The purpose of this study was to investigate if multi-domain cognitive training, especially robot-assisted training, alters cortical thickness in the brains of elderly participants. A controlled trial was conducted with 85 volunteers without cognitive impairment who were 60 years old or older. Participants were first randomized into two groups. One group consisted of 48 participants who would receive cognitive training and 37 who would not receive training. The cognitive training group was randomly divided into two groups, 24 who received traditional cognitive training and 24 who received robot-assisted cognitive training. The training for both groups consisted of daily 90-min-session, five days a week for a total of 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the changes in cortical thickness. When compared to the control group, both groups who underwent cognitive training demonstrated attenuation of age related cortical thinning in the frontotemporal association cortices. When the robot and the traditional interventions were directly compared, the robot group showed less cortical thinning in the anterior cingulate cortices. Our results suggest that cognitive training can mitigate age-associated structural brain changes in the elderly.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. S.W. Seo received research support from the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, Korea. Dr. D.L. Na received research support from Gaha Corporation through a research grant to Samsung Medical Center, and a grant from the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, Korea. All other authors report no disclosures. We do not have any other relevant relationships including employment, consultancy, products in development, marketed products or patent rights from Gaha Corporation. Although Samsung Medical Center has made a contract with Gaha Corporation to receive a royalty from Robocare for the software programs fitted in the robot, none of the authors including Dr. Na benefit from this personally. The authors declare that neither funding from Gaha Corporation nor the reception of royalty from Robocare alters the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.
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