Investigators from Maastricht University Medical Centre in The Netherlands reviewed the efficacy of cognitive intervention studies with the aging population, assessing earlier reviews by taking into account the methodological quality of the studies.
They performed a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCT) and clinical studies published between August 2007 and February 2012 in Pubmed and PsychINFO. The quality of the included RCTs was assessed according to the CONSORT criteria for RCTs. A total of thirty-five studies were included; twenty-seven RTCs and eight clinical studies.
The content of the intervention studies differed widely, as did the methodological quality of the included RCTs.

The results show evidence that cognitive training can be effective in improving various aspects of objective cognitive functioning; memory performance, executive functioning, processing speed, attention, fluid intelligence, and subjective cognitive performance.
However, the issue of whether the effects of cognitive interventions can be generalized to include improvement in everyday life activities is still unresolved and needs to be addressed more explicitly in future research.

Citation: Reijnders J, van Heugten C, van Boxtel M. Cognitive interventions in healthy older adults and people with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review. Ageing Research Reviews. 2013 Jan;12 (1): pages 263-75. Epub 2012 Jul 25. [email protected]