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Aging brain: the effect of combined cognitive and physical training on cognition as compared to cognitive and physical training alone – a systematic review

Authors Joubert C, Chainay H

Received 13 February 2018

Accepted for publication 6 April 2018

Published 20 July 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 1267—1301

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S165399

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Clémence Joubert, Hanna Chainay

Laboratory for the Study of Cognitive Mechanisms, University of Lyon 2, Lyon, France

Abstract: This review presents a critical examination of current knowledge of the impact of combined cognitive and physical training on cognition in healthy elderly subjects. The objectives are to evaluate the contribution of cognitive and physical training to the enhancement of cognition, and to determine the interest of combining these two training types in one intervention in terms of the benefits for cognition (direct and transfer), long-term maintenance, and transfer to daily living. To do so, a systematic electronic search was conducted in PubMed and Google Scholar. Exclusion criteria were animal and pathological aging studies. We focused on the shared and different behavioral impacts of these two types of training on cognition, as well as their functional and structural impact on the brain. The review indicates that both cognitive and physical training have an impact on cognition and on the brain. However, each type of training seems to preferentially enhance different cognitive functions and specifically impact both brain structure and function. Even though some results argue in favor of a complementarity between cognitive and physical training and the superiority of combined cognitive and physical training, the current state of knowledge does not permit any definitive conclusion. Thus, the present review indicates the need for additional investigations.

Keywords: cognitive training, physical training, combined cognitive-and-physical training, healthy adults

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