasoning, working memory, attention, episodic memory, perceptual speed, and self-report measures of executive function, game experience, perceived improvement, knowledge of brain training research, and game play outside the laboratory. Participants improved on the training games, but transfer to untrained tasks was limited. No group showed gains in reasoning, working memory, episodic memory, or perceptual speed, but the working memory–reasoning groups improved in divided attention, with better performance in an attention-demanding game, a decreased attentional blink and smaller trail-making costs. Perceived improvements did not differ across training groups and those with low reasoning ability at baseline showed larger gains. Although there are important caveats, our study sheds light on the mixed effects in the training and transfer literature and offers a novel and potentially practical training approach. Still, more research is needed to determine the real-world benefits of computer programs such as casual games.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.01010
PMCID: PMC3882717  PMID: 24432009
attention; working memory; reasoning; fluid intelligence; video games; cognitive training; casual games; transfer of training
10.  Prevalence of Behavior Changing Strategies in Fitness Video Games: Theory-Based Content Analysis 
Background
Fitness video games are popular, but little is known about their content. Because many contain interactive tools that mimic behavioral strategies from weight loss intervention programs, it is possible that differences in content could affect player physical activity and/or weight outcomes. There is a need for a better understanding of what behavioral strategies are currently available in fitness games and how they are implemented.
Objective
The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of evidence-based behavioral strategies across fitness video games available for home use. Games available for consoles that used camera-based controllers were also contrasted with games available for a console that used handheld motion controllers.
Methods
Fitness games (N=18) available for three home consoles were systematically identified and play-tested by 2 trained coders for at least 3 hours each. In cases of multiple games from one series, only the most recently released game was included. The Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox360 were the two camera-based consoles, and the Nintendo Wii was the handheld motion controller console. A coding list based on a taxonomy of behavioral strategies was used to begin coding. Codes were refined in an iterative process based on data found during play-testing.
Results
The most prevalent behavioral strategies were modeling (17/18), specific performance feedback (17/18), reinforcement (16/18), caloric expenditure feedback (15/18), and guided practice (15/18). All games included some kind of feedback on performance accuracy, exercise frequency, and/or fitness progress. Action planning (scheduling future workouts) was the least prevalent of the included strategies (4/18). Twelve games included some kind of social integration, with nine of them providing options for real-time multiplayer sessions. Only two games did not feature any kind of reward. Games for the camera-based consoles (mean 12.89, SD 2.71) included a greater number of strategies than those for the handheld motion controller console (mean 10.00, SD 2.74, P=.04).
Conclusions
Behavioral strategies for increasing self-efficacy and self-regulation are common in home console fitness video games. Social support and reinforcement occurred in approximately half of the studied games. Strategy prevalence varies by console type, partially due to greater feedback afforded by camera-based controllers. Experimental studies are required to test the effects of these strategies when delivered as interactive tools, as this medium may represent an innovative platform for disseminating evidence-based behavioral weight loss intervention components.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2403
PMCID: PMC3650924  PMID: 23651701
video game; theory; content analysis; fitness; physical activity; exergame
11.  Promotion of the mind through exercise (PROMoTE): a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial of aerobic exercise training in older adults with vascular cognitive impairment 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:14.
Background
Sub-cortical vascular ischaemia is the second most common etiology contributing to cognitive impairment in older adults, and is frequently under-diagnosed and under-treated. Although evidence is mounting that exercise has benefits for cognitive function among seniors, very few randomized controlled trials of exercise have been conducted in populations at high-risk for progression to dementia. Aerobic-based exercise training may be of specific benefit in delaying the progression of cognitive decline among seniors with vascular cognitive impairment by reducing key vascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Thus, we aim to carry out a proof-of-concept single-blinded randomized controlled trial primarily designed to provide preliminary evidence of efficacy aerobic-based exercise training program on cognitive and everyday function among older adults with mild sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment.
