UT Dallas and Illinois study shows strategy-based learning can combat MCI

MCI is a preclinical stage for individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. | File photo

A recent study from the University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can improve their cognitive performance with strategy-based reasoning training.

“Changes in memory associated with MCI are often disconcerting, but cognitive challenges such as lapses in sound decision-making and judgment can have potentially worse consequences,” Center for BrainHealth Founder and Chief Director Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman said. “Interventions that mitigate cognitive deterioration without causing side effects may provide an additive, safe option for individuals who are worried about brain and memory changes.”

MCI is a preclinical stage for individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study comprised 50 adults with amnestic MCI, aged 54 to 94, who were divided into two groups. 

One received strategy-based training, including practical strategies as to how they could work to understand complex information, while the other, a new-learning control group, received training focused on learning about how the brain works. 

At the end of the study, the strategy group showed improved executive function, memory span and concept abstraction.

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