Evaluation of the Implementation and Effectiveness of Community-Based Brain-Computer Interface Cognitive Group Training in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Randomized Controlled Implementation Trial
Background: Cognitive training can improve cognition in healthy older adults.
Objective: The objectives are to evaluate the implementation of community-based computerized cognitive training (CCT) and its effectiveness on cognition, gait, and balance in healthy older adults.
Methods: A single-blind randomized controlled trial with baseline and follow-up assessments was conducted at two community centers in Singapore. Healthy community-dwelling adults aged 55 years and older participated in a 10-week CCT program with 2-hour instructor-led group classes twice a week. Participants used a mobile app to play games targeting attention, memory, decision making, visuospatial abilities, and cognitive flexibility. Implementation was assessed at the participant, provider, and community level (eg, reach, implementation, and facilitators and barriers). Effectiveness measures were the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), Color Trails Test 2 (CTT-2), Berg Balance Scale, and GAITRite walkway measures (single and dual task gait speed, dual task cost, and single and dual task gait variability index [GVI]).
Results: A total of 94 healthy community-dwelling adults participated in the CCT program (mean age 68.8 [SD 6.3] years). Implementation measures revealed high reach (125/155, 80.6%) and moderate adherence but poor penetration of sedentary older adults (43/125, 34.4%). The effectiveness data were based on intention-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (PP) analysis. In the ITT analysis, single task GVI increased (b=2.32, P=.02, 95% CI [0.30 to 4.35]) and RBANS list recognition subtest deteriorated (b=–0.57, P=.01, 95% CI [–1.00 to –0.14]) in both groups. In the PP analysis, time taken to complete CTT-2 (b=–13.5, P=.01, 95% CI [–23.95 to –3.14]; Cohen d effect size = 0.285) was faster in the intervention group. Single task gait speed was not statistically significantly maintained in the intervention group (b=5.38, P=.06, 95% CI [–0.30 to 11.36]) and declined in the control group (Cohen d effect size = 0.414). PP analyses also showed interaction terms for RBANS list recall subtest (b=–0.36, P=.08, 95% CI [–0.75 to 0.04]) and visuospatial domain (b=0.46, P=.08, 95% CI [–0.05 to 0.96]) that were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: CCT can be implemented in community settings to improve attention and executive function among healthy older adults. Findings help to identify suitable healthy aging programs that can be implemented on a larger scale within communities.