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      Training Older Adults to Use Tablet Computers: Does It Enhance Cognitive Function?

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          Abstract

          Purpose of the Study:

          Recent evidence shows that engaging in learning new skills improves episodic memory in older adults. In this study, older adults who were computer novices were trained to use a tablet computer and associated software applications. We hypothesize that sustained engagement in this mentally challenging training would yield a dual benefit of improved cognition and enhancement of everyday function by introducing useful skills.

          Design and Methods:

          A total of 54 older adults (age 60-90) committed 15 hr/week for 3 months. Eighteen participants received extensive iPad training, learning a broad range of practical applications. The iPad group was compared with 2 separate controls: a Placebo group that engaged in passive tasks requiring little new learning; and a Social group that had regular social interaction, but no active skill acquisition. All participants completed the same cognitive battery pre- and post-engagement.

          Results:

          Compared with both controls, the iPad group showed greater improvements in episodic memory and processing speed but did not differ in mental control or visuospatial processing.

          Implications:

          iPad training improved cognition relative to engaging in social or nonchallenging activities. Mastering relevant technological devices have the added advantage of providing older adults with technological skills useful in facilitating everyday activities (e.g., banking). This work informs the selection of targeted activities for future interventions and community programs.

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          Most cited references 27

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          "Mini-mental state". A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician.

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            “Mini-mental state”

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              Effects of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a nonsearch task

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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                Center for Vital Longevity, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas.
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to Micaela Y. Chan, Center for Vital Longevity, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1600 Viceroy Drive, Suite 800, Dallas, TX 75235. E-mail: mchan@ 123456utdallas.edu

                Decision Editor: Rachel Pruchno, PhD

                Journal
                Gerontologist
                Gerontologist
                geront
                geront
                The Gerontologist
                Oxford University Press (US )
                0016-9013
                1758-5341
                June 2016
                13 June 2014
                13 June 2014
                : 56
                : 3 , In This Issue: Depression Caregiving Use of Technology
                : 475-484
                24928557 4873760 10.1093/geront/gnu057
                © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

                Counts
                Pages: 10
                Funding
                Funded by: National Institute on Aging http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000049
                Award ID: 5R01AG026589-02
                Categories
                Research Article

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