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Aging Ment Health. 2017 May;21(5):454-467. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1132677. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Computer-based cognitive interventions for people living with dementia: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis.

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a Departamento de Psicología Básica, Psicobiología y Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.
b Department of Psychiatry, Burgos University Hospital, Burgos, Spain.
c Center for Gerontology , University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
d Institute of Mental Health, University College London , London, United Kingdom.
e Department of Psychiatry , Zamora Hospital, Zamora, Spain.
f Institute of Mental Health , University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.



To estimate the efficacy of computer-based cognitive interventions for improving cognition in people with dementia (PWD).


Online literature databases were searched for relevant studies. Interventions were categorised as follows: cognitive recreation, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive stimulation or cognitive training. A systematic review, quality assessment and meta-analyses were conducted.


Twelve studies were identified. Their methodological quality was acceptable according to Downs & Black criteria, the weakest methodological area being the external validity. The meta-analyses indicated cognitive interventions lead to beneficial effects on cognition in PWD (SMD 0.69; 95% CI = 1.02-0.37; P < 0.0001; I(2) = 29%), [corrected] depression (SMD 0.47; 95% CI = 0.16-0.78; P = 0.003; I(2) = 0%) and anxiety (SMD 0.55; 95% CI = 0.07-1.04; P < 0.03; I(2) = 42%). [corrected]. They benefited significantly more from the computer-based cognitive interventions than from the non-computer-based interventions in cognition (SMD 0.48; 95% CI = 0.09-0.87; [corrected] P = 0.02; I(2) = 2%).


Computer-based cognitive interventions have moderate effects in cognition and [corrected] anxiety and small effects in depression in PWD. No significant effects were found on activities of daily living. They led to superior results compared to non-computer-based interventions in cognition. Further research is needed on cognitive recreation and cognitive stimulation. There is also a need for longer term [corrected] follow-up to examine the potential retention of treatment effects, and for the design of specific outcome measures.


Alzheimer disease; Cognitive rehabilitation; cognitive stimulation; computer; dementia

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