Background: Noninvasive interventions to aid healthy cognitive aging are considered an important healthcare priority. Traditional approaches typically focus on cognitive training or aerobic exercise training. In the current study, we investigate the effect of exercises that directly combine cognitive and motor functions on visuomotor skills and general cognition in elderly with various degrees of cognitive deficits. Subjects and Methods: A total of 37 elderly, divided into four groups based on their level of cognition, completed a 16-week cognitive-motor training program. The weekly training sessions consisted of playing a videogame requiring goal-directed hand movements on a computer tablet for 30 minutes. Before and after the training program, all participants completed a test battery to establish their level of cognition and visuomotor skills. Results: We observed an overall change in visuomotor behavior in all groups, as participants completed the tasks faster but less accurately. More importantly, we observed a significant improvement in measures of overall cognition in the subaverage cognition group and the mild-to-moderate cognitive deficits group. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that (1) cognitive-motor exercises induce improved test scores, which is most prominent in elderly with only mild cognitive deficits, and (2) cognitive-motor exercises induce altered visuomotor behavior and slight improvements in measures of general cognition.
de Boer, C., Echlin, H. V., Rogojin, A., Baltaretu, B. R., & Sergio, L. E. (2018). Thinking-While-Moving Exercises May Improve Cognition in Elderly with Mild Cognitive Deficits: A Proof-of-Principle Study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders EXTRA, 8(2), 248-258. https://doi.org/10.1159/000490173