Methods/Design
A proof-of-concept single-blinded randomized trial comparing a six-month, thrice-weekly, aerobic-based exercise training group with usual care on cognitive and everyday function. Seventy older adults who meet the diagnostic criteria for sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment as outlined by Erkinjuntti and colleagues will be recruited from a memory clinic of a metropolitan hospital. The aerobic-based exercise training will last for 6 months. Participants will be followed for an additional six months after the cessation of exercise training.
Discussion
This research will be an important first step in quantifying the effect of an exercise intervention on cognitive and daily function among seniors with sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment, a recognized risk state for progression to dementia. Exercise has the potential to be an effective, inexpensive, and accessible intervention strategy with minimal adverse effects. Reducing the rate of cognitive decline among seniors with sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment could preserve independent functioning and health related quality of life in this population. This, in turn, could lead to reduced health care resource utilization costs and avoidance of early institutional care.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration System: NCT01027858.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-14
PMCID: PMC2830197  PMID: 20158920
12.  A Rehabilitation Tool Designed for Intensive Web-Based Cognitive Training: Description and Usability Study 
JMIR Research Protocols  2013;2(2):e59.
Background
Cognitive deficits are among the most disabling of neurological diseases and have a serious impact on the quality of life of patients and families. Cognitive training has been proven successful in improving or compensating for neuropsychological deficits after acute brain injury, but its efficacy highly depends on the intensity of treatment over an extended period of time. Therefore, cognitive training indicates expensive human resources and renders the rehabilitation process vulnerable to physical and economic barriers for the majority of patients.
Objective
The aim of this study was to develop and test a new Web-based rehabilitation tool that provides intensive cognitive training at home under clinical prescription and monitoring, at affordable costs.
Methods
From a pool of 60 original exercises, designed and used over the past 10 years for cognitive training at our center, we developed 27 exercises on a computer game format, with automatic increase or decrease of difficulty levels. These exercises were assembled in a clean, user-friendly design and covered various cognitive domains such as attention (n=4), memory (n=11), language (n=3), calculus (n=3), praxis (n=2), and executive functions (n=3). A Web 2.0 platform was also designed to provide medical prescription of cognitive training sessions, performed at the patient’s home. These sessions included continuous monitoring of compliance, performance, and evolution; algorithms for automatic adjustment and long-term learning through use, and database recording of all activities. The end-user interaction test included 80 patients from our memory clinic from several groups including subjective memory complaints (n=20), traumatic brain injury (n=20), stroke and other static brain lesions (n=20), and mild Alzheimer’s disease (n=20). During a 1-hour session, patients and their relatives were taught to use the system and allowed to practice using it. At the end of the session, they were asked to complete a questionnaire.
Results
A total of 48/80 patients (60%) attended the training session. The mean age of the patients was 60 years (SD 13.3, range 41-78), and the mean level of formal education was 6 years (range 4-16). Of all the participants, 32/48 patients (66%) have previously used a computer. All patients and their relatives made a positive evaluation of the cognitive training tool. Only 2/48 patients (4%) were not interested in performing the exercises at home; 19/48 patients (39%) mentioned the need for further coaching from a relative or health care professional. The patients who mentioned difficulties in performing the exercises have not used the computer earlier.
Conclusions
This new Web-based system was very well accepted by patients and their relatives, who showed high levels of motivation to use it on a daily basis at home. The simplicity of its use and comfort were especially outlined. This tool will have an important effect on human resource management, in increasing the patient access to specialized health care and improving the quality and national health system costs of rehabilitation programs.
doi:10.2196/resprot.2899
PMCID: PMC3869046  PMID: 24334248
cognitive training; cognitive deficits; neurorehabilitation; Web-based applications; eHealth systems; usability test
13.  Role of Video Games in Improving Health-Related Outcomes 
Context
Video games represent a multibillion-dollar industry in the U.S. Although video gaming has been associated with many negative health consequences, it may also be useful for therapeutic purposes. The goal of this study was to determine whether video games may be useful in improving health outcomes.
Evidence acquisition
Literature searches were performed in February 2010 in six databases: the Center on Media and Child Health Database of Research, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Reference lists were hand-searched to identify additional studies. Only RCTs that tested the effect of video games on a positive, clinically relevant health consequence were included. Study selection criteria were strictly defined and applied by two researchers working independently. Study background information (e.g., location, funding source), sample data (e.g., number of study participants, demographics), intervention and control details, outcomes data, and quality measures were abstracted independently by two researchers.
