Cognitive Training Program to Improve Working Memory in Older Adults with MCI

Lee Hyer, Ciera Scott, Mary Michael Atkinson, Christine M. Mullen, Anna Lee, Aaron Johnson, Laura C. Mckenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objectives: Deficits in working memory (WM) are associated with age-related decline. We report findings from a clinical trial that examined the effectiveness of Cogmed, a computerized program that trains WM. We compare this program to a Sham condition in older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Methods: Older adults (N = 68) living in the community were assessed. Participants reported memory impairment and met criteria for MCI, either by poor delayed memory or poor performance in other cognitive areas. The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS, Delayed Memory Index) and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR) were utilized. All presented with normal Mini Mental State Exams (MMSE) and activities of daily living (ADLs). Participants were randomized to Cogmed or a Sham computer program. Twenty-five sessions were completed over five to seven weeks. Pre, post, and follow-up measures included a battery of cognitive measures (three WM tests), a subjective memory scale, and a functional measure.Results: Both intervention groups improved over time. Cogmed significantly outperformed Sham on Span Board and exceeded in subjective memory reports at follow-up as assessed by the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ). The Cogmed group demonstrated better performance on the Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ), a measure of adjustment and far transfer, at follow-up. Both groups, especially Cogmed, enjoyed the intervention.Conclusions: Results suggest that WM was enhanced in both groups of older adults with MCI. Cogmed was better on one core WM measure and had higher ratings of satisfaction. The Sham condition declined on adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-427
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive training
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • older adults
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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