Briana Sprague, PhD, discusses her findings of positive outcomes for older adults who have experienced a fall and then engaged in speed of processing cognitive training.
While we were not able to identify a relationship between cognitive training and fall risk among the full sample, we were able to find that doing the speed of processing training, if you were in that group and you were what we called high risk, or those were individuals who had experienced a fall before baseline, you did get benefit over the ten-year period such that you were at a decreased risk for falls.
We looked at three cognitive training programs. The first is called speed of processing training, and what this training does is it tries to get you to respond more quickly to stimuli or things that you’re supposed to pay attention to and disregard things that you’re not supposed to attend to.
There’s been a growing body of literature demonstrating that there’s a relationship between cognitive function and what we call physical function. And these are things like how well you move in the world around you. And so, with falls being a particularly important outcome for older adults and related to mobility, we were curious about whether cognitive training can benefit physical outcomes, particularly falls. We had data that we’re able to look at this across ten years. Which is incredibly exciting and not common in the field. So that’s what prompted us to look at this.