Evidence synthesis
Of 1452 articles retrieved using the current search strategy, 38 met all criteria for inclusion. Eligible studies used video games to provide physical therapy, psychological therapy, improved disease self-management, health education, distraction from discomfort, increased physical activity, and skills training for clinicians. Among the 38 studies, a total of 195 health outcomes were examined. Video games improved 69% of psychological therapy outcomes, 59% of physical therapy outcomes, 50% of physical activity outcomes, 46% of clinician skills outcomes, 42% of health education outcomes, 42% of pain distraction outcomes, and 37% of disease self-management outcomes. Study quality was generally poor; for example, two thirds (66%) of studies had follow-up periods of <12 weeks, and only 11% of studies blinded researchers.
Conclusions
There is potential promise for video games to improve health outcomes, particularly in the areas of psychological therapy and physical therapy. RCTs with appropriate rigor will help build evidence in this emerging area.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2012.02.023
PMCID: PMC3391574  PMID: 22608382
14.  Cognitive enhancement through action video game training: great expectations require greater evidence 
Action video game training may hold promise as a cognitive intervention with the potential to enhance daily functioning and remediate impairments, but this must be more thoroughly evaluated through evidence-based practices. We review current research on the effect of action video game training on visual attention and visuospatial processing, executive functions, and learning and memory. Focusing on studies that utilize strict experimental controls and synthesize behavioral and neurophysiological data, we examine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a causal relationship between action video game training and beneficial changes in cognition. Convergent lines of behavioral and neurophysiological evidence tentatively support the efficacy of training, but the magnitude and specificity of these effects remain obscure. Causal inference is thus far limited by a lack of standardized and well-controlled methodology. Considering future directions, we suggest stringent adherence to evidence-based practices and collaboration modeled after clinical trial networks. Finally, we recommend the exploration of more complex causal models, such as indirect causal relationships and interactions that may be masking true effects.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00136
PMCID: PMC3928536  PMID: 24600427
cognition; action video games; cognitive remediation; neurophysiology; cognitive enhancement
15.  Brain Training Game Boosts Executive Functions, Working Memory and Processing Speed in the Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55518.
Background
Do brain training games work? The beneficial effects of brain training games are expected to transfer to other cognitive functions. Yet in all honesty, beneficial transfer effects of the commercial brain training games in young adults have little scientific basis. Here we investigated the impact of the brain training game (Brain Age) on a wide range of cognitive functions in young adults.
Methods
We conducted a double-blind (de facto masking) randomized controlled trial using a popular brain training game (Brain Age) and a popular puzzle game (Tetris). Thirty-two volunteers were recruited through an advertisement in the local newspaper and randomly assigned to either of two game groups (Brain Age, Tetris). Participants in both the Brain Age and the Tetris groups played their game for about 15 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. Measures of the cognitive functions were conducted before and after training. Measures of the cognitive functions fell into eight categories (fluid intelligence, executive function, working memory, short-term memory, attention, processing speed, visual ability, and reading ability).
Results and Discussion
Our results showed that commercial brain training game improves executive functions, working memory, and processing speed in young adults. Moreover, the popular puzzle game can engender improvement attention and visuo-spatial ability compared to playing the brain training game. The present study showed the scientific evidence which the brain training game had the beneficial effects on cognitive functions (executive functions, working memory and processing speed) in the healthy young adults.
Conclusions
Our results do not indicate that everyone should play brain training games. However, the commercial brain training game might be a simple and convenient means to improve some cognitive functions. We believe that our findings are highly relevant to applications in educational and clinical fields.
Trial Registration
UMIN Clinical Trial Registry 000005618.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055518
PMCID: PMC3566110  PMID: 23405164
16.  The effect of a cognitive-motor intervention on voluntary step execution under single and dual task conditions in older adults: a randomized controlled pilot study 
Background
This randomized controlled pilot study aimed to explore whether a cognitive-motor exercise program that combines traditional physical exercise with dance video gaming can improve the voluntary stepping responses of older adults under attention demanding dual task conditions.
