By 2050, Turkey is expected to be the country with the fourth-highest dementia rates relative to the population. As current medications for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are not able to change the disease course, identification of new strategies that may improve cognitive functions in individuals at risk of developing dementia, such as those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is of critical importance.
A recent study showed that cognitive training based on speed of processing reduced the risk of dementia in healthy older adults followed up to 10 years. Cognitive interventions have potential to delay the onset of functional decline and dementia in healthy older adults, but their effects and corresponding mechanisms of action in MCI are not clear.
This pilot will address the role of cognitive training in preventing and/or delaying conversion from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. The proposed pilot project will be a single-blind experimental trial investigating if the speed of processing training reduces cognitive decline and/or delays the progression to dementia by building cognitive reserve in individuals with amnestic MCI relative to the active control condition.
Moreover, the training-induced structural and functional changes in the brain will be examined by structural and functional neuroimaging taken at intervals throughout the study course. The present study has the potential to improve treatment and care for individuals at high risk for dementia, as well as to generate and distribute knowledge to advance the field.