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Neuropsychologia. 2014 Sep;62:286-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.07.034. Epub 2014 Aug 8.

Partial maintenance of auditory-based cognitive training benefits in older adults.

Author information

1
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA(2); Communication Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
2
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA(2); Communication Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA; Institute for Neuroscience Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Chicago, IL 60611, USA; Department of Neurobiology and Physiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA; Department of Otolaryngology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. Electronic address: nkraus@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

The potential for short-term training to improve cognitive and sensory functions in older adults has captured the public's interest. Initial results have been promising. For example, eight weeks of auditory-based cognitive training decreases peak latencies and peak variability in neural responses to speech presented in a background of noise and instills gains in speed of processing, speech-in-noise recognition, and short-term memory in older adults. But while previous studies have demonstrated short-term plasticity in older adults, we must consider the long-term maintenance of training gains. To evaluate training maintenance, we invited participants from an earlier training study to return for follow-up testing six months after the completion of training. We found that improvements in response peak timing to speech in noise and speed of processing were maintained, but the participants did not maintain speech-in-noise recognition or memory gains. Future studies should consider factors that are important for training maintenance, including the nature of the training, compliance with the training schedule, and the need for booster sessions after the completion of primary training.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Auditory plasticity; Frequency-following response (FFR); Memory; Neural timing; Speech-in-noise recognition; Temporal processing; Training

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