Methods
Elderly subjects received twice weekly cognitive-motor exercise that included progressive strength and balance training supplemented by dance video gaming for 12 weeks (intervention group). The control group received no specific intervention. Voluntary step execution under single and dual task conditions was recorded at baseline and post intervention (Week 12).
Results
After intervention between-group comparison revealed significant differences for initiation time of forward steps under dual task conditions (U = 9, P = 0.034, r = 0.55) and backward steps under dual task conditions (U = 10, P = 0.045, r = 0.52) in favor of the intervention group, showing altered stepping levels in the intervention group compared to the control group.
Conclusion
A cognitive-motor intervention based on strength and balance exercises with additional dance video gaming is able to improve voluntary step execution under both single and dual task conditions in older adults.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S32558
PMCID: PMC3410679  PMID: 22865999
fall prevention; exercise; dance; video game
17.  Medical student attitudes toward video games and related new media technologies in medical education 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:50.
Background
Studies in K-12 and college students show that their learning preferences have been strongly shaped by new media technologies like video games, virtual reality environments, the Internet, and social networks. However, there is no known research on medical students' game experiences or attitudes towards new media technologies in medical education. This investigation seeks to elucidate medical student experiences and attitudes, to see whether they warrant the development of new media teaching methods in medicine.
Methods
Medical students from two American universities participated. An anonymous, 30-item, cross-sectional survey addressed demographics, game play experience and attitudes on using new media technologies in medical education. Statistical analysis identified: 1) demographic characteristics; 2) differences between the two universities; 3) how video game play differs across gender, age, degree program and familiarity with computers; and 4) characteristics of students who play most frequently.
Results
217 medical students participated. About half were female (53%). Respondents liked the idea of using technology to enhance healthcare education (98%), felt that education should make better use of new media technologies (96%), and believed that video games can have educational value (80%). A majority (77%) would use a multiplayer online healthcare simulation on their own time, provided that it helped them to accomplish an important goal. Men and women agreed that they were most inclined to use multiplayer simulations if they were fun (97%), and if they helped to develop skill in patient interactions (90%). However, there was significant gender dissonance over types of favorite games, the educational value of video games, and the desire to participate in games that realistically replicated the experience of clinical practice.
Conclusions
Overall, medical student respondents, including many who do not play video games, held highly favorable views about the use of video games and related new media technology in medical education. Significant gender differences in game play experience and attitudes may represent male video game design bias that stresses male cognitive aptitudes; medical educators hoping to create serious games that will appeal to both men and women must avoid this.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-50
PMCID: PMC2908629  PMID: 20576125
18.  Cognitive and cognitive-motor interventions affecting physical functioning: A systematic review 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:29.
Background
Several types of cognitive or combined cognitive-motor intervention types that might influence physical functions have been proposed in the past: training of dual-tasking abilities, and improving cognitive function through behavioral interventions or the use of computer games. The objective of this systematic review was to examine the literature regarding the use of cognitive and cognitive-motor interventions to improve physical functioning in older adults or people with neurological impairments that are similar to cognitive impairments seen in aging. The aim was to identify potentially promising methods that might be used in future intervention type studies for older adults.
Methods
A systematic search was conducted for the Medline/Premedline, PsycINFO, CINAHL and EMBASE databases. The search was focused on older adults over the age of 65. To increase the number of articles for review, we also included those discussing adult patients with neurological impairments due to trauma, as these cognitive impairments are similar to those seen in the aging population. The search was restricted to English, German and French language literature without any limitation of publication date or restriction by study design. Cognitive or cognitive-motor interventions were defined as dual-tasking, virtual reality exercise, cognitive exercise, or a combination of these.
Results
28 articles met our inclusion criteria. Three articles used an isolated cognitive rehabilitation intervention, seven articles used a dual-task intervention and 19 applied a computerized intervention. There is evidence to suggest that cognitive or motor-cognitive methods positively affects physical functioning, such as postural control, walking abilities and general functions of the upper and lower extremities, respectively. The majority of the included studies resulted in improvements of the assessed functional outcome measures.
