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Front Aging Neurosci. 2015 Oct 13;7:187. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00187. eCollection 2015.

Cognitive training with and without additional physical activity in healthy older adults: cognitive effects, neurobiological mechanisms, and prediction of training success.

Author information

1
Center for Neuropsychological Diagnostics and Intervention (CeNDI), Institute of Gerontology, University of Vechta Vechta, Germany ; Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne Cologne, Germany.
2
Institute of Human Genetics, University Hospital Cologne Cologne, Germany.
3
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne Cologne, Germany ; Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-3), Research Center Jülich Jülich, Germany.
4
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne Cologne, Germany.
5
Department of Geriatrics, St. Franziskus Hospital Lohne Lohne, Germany.
6
Center for Neuropsychological Diagnostics and Intervention (CeNDI), Institute of Gerontology, University of Vechta Vechta, Germany.
7
Laboratory Services Laborarztpraxis Osnabrück Osnabrück, Germany.
8
Center for Neuropsychological Diagnostics and Intervention (CeNDI), Institute of Gerontology, University of Vechta Vechta, Germany ; Department of Medical Psychology, University Hospital Cologne Cologne, Germany.

Abstract

Data is inconsistent concerning the question whether cognitive-physical training (CPT) yields stronger cognitive gains than cognitive training (CT). Effects of additional counseling, neurobiological mechanisms, and predictors have scarcely been studied. Healthy older adults were trained with CT (n = 20), CPT (n = 25), or CPT with counseling (CPT+C; n = 23). Cognition, physical fitness, BDNF, IGF-1, and VEGF were assessed at pre- and post-test. No interaction effects were found except for one effect showing that CPT+C led to stronger gains in verbal fluency than CPT (p = 0.03). However, this superiority could not be assigned to additional physical training gains. Low baseline cognitive performance and BDNF, not carrying apoE4, gains in physical fitness and the moderation of gains in physical fitness × gains in BDNF predicted training success. Although all types of interventions seem successful to enhance cognition, our data do not support the hypotheses that CPT shows superior CT gains compared to CT or that CPT+C adds merit to CPT. However, as CPT leads to additional gains in physical fitness which in turn is known to have positive impact on cognition in the long-term, CPT seems more beneficial. Training success can partly be predicted by neuropsychological, neurobiological, and genetic parameters. Unique Identifier: WHO ICTRP (http://www.who.int/ictrp); ID: DRKS00005194.

KEYWORDS:

combined lifestyle intervention; moderator; motivation; neurobiological mechanisms; predictor

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