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How Interventions Might Improve Cognition in Healthy Older Adults

Elizabeth M. Zelinski
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Elizabeth M. Zelinski: Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), 2013, vol. 5, issue 3, 72-82

Abstract: Many of the cognitive declines in healthy aging are moderated by experience, suggesting that interventions may be beneficial. Goals for aging outcomes include improving performance on untrained tasks, remediating observed cognitive declines, and ensuring preservation of functional ability. This selective review evaluates current progress towards these goals. Most research focuses on untrained tasks. Interventions associated with this outcome include games and exercises practicing specific cognitive skills, as well as aerobic exercise, and modestly benefit a relatively narrow range of cognitive tasks. Few studies have directly tested improvements in tasks on which individuals have been shown to experience longitudinal decline, so this goal has not been realized, though remediation can be examined rather easily. Little work has been done to develop psychometrically strong functional outcomes that could be used to test preservation of independence in everyday activities. Virtual reality approaches to functional assessment show promise for achieving the third goal.

Date: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:igg:jgcms0:v:5:y:2013:i:3:p:72-82