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

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International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

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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Overview

Cognitive training offers a promising way to mitigate cognitive deterioration in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This randomized controlled pilot trial examined the effects of gist reasoning training in a well‐characterized MCI group upon cognitive performance, in comparison with training centered on new learning. Fifty participants with amnestic MCI were randomly assigned either 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. Comparing pre‐ and post‐training changes in cognitive functions between the two training groups, gist training correlated to 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, programs targeting top-down cognitive functions, such as gist reasoning, may have a broader impact on improving cognition in MCI.
Figure 2. Gist Training showed (i) trends towards increased post‐assessment means from baseline relative to New Learning training for (a) similarities scaled score (b) logical memory raw score, and (ii) a reduction in number of subjective memory mistakes.

Figure 2. Gist Training showed (i) trends towards increased post‐assessment means from baseline relative to New Learning training for (a) similarities scaled score (b) logical memory raw score, and (ii) a reduction in number of subjective memory mistakes.

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Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

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

Audette Rackley, MS, CCC-SLP

Assistant Director, Strengths-Based Programs Research Clinician

Erin Venza, MS, CCC-SLP

Head of Clinical Operations

Jeffrey S. Spence, PhD

Director of Biostatistics


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