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Clin Interv Aging. 2015 Feb 10;10:453-9. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S76028. eCollection 2015.

Effect of computerized cognitive training with virtual spatial navigation task during bed rest immobilization and recovery on vascular function: a pilot study.

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Institute of Physiology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
Institute for Kinesiology Research, University of Primorska, Ankaran, Slovenia.


We investigated the effects of bed rest (BR) immobilization, with and without computerized cognitive training with virtual spatial navigation task (CCT), on vascular endothelium on older subjects. The effects of 14-day BR immobilization in healthy older males (n=16) of ages 53-65 years on endothelial function were studied using EndoPAT(®), a noninvasive and user-independent method. From the group of 16 older men, 8 randomly received CCT during the BR, using virtual navigation tasks in a virtual environment with joystick device. In all the cases, EndoPAT assessments were done at pre- and post-BR immobilization as well as following 28 days of ambulatory recovery. The EndoPAT index increased from 1.53±0.09 (mean ± standard error of the mean) at baseline to 1.61±0.16 following immobilization (P=0.62) in the group with CCT. The EndoPAT index decreased from 2.06±0.13 (mean ± standard error of the mean) at baseline to 1.70±0.09 at the last day of BR study, day 14 (BR14) (P=0.09) in the control group. Additionally, there were no statistically significant differences between BR14 and at 28 days of follow-up (rehabilitation program) (R28). Our results show a trend of immobilization in older persons affecting the vasoconstrictory endothelial response. As the control subjects had a greater increase in EndoPAT index after R28 (+0.018) compared to subjects who had cognitive training (+0.11) (calculated from the first day of BR study), it is possible that cognitive training during BR does not improve endothelial function but rather contributes to slowing down the impairment of endothelial function. Finally, our results also show that EndoPAT may be a useful noninvasive tool to assess the vascular reactivity.


EndoPAT®; aging; bed rest; computerized cognitive training; spatial navigation; vascular changes

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