Online Program

Impact of cognitive training on depression among cognitively-impaired older adults

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Renae Smith-Ray, PhD, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Cheryl Irmiter, PhD, LCSW, CADC, Loyola University Chicago, Easter Seals Inc., Chicago, IL

Evidence supports that cognitive training (CT) improves depressive symptoms and quality of life (QOL) among healthy older adults. Among older adults with cognitive impairment (OA-CI), research on the association between CT and depressive symptoms/QOL is sparse; much of the evidence within this population is centered on the link between CT and memory. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of a 10-week CT intervention on cognition and depressive symptoms among OA-CI.

Method:  This study examined the change in depressive symptoms and cognition following a 10-week CT intervention using Posit Science Brain HQ (BHQ).   Participants (N=20) in an adult day program completed 20 hours of BHQ over 10 weeks.  Depression (Geriatric Depression Scale -GDS) and cognition (Mini Mental State Exam-MMSE and Cognitive Self-Report Questionnaire -CSRQ) were measured using paired t-tests to assess whether there were significant differences between the two time points. 

Results: Participants (age µ=80.5 years) had mild dementia according to the MMSE (µ=21.4).  Individuals exhibited a significant improvement in GDS between baseline and 10 weeks [t(18)=2.53, p=0.021].  CSRQ and MMSE improved from baseline (CSRQ: µ = 2.19, SD 0.56; MMSE µ = 21.41, SD 2.90) to follow-up (CSRQ µ = 2.00, SD 0.42; µ = 22.58. SD 3.76), but neither of these improvements were statistically significant [(CSRQ: t(17)=1.63, p=0.122); (MMSE t(15)=-0.24, p=0.81)].

Discussion: Senior adult day programs that use a CT program for 10 weeks may help decrease depressive symptoms for OA-CI.  Larger studies among this population are needed to confirm these findings.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe how cognitive training is used to improve depression and cognition among older adults with cognitive impairment. Describe the feasibility of implementing a cognitive training intervention among cognitively-impaired older adults in a senior adult day program.

Keyword(s): Aging, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of two studies that examined the impact of cognitive training on gait and balance among older adults and served as a contracted co-investigator on the current study. I played a key role in designing the study and conducted data analyses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.