Conclusions
The current evidence on the effectiveness of cognitive or motor-cognitive interventions to improve physical functioning in older adults or people with neurological impairments is limited. The heterogeneity of the studies published so far does not allow defining the training methodology with the greatest effectiveness. This review nevertheless provides important foundational information in order to encourage further development of novel cognitive or cognitive-motor interventions, preferably with a randomized control design. Future research that aims to examine the relation between improvements in cognitive skills and the translation to better performance on selected physical tasks should explicitly take the relation between the cognitive and physical skills into account.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-29
PMCID: PMC3147016  PMID: 21651800
19.  Enhancing Cognition with Video Games: A Multiple Game Training Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58546.
Background
Previous evidence points to a causal link between playing action video games and enhanced cognition and perception. However, benefits of playing other video games are under-investigated. We examined whether playing non-action games also improves cognition. Hence, we compared transfer effects of an action and other non-action types that required different cognitive demands.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We instructed 5 groups of non-gamer participants to play one game each on a mobile device (iPhone/iPod Touch) for one hour a day/five days a week over four weeks (20 hours). Games included action, spatial memory, match-3, hidden- object, and an agent-based life simulation. Participants performed four behavioral tasks before and after video game training to assess for transfer effects. Tasks included an attentional blink task, a spatial memory and visual search dual task, a visual filter memory task to assess for multiple object tracking and cognitive control, as well as a complex verbal span task. Action game playing eliminated attentional blink and improved cognitive control and multiple-object tracking. Match-3, spatial memory and hidden object games improved visual search performance while the latter two also improved spatial working memory. Complex verbal span improved after match-3 and action game training.
Conclusion/Significance
Cognitive improvements were not limited to action game training alone and different games enhanced different aspects of cognition. We conclude that training specific cognitive abilities frequently in a video game improves performance in tasks that share common underlying demands. Overall, these results suggest that many video game-related cognitive improvements may not be due to training of general broad cognitive systems such as executive attentional control, but instead due to frequent utilization of specific cognitive processes during game play. Thus, many video game training related improvements to cognition may be attributed to near-transfer effects.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058546
PMCID: PMC3596277  PMID: 23516504
20.  Active video games as a tool to prevent excessive weight gain in adolescents: rationale, design and methods of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:275.
Background
Excessive body weight, low physical activity and excessive sedentary time in youth are major public health concerns. A new generation of video games, the ones that require physical activity to play the games –i.e. active games- may be a promising alternative to traditional non-active games to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors in youth. The aim of this manuscript is to describe the design of a study evaluating the effects of a family oriented active game intervention, incorporating several motivational elements, on anthropometrics and health behaviors in adolescents.
Methods/Design
The study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT), with non-active gaming adolescents aged 12 – 16 years old randomly allocated to a ten month intervention (receiving active games, as well as an encouragement to play) or a waiting-list control group (receiving active games after the intervention period). Primary outcomes are adolescents’ measured BMI-SDS (SDS = adjusted for mean standard deviation score), waist circumference-SDS, hip circumference and sum of skinfolds. Secondary outcomes are adolescents’ self-reported time spent playing active and non-active games, other sedentary activities and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition, a process evaluation is conducted, assessing the sustainability of the active games, enjoyment, perceived competence, perceived barriers for active game play, game context, injuries from active game play, activity replacement and intention to continue playing the active games.
Discussion
This is the first adequately powered RCT including normal weight adolescents, evaluating a reasonably long period of provision of and exposure to active games. Next, strong elements are the incorporating motivational elements for active game play and a comprehensive process evaluation. This trial will provide evidence regarding the potential contribution of active games in prevention of excessive weight gain in adolescents.
Trial registration
Dutch Trial register NTR3228.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-275
PMCID: PMC3987926  PMID: 24661535
Video games; Active games; Exergames; Physical activity; Sedentary lifestyle; Adolescent; Prevention; Excessive body weight; Overweight; Randomized controlled trial
21.  Impact of an Active Video Game on Healthy Children’s Physical Activity 
Pediatrics  2012;129(3):e636-e642.
