Cognitive intervention across the lifespan

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Psychology

Abstract

Cognitive impairment can have a devastating impact on an individual's wellbeing across the lifespan, in both healthy individuals and patients. This is particularly true in age-related cognitive decline, which also has a large impact upon society and the economy. Fortunately, attempts to ameliorate such impairments with scientifically informed cognitive interventions have been promising. Cognitive training (practicing cognitive tasks) has produced improvements in children with developmental disorders, in older adults, and in patients with brain injury. Lifestyle changes, brain stimulation and the use of learned strategies and assistive technologies are extremely encouraging interventions but the time is right for a review and forward look.

The field now faces several challenges. In order to develop useful cognitive interventions, they need to be tailored to individual needs to maximise transferable benefits, but also user-friendly to promote compliance. The proposed seminar series will meet this need by bringing together leading scientists to offer insights from neuroscience and psychology and AgeUK to offer insights into end-user needs.

The seminar series will also foster collaboration among researchers in different disciplines, who adopt different approaches to cognitive intervention, and target different types of cognitive impairment. It is anticipated that this knowledge sharing will lead to demonstrable impact, for example, in changing guidelines regarding the role of multi-approach cognitive interventions that take advantage of the latest neuroscience methods.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit and how?

1) Individuals with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. It is anticipated that the seminar series will lead to the development of effective and informed cognitive interventions to reduce the debilitating effects of cognitive impairment and improve well-being and quality of life. The seminar series will cover cognitive impairment associated with developmental disorders, brain injury and healthy aging, and involve leading academics at the forefront of research into these areas. Our partnership with AgeUK will be particularly important for maximising impact. AgeUK have a wide network of influence and will promote important research findings throughout this network.

2) Society and the economy. In 2007, cognitive decline associated with ageing was estimated to cost the UK over £26 billion per year ("Dementia UK Update" - a report for the Alzheimer's Society, 2014). Average life expectancy in the UK is increasing at more than five hours a day ("Rejuvenating Ageing Research" - a report by the Academy of Medical Sciences, 2009). Therefore it is important to develop scientifically informed strategies to overcome such decline and reduce the associated societal and economic burden. Similarly, developmental disorders and brain injury are associated with both a societal and economic cost. For example, it was estimated that the annual societal cost of ADHD in America is $42.5 billion (Pelham, Foster, Robb, 2007). Research suggests that cognitive intervention can not only improve cognition, but also help to reduce clinical symptoms (Klingberg et al. 2005), thus offering the potential to significantly reduce this societal cost. To ensure that the results of the seminar series have maximal impact, we will involve leading, influential researchers with a wealth of experience in the relevant clinical groups, and aim to share our findings by high impact publications and presentations at conferences. Again, AgeUK's wide network of influence will enabl our findings relating to age-related cognitive decline to achieve maximum impact.

3) Other researchers. Should a combined, interdisciplinary approach to cognitive intervention offer greater benefit in terms of reducing cognitive impairment, this would move the field of cognitive intervention into a new direction, leading to more research and greater impact. We will ensure that our findings are communicated to other researchers globally through high impact publications and conferences. We aim to put together a symposium for the Society for Neurosciences conference, 2017.

References

Klingberg T, Fernell E, Olesen P, Johnson M, Gustafsson P, Dahlström K, Gillberg CG, Forssberg H, Westerberg H (2005). Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD - a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 44(2), 177-186

Pelham, W.E., Foster, E.M., Robb, J.A. (2007) The Economic Impact of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 711-727

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/N008340/1 17/11/2015 19/05/2016 £30,171
ES/N008340/2 Transfer ES/N008340/1 20/05/2016 19/11/2017 £20,263
 
Description One seminar was delivered while I was at Birmingham University:

1) Cognitive Training in Children - MRC CBU Cambridge - hosted by Professor Susan Gathercole - 11th - 12th January 2016.
http://calm.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/esrc-seminar-on-cognitive-training-in-children/
https://sites.google.com/site/idcnlab/blog/summaryofesrcseminaroncognitivetraininginchildrenmrc-cbu11-12jan2016
Exploitation Route One new collaboration has begun as a result of this first seminar.
Alan Baddeley, Edmund Sonuga-Barke, Susan Gathercole and Fiona McNab have started a new research project on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This brings together researchers who specialise in ADHD (ES-B), in cognition in children (SG), and in cognition in adults (AB and FM). As a result of ES-B's talk in Cambridge, and post-talk discussions, AB had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Sectors Education,Healthcare

URL http://calm.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/esrc-seminar-on-cognitive-training-in-children/
 
Description A study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC)
Department MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As a result of Edmund Sonuga-Barke's talk in Cambridge, and post-talk discussions, Alan Baddeley had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Collaborator Contribution Alan Baddeley had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Impact This project is still in the planning stage.
Start Year 2016
 
Description A study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As a result of Edmund Sonuga-Barke's talk in Cambridge, and post-talk discussions, Alan Baddeley had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Collaborator Contribution Alan Baddeley had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Impact This project is still in the planning stage.
Start Year 2016
 
Description A study of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 
Organisation University of York
Department Department of Psychology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As a result of Edmund Sonuga-Barke's talk in Cambridge, and post-talk discussions, Alan Baddeley had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Collaborator Contribution Alan Baddeley had the idea of adopting a new approach to measuring ADHD, and incorporating ideas various new ideas about cognitive energy and creativity. We are now designing an collaborative study to address these ideas.
Impact This project is still in the planning stage.
Start Year 2016
 
Description The first seminar "Cognitive Training in Children" included delegates working in education (special needs coordinators in schools etc). 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Cognitive Training in Children" - MRC CBU Cambridge - hosted by Professor Susan Gathercole - 11th - 12th January 2016.

The seminar included delegates from academia and education (including special needs coordinators and representatives from schools). Following the talks, both groups contributed to the discussion, drawing upon their own experiences and areas of expertise.

http://calm.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/esrc-seminar-on-cognitive-training-in-children/

https://sites.google.com/site/idcnlab/blog/summaryofesrcseminaroncognitivetraininginchildrenmrc-cbu11-12jan2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://calm.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/esrc-seminar-on-cognitive-training-in-children/