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Vol. 36, No. 2, 2011
Issue release date: April 2011
Neuroepidemiology 2011;36:91–99

Computer-Based, Personalized Cognitive Training versus Classical Computer Games: A Randomized Double-Blind Prospective Trial of Cognitive Stimulation

Peretz C. · Korczyn A.D. · Shatil E. · Aharonson V. · Birnboim S. · Giladi N.
aDepartment of Epidemiology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and bSieratzki Chair of Neurology and cDepartment of Neurology, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, and dNexSig Ltd., and Afeka, Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering, Tel-Aviv, eDepartment of Psychology and Center for Psychobiological Research, Max Stern Academic College, Emek Yezreel, fCogniFit Ltd., Yoqneam, and gOno Academic College, Kiryat Ono, Israel

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Background: Many studies have suggested that cognitive training can result in cognitive gains in healthy older adults. We investigated whether personalized computerized cognitive training provides greater benefits than those obtained by playing conventional computer games. Methods: This was a randomized double-blind interventional study. Self-referred healthy older adults (n = 155, 68 ± 7 years old) were assigned to either a personalized, computerized cognitive training or to a computer games group. Cognitive performance was assessed at baseline and after 3 months by a neuropsychological assessment battery. Differences in cognitive performance scores between and within groups were evaluated using mixed effects models in 2 approaches: adherence only (AO; n = 121) and intention to treat (ITT; n = 155). Results: Both groups improved in cognitive performance. The improvement in the personalized cognitive training group was significant (p < 0.03, AO and ITT approaches) in all 8 cognitive domains. However, in the computer games group it was significant (p < 0.05) in only 4 (AO) or 6 domains (ITT). In the AO analysis, personalized cognitive training was significantly more effective than playing games in improving visuospatial working memory (p = 0.0001), visuospatial learning (p = 0.0012) and focused attention (p = 0.0019). Conclusions: Personalized, computerized cognitive training appears to be more effective than computer games in improving cognitive performance in healthy older adults. Further studies are needed to evaluate the ecological validity of these findings.

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