OBJECTIVE:
This naturalistic study tests whether children receiving a new (to them) active video game spontaneously engage in more physical activity than those receiving an inactive video game, and whether the effect would be greater among children in unsafe neighborhoods, who might not be allowed to play outside.
METHODS:
Participants were children 9 to 12 years of age, with a BMI >50th percentile, but <99th percentile; none of these children a medical condition that would preclude physical activity or playing video games. A randomized clinical trial assigned children to receiving 2 active or 2 inactive video games, the peripherals necessary to run the games, and a Wii console. Physical activity was monitored by using accelerometers for 5 weeks over the course of a 13-week experiment. Neighborhood safety was assessed with a 12 item validated questionnaire.
RESULTS:
There was no evidence that children receiving the active video games were more active in general, or at anytime, than children receiving the inactive video games. The outcomes were not moderated by parent perceived neighborhood safety, child BMI z score, or other demographic characteristics.
CONCLUSIONS:
These results provide no reason to believe that simply acquiring an active video game under naturalistic circumstances provides a public health benefit to children.
doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2050
PMCID: PMC3289528  PMID: 22371457
exergames; Wii
22.  Cholinesterase Inhibitors in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review of Randomised Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(11):e338.
Background
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to a transitional zone between normal ageing and dementia. Despite the uncertainty regarding the definition of MCI as a clinical entity, clinical trials have been conducted in the attempt to study the role of cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) currently approved for symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer disease (AD), in preventing progression from MCI to AD. The objective of this review is to assess the effects of ChEIs (donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine) in delaying the conversion from MCI to Alzheimer disease or dementia.
Methods and Findings
The terms “donepezil”, “rivastigmine”, “galantamine”, and “mild cognitive impairment” and their variants, synonyms, and acronyms were used as search terms in four electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, PsycINFO) and three registers: the Cochrane Collaboration Trial Register, Current Controlled Trials, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Published and unpublished studies were included if they were randomized clinical trials published (or described) in English and conducted among persons who had received a diagnosis of MCI and/or abnormal memory function documented by a neuropsychological assessment. A standardized data extraction form was used. The reporting quality was assessed using the Jadad scale. Three published and five unpublished trials met the inclusion criteria (three on donepezil, two on rivastigmine, and three on galantamine). Enrolment criteria differed among the trials, so the study populations were not homogeneous. The duration of the trials ranged from 24 wk to 3 y. No significant differences emerged in the probability of conversion from MCI to AD or dementia between the treated groups and the placebo groups. The rate of conversion ranged from 13% (over 2 y) to 25% (over 3 y) among treated patients, and from 18% (over 2 y) to 28% (over 3 y) among those in the placebo groups. Only for two studies was it possible to derive point estimates of the relative risk of conversion: 0.85 (95% confidence interval 0.64–1.12), and 0.84 (0.57–1.25). Statistically significant differences emerged for three secondary end points. However, when adjusting for multiple comparisons, only one difference remained significant (i.e., the rate of atrophy in the whole brain).
Conclusions
The use of ChEIs in MCI was not associated with any delay in the onset of AD or dementia. Moreover, the safety profile showed that the risks associated with ChEIs are not negligible. The uncertainty regarding MCI as a clinical entity raises the question as to the scientific validity of these trials.
