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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 Aug;114(2):75-90.

Cognitive training in Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.



To systematically review the literature and summarize the effect of cognitive training (CT) for Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients on multiple functional domains.


Effect sizes (Cohen's d) were calculated for 17 controlled studies identified through a comprehensive literature review.


An overall effect size of 0.47 was observed for all CT strategies across all measured outcomes. Mean effect sizes were higher for restorative (0.54) than for compensatory (0.36) strategies. Domain-specific effect sizes ranged from 2.16 (verbal and visual learning) to -0.38 (visuospatial functioning). Data are also presented on the relative impact of restorative and compensatory strategies for each domain of functioning.


CT evidenced promise in the treatment of AD, with primarily medium effect sizes for learning, memory, executive functioning, activities of daily living, general cognitive problems, depression, and self-rated general functioning. Restorative strategies demonstrated the greatest overall effect on functioning. Several limitations of the published literature are discussed.

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