Introduction: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is characterized by cognitive decline, prodromal to dementia. However, no medications currently exist. However, research suggests intervention techniques like exercise and cognitive training to slow MCI-progression. The purpose of this research protocol is to determine whether these intervention techniques work more efficiently in combination or separately.
Methods: 80 participants with MCI will be recruited and divided into four groups of 20 participants each; Group-1 will be exposed to cognitive training, Group-2 will be exposed to aerobic exercise, Group-3 will be exposed to both, and Group-4 will be exposed to none. All participants will write a series of cognitive tests that establish a baseline cognition level. After six-months of training, participants will rewrite the tests. An analysis of variance will be done on pre- and post-test scores to identify the strategy that produces the most positive change.
Results: Since past literature has found that cognitive training and physical exercise effectively slow cognitive decline, it can be anticipated that a combination of both will be more effective than either intervention alone. It can also be anticipated that all groups involving cognitive training and physical exercise, either alone or in combination, will experience more positive change on their post-test scores than the controls.
Discussion: Literature suggests that a combination of two effective interventions may be more effective than either alone; a study examining the impact of two interventions on falls and cognition in individuals with MCI found both interventions together was the most effective treatment. By conducting a longitudinal study involving a Control-group and multiple cognition-screening tests, this protocol enables the investigation of another possible treatment avenue for individuals with MCI.
Conclusion: By examining the interaction between two effective treatment methods for MCI, a condition without medications, this study provides individuals with MCI an additional treatment route that may slow cognitive decline. To permit generalization, future studies should be conducted using larger participant pools that are matched for demographic factors.
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