A systematic review of trials of cholinesterase inhibitors for preventing transition of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia, conducted by Roberto Raschetti and colleagues, found no difference between treatment and control groups and concluded that uncertainty regarding the definition of MCI casts doubts on the validity of such trials.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Worldwide, more than 24 million people have dementia, a group of brain disorders characterized by an irreversible decline in memory, problem solving, communication, and other “cognitive” functions. The commonest form of dementia is Alzheimer disease (AD). The risk of developing AD increases with age—AD is rare in people younger than 65 but about half of people over 85 years old have it. The earliest symptom of AD is usually difficulty in remembering new information. As the disease progresses, patients may become confused and have problems expressing themselves. Their behavior and personality can also change. In advanced AD, patients need help with daily activities like dressing and eating, and eventually lose their ability to recognize relatives and to communicate. There is no cure for AD but a class of drugs called “cholinesterase inhibitors” can sometimes temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms. Three cholinesterase inhibitors—donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine—are currently approved for use in mild-to-moderate AD.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some experts have questioned the efficacy of cholinesterase inhibitors in AD, but other experts and patient support groups have called for these drugs to be given to patients with a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as well as to those with mild AD. People with MCI have memory problems that are more severe than those normally seen in people of their age but no other symptoms of dementia. They are thought to have an increased risk of developing AD, but it is not known whether everyone with MCI eventually develops AD, and there is no standardized way to diagnose MCI. Despite these uncertainties, several clinical trials have investigated whether cholinesterase inhibitors prevent progression from MCI to AD. In this study, the researchers have assessed whether the results of these trials provide any evidence that cholinesterase inhibitors can prevent MCI progressing to AD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a systematic review of the medical literature to find trials that had addressed this issue, which met criteria that they had defined clearly in advance of their search. They identified three published and five unpublished randomized controlled trials (studies in which patients randomly receive the test drug or an inactive placebo) that investigated the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors on the progression of MCI. The researchers obtained the results of six of these trials—four examined the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors on the conversion of MCI to clinically diagnosed AD or dementia (the primary end point); all six examined the effect of the drugs on several secondary end points (for example, individual aspects of cognitive function). None of the drugs produced a statistically significant difference (a difference that is unlikely to have happened by chance) in the probability of progression from MCI to AD. The only statistically significant secondary end point after adjustment for multiple comparisons (when many outcomes are considered, false positive results can occur unless specific mathematical techniques are used to prevent this problem) was a decrease in the rate of brain shrinkage associated with galantamine treatment. More patients treated with cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of trials because of adverse effects than patients given placebo. Finally, in the one trial that reported all causes of deaths, one participant who received placebo and six who received galantamine died.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the use of cholinesterase inhibitors is not associated with any delay in the onset of clinically diagnosed AD or dementia in people with MCI. They also show that the use of these drugs has no effect on most surrogate (substitute) indicators of AD but that the risks associated with their use are not negligible. However, because MCI has not yet been clearly defined as a clinical condition that precedes dementia, some (even many) of the patients enrolled into the trials that the researchers assessed may not actually have had MCI. Thus, further clinical trials are needed to clarify whether cholinesterase inhibitors can delay the progression of MCI to dementia, but these additional trials should not be done until the diagnosis of MCI has been standardized.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040338.
An essay by Matthews and colleagues, in the October 2007 issue of PLoS Medicine, discusses how mild cognitive impairment is currently diagnosed
The US Alzheimer's Association provides information about all aspects of Alzheimer disease, including fact sheets on treatments for Alzheimer disease and on mild cognitive impairment
The UK Alzheimer's Society provides information for patients and caregivers on all aspects of dementia, including drug treatments and mild cognitive impairment
The UK charity DIPEx provides short video clips of personal experiences of care givers of people with dementia
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040338
PMCID: PMC2082649  PMID: 18044984
23.  Active Video/Arcade Games (Exergaming) and Energy Expenditure in College Students 
Video games have become increasingly popular among young adults. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if interactive video/arcade games, requiring physical activity to play, increase the energy expenditure (EE) and heart rate (HR) of young adults enough to elicit a training response. Thirteen male and female participants 26.6 ± 5.7 years of age were in the study. Participants were familiarized with equipment and allowed to practice with three games: (1) moving and striking lighted pads, (2) riding a bike to increase the pace of a race car, and (3) boxing against a video simulated opponent. A portable metabolic cart and HR monitor were attached to participants to measure baseline and exercise values. Participants could play any of the three games for 30 minutes while metabolic and HR data were collected. Exercise data were compared to baseline measures, and the 3 games were compared for EE. Paired sample t-tests showed baseline and exercise values differed for HR (t(12) = −18.91, p < 0.01), and EE (t(12) = −15.62, p < 0.01). The boxing game provided the highest VO2 (17.47 ± 4.79 ml·kg·−1min−1). Participants achieved 60% or better of their HR reserve (162.82 ± 10.78 beats·min−1), well within the ACSM guidelines for a training HR. Caloric expenditure during the 30-minute exercise session (226. 07 ± 48.68) is also within the ACSM recommendations for daily physical activity. Thus, interactive video/arcade games that require physical activity to play can be utilized as part of an overall aerobic exercise program.
