Effects of Computerized Cognitive Brain Training on Sleep, Arousal, and Daytime Functioning in Older Adults with Insomnia

2019 Focused Projects Grant for Junior Investigators

Ashley Curtis, PhD
University of Missouri

Key Project Outcomes

The relationship between worse sleep and worse cognitive performance and trajectory in older adults is established, but interventions for sleep and cognition in older adults have been largely investigated separately. Currently there are no pharmacological treatments for cognition, and behavioral insomnia treatments require trained therapists that are in short supply and are not widely accessible. Pharmacological treatments for insomnia contribute to polypharmacy,10 and are associated with adverse side effects such as increased risk of falls, and cognitive disturbance. Thus, evaluation of safe, easily accessible and disseminable interventions aimed at improving not only cognition, but also show promise for improving sleep, such as cognitive training, is warranted. This pilot project evaluated the effects of a 6-week cognitive training program (Nintendo DS Big Brain Academy) relative to a waitlist control on cognition and sleep outcomes in older adults with insomnia. Preliminary results show greater improvement on specific cognitive domains (working memory, verbal memory and inhibitory control) in the cognitive training vs. waitlist control. Sleep data is currently under analysis and the main outcomes manuscript is in preparation. Baseline data from this project has also resulted in several conference presentations.



The Role of Objective Sleep on Subjective and Objective Cognition in Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study