A. Tsapanou, L. Margioti, I. Beratis, J. Papatriantafyllou ,V. Kamtsadeli, A. Nika,G. Tsilikopoulou, N. Kalfakis, P. Sakka, P. Bamidis, S.G. Papageorgiou
Objectives: Cognitive and physical training (CT & PT respectively) are recently proposed for the prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly and as a treatment option for patients with dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). However, their effectiveness remains controversial.
Methods: In the present study, in the context of a research program funded by the European Commission (the Long Lasting Memories project), we have implemented a 5 week program of combined CT and PT using a computer interface. The sessions were lasting for 2 hours and were run in a 5 days/week basis and were implemented in 3 community centers.
Subjects: Nineteen community dwelling people aged over 65, with average age 75,4 years (SD =8,4) and mean educational level of 11,7 years (SD=2,7), living in Athens. Eight subjects were normal, 8 had MCI, 1 had Parkinson‟s Disease (PD), 1 had Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) and 1 had Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). Subjects were assessed before and after the intervention with a neuropsychological battery including, among other tests, the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), the Trail Making Test A and B (TMT-A, TMT-B) and the Digit Span forward and backwards.
Results: A mixed between-within subjects‟ analysis of variance, with gender as the between-subjects factor, revealed a significant main effect of the intervention program (pre-intervention/post-intervention) on three neuropsychological measures. Significant improvement was observed on the TMT-B completion time (Wiks Lambda = 0.730, F(1,17)=6.300, p= 0.022), the CVLT recognition performance (Wiks Lambda = 0.749, F(1,17)=5.682, p= 0.029), and the number of repetitions while performing the CVLT (Wiks Lambda = 0.700, F(1,17)=7.276, p= 0.015). No significant effect of the intervention program was observed for the digit span score, both for the forward and the backwards condition.
Conclusions: The present findings suggest that the application of a combined CT and PT intervention program may have a positive impact on the executive and verbal memory functions in the elderly population.
Society of Applied Neurosciences, 3rd meeting, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011