Cogmed training and coaching: Improving cognitive symptoms and quality of life in aging adults

Research institution: Mercer University

Researchers: Hyer, L., Atkinson, M.M., Dhabliwala, J., Scoggins, C., and Yeager, C.

Training program used in research: Cogmed QM

Status: Poster presented at 2009 meeting of National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN). This study is still ongoing.

To date, cognitive rehabilitation (CR) has not been systematically assessed in various forms of cognitive impairment in older adults as a means of enhancing well being and functioning. While the bulk of studies have addressed normal aging, little effort has been given to age associated memory impairment (AAMI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or mild dementia. However, the researchers at Georgia Neurosurgical Institute and Mercer School of Medicine believe that the standard care of older adults with AAMI, MCI or dementia can be improved through CR and caregiver involvement (see Hyer, 2007). Positive changes in cognitive functioning are critical to having a beneficial impact on quality of life, functioning and neuropsychiatric symptoms (mood and anxiety symptoms). Thus, this team feels that it is vital to investigate whether combining a CR program with caregiver coaching will improve outcomes (quality of life, neuropsychiatric symptoms and patient and caregiver adjustment) in older adults with memory deficits.

In order to assess two aspects of patient care, cognition and psychosocial support, these researchers are assessing how Cogmed and its coaching model impact aging adults with AAMI, MCI and mild dementia. Patients train with either the adaptive version of Cogmed (treatment group) or the non-adaptive version of Cogmed (control group) for 25 sessions over two months. It is hypothesized that not only will patients who receive the adaptive training improve but also, that the coaching involved in the training program will strengthen caregiver-patient interactions and contribute to patient quality of life and symptom experience.