Health Services Research & Development

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Ge S, Zhu Z, Wu B, McConnell ES. Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions for individuals with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review. BMC geriatrics. 2018 Sep 15; 18(1):213.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at heightened risk of developing dementia. Rapid advances in computing technology have enabled researchers to conduct cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions with the assistance of technology. This systematic review aims to evaluate the effects of technology-based cognitive training or rehabilitation interventions to improve cognitive function among individuals with MCI. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review using the following criteria: individuals with MCI, empirical studies, and evaluated a technology-based cognitive training or rehabilitation intervention. Twenty-six articles met the criteria. RESULTS: Studies were characterized by considerable variation in study design, intervention content, and technologies applied. The major types of technologies applied included computerized software, tablets, gaming consoles, and virtual reality. Use of technology to adjust the difficulties of tasks based on participants' performance was an important feature. Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions had significant effect on global cognitive function in 8 out of 22 studies; 8 out of 18 studies found positive effects on attention, 9 out of 16 studies on executive function, and 16 out of 19 studies on memory. Some cognitive interventions improved non-cognitive symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and ADLs. CONCLUSION: Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions show promise, but the findings were inconsistent due to the variations in study design. Future studies should consider using more consistent methodologies. Appropriate control groups should be designed to understand the additional benefits of cognitive training and rehabilitation delivered with the assistance of technology.