PMCID: PMC2856349  PMID: 20407622
Physical activity; exercise Intensity; obesity; cardiovascular risk
24.  The Effect of Chinese Yuanji-Dance on Dynamic Balance and the Associated Attentional Demands in Elderly Adults 
Walking performance changes with age. This has implications for the problem of falls in older adults. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Yuanji-Dance practice on walking balance and the associated attention demand in healthy elderly. Fifteen community-dwelling elderly (comparison group, no regular exercise habit) and fifteen Yuanji- Dance elderly (exercise group, dancing experience: 5.40 ± 1.95 years), aged 60-70 years, were included in this study. The subjects in exercise group participated in a 90-minute Yuanji-Dance practice at least three times per week and the comparison group continued their normal daily physical activity. Walking balance measures (including walking velocity, step length, step width, and percentage of time spent in double limb support, COM velocity and COM-COP inclination angles) and attentional demand tests (button reaction time and accuracy) were conducted under different conditions. Our results showed that stride lengths, walking velocities, peak A/P velocities (AP V) of the COM, medial COM-COP inclination (M angle) angles, reaction time, and accuracy decrease significantly as the dual-task (walking plus hand button pressing tasks) applied for either the comparison or exercise groups. These results demonstrated that walking performance is attenuated in our elderly participants as the cognitive tasks applied. Analysis also identified a significantly faster RT for our exercise group both in standing and walking conditions. This may indicate that physical exercise (Yuanji-Dance) may have facilitating effects on general cognitive and perceptual- motor functions. This implies that Chinese Yuanji-Dance practice for elderly adults may improve their personal safety when walking especially under the condition of multiple task demand.
Key pointsThe purpose of this study was to investigate the training effects of a Chinese traditional exercise, Yuanji-Dance, on walking balance and the associated attention demand in the healthy elderly.Walking performance is attenuated in elderly participants as the cognitive tasks applied.A significantly faster reaction time for our exercise group both in standing and walking conditions.Yuanji-Dance exercise training can improve the information processing speed of elderly people and has no influence of the dynamic walking balance.
PMCID: PMC3737964  PMID: 24149395
Yuanji-Dance; exercise; balance; attention
25.  Brain Training Game Improves Executive Functions and Processing Speed in the Elderly: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29676.
Background
The beneficial effects of brain training games are expected to transfer to other cognitive functions, but these beneficial effects are poorly understood. Here we investigate the impact of the brain training game (Brain Age) on cognitive functions in the elderly.
Methods and Results
Thirty-two elderly volunteers were recruited through an advertisement in the local newspaper and randomly assigned to either of two game groups (Brain Age, Tetris). This study was completed by 14 of the 16 members in the Brain Age group and 14 of the 16 members in the Tetris group. To maximize the benefit of the interventions, all participants were non-gamers who reported playing less than one hour of video games per week over the past 2 years. Participants in both the Brain Age and the Tetris groups played their game for about 15 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. Each group played for a total of about 20 days. Measures of the cognitive functions were conducted before and after training. Measures of the cognitive functions fell into four categories (global cognitive status, executive functions, attention, and processing speed). Results showed that the effects of the brain training game were transferred to executive functions and to processing speed. However, the brain training game showed no transfer effect on any global cognitive status nor attention.
Conclusions
Our results showed that playing Brain Age for 4 weeks could lead to improve cognitive functions (executive functions and processing speed) in the elderly. This result indicated that there is a possibility which the elderly could improve executive functions and processing speed in short term training. The results need replication in large samples. Long-term effects and relevance for every-day functioning remain uncertain as yet.
Trial Registration
UMIN Clinical Trial Registry 000002825
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029676
PMCID: PMC3256163  PMID: 22253758

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