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Strategic Training to Optimize Neurocognitive Functions in Older Adults


This trial will evaluate a cognitive training approach in older adults who are cognitively normal to delay the onset of memory-related disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. The training will involve attentional control, the ability to focus on certain stimuli while avoiding others, during short-term memory exercises.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
18 Years 85 Years All Yes
September 30, 2018
August 31, 2020

  • At least a 10th grade education
  • Learned English before age 5
  • Not pregnant or likely to be pregnant
  • Right-handed
  • Mini-Mental State Examination score of 26 or greater (for older adults only) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment score of 24 or more (for older adults only)
  • Physical and sensory ability to undertake a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study

  • Color blindness assessed by the Ishihara test
  • Visual acuity of less than 20/30 on the Snellen eye chart after correction
  • Diagnosis of any major psychiatric or neurologic disorders
  • History of cardiovascular disease other than treated high blood pressure
  • Illness or trauma affecting the central nervous system
  • Substance/alcohol abuse and medication with anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, or hypnotics other than occasionally at bedtime
  • Evidence of pathology (e.g. infarctions) on MRI scan

Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups involving game-based simulations. The first two groups will engage in experimenter-designed simulation games, in which participants will be trained on either predictable low attentional control or unpredictable high attentional control working memory games. The third group will use a commercially available strategy game requiring the highest level of attentional control by adding multi-tasking to the unpredictable attentional shifts in working memory. In all three training groups, researchers will measure changes in memory and executive function (related to planning and organizing) just after training and 6 months later.

In addition, neuroimaging data will be collected in a control group of younger adults, as well as older adult participants. Researchers will use neuroimaging data to compare the effects of training on brain structures.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
The Center for Vital Longevity (UT Dallas)
Dallas Texas 75235 Recruiting Evan T Smith, MA

The University of Texas at Dallas

  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Name Role Affiliation
Chandramallika Basak, PhD Principal Investigator The University of Texas at Dallas

Name Phone Email
Evan T. Smith 972-883-3761
Paulina Skolasinska 972-883-3777


Strategic Training to Optimize Neurocognitive Functions in Older Adults