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Speed of processing training protects self-rated health in older adults: enduring effects observed in the multi-site ACTIVE randomized controlled trial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2009

Fredric D. Wolinsky*
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.
Henry Mahncke
Affiliation:
Posit Science Corporation, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Mark W. Vander Weg
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.
Rene Martin
Affiliation:
Department of Adult Nursing, College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.A.
Frederick W. Unverzagt
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
Karlene K. Ball
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Richard N. Jones
Affiliation:
Research Department, Hebrew Senior Life, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Sharon L. Tennstedt
Affiliation:
Aging Studies, New England Research Institutes, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Fredric D. Wolinsky, Department of Health Management, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, E205-GH, Iowa City, IA 52242, U.S.A. Phone: +1 319 384 5129; Fax: +1 319 384 5125. Email: fredric-wolinsky@uiowa.edu.

Abstract

Background: We evaluated the effects of cognitive training on self-rated health at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years post-baseline.

Methods: In the ACTIVE (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) randomized controlled trial, 2,802 older adults (≥65 years) were randomly assigned to memory, reasoning, speed of processing, or no-contact control intervention groups. Complete data were available for 1,804 (64%) of the 2,802 participants at five years. A propensity score model was adjusted for attrition bias. The self-rated health question was coded using the Diehr et al. (2001) transformation (E = 95/VG = 90/G = 80/F = 30/P = 15), and analyzed with change-score regression models.

Results: The speed of processing (vs. no-contact control) group had statistically significant improvements (or protective effects) on changes in self-rated health at the 2, 3 and 5 year follow-ups. The 5-year improvement was 2.8 points (p = 0.03). No significant differences were observed in the memory or reasoning groups at any time.

Conclusion: The speed of processing intervention significantly protected self-rated health in ACTIVE, with the average benefit equivalent to half the difference between excellent vs. very good health.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2009

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