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Enhancing Latent Cognitive Capacity in Mild Cognitive Impairment with Gist Reasoning Training: A Pilot Study

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Raksha A. Mudar, Sandra B. Chapman, Audette Rackley, Justin Eroh, Hsueh‐Sheng Chiang, Alison Perez, Erin Venza and Jeffrey S. Spence

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Cognitive training offers a promising way to mitigate cognitive deterioration in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This randomized control pilot trial examined the effects of Gist Reasoning Training on cognition as compared with a training involving New Learning in a well‐characterized MCI group. Fifty participants with amnestic MCI were randomly assigned to the experimental Gist Training group or an active control New Learning group. Both groups received 8 hours of training over a 4‐week period. We compared pre‐training with post‐training changes in cognitive functions between the two training groups. The Gist Training group showed higher performance in executive function (strategic control and concept abstraction) and memory span compared with the New Learning group. Conversely, the New Learning group showed gains in memory for details. These findings suggest that cognitive training in general yields benefits. More specifically, training programs that target top-down cognitive functions such as gist reasoning may have a broad impact on improving cognition in MCI.

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Sandi Chapman with blue jacket and green/blue lights, horizontal. Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth, Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor

Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project

Audette Rackley is wearing a tan blouse with blue lights, vertical. Assistant Director of Strength-Based Programs

Audette Rackley, MS, CCC-SLP

Assistant Director, Strengths-Based Programs Research Clinician