The design, evaluation, and reporting on non-pharmacological, cognition-oriented treatments for older adults: Results of a survey of experts

Sharon Sanz Simon, Mary Castellani, Sylvie Belleville, Tzvi Dwolatzky, Benjamin M. Hampstead, Alex Bahar-Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cognitive decline and dementia significantly affect independence and quality of life in older adults; therefore, it is critical to identify effective cognition-oriented treatments (COTs; eg, cognitive training, rehabilitation) that can help maintain or enhance cognitive functioning in older adults, as well as reduce dementia risk or alleviate symptoms associated with pathological processes. Methods: The Cognitive Intervention Design Evaluation and Reporting (CIDER), a working group from the Non-Pharmacological Interventions Professional Interest Area (NPI-PIA) of the Alzheimer's Association conducted as survey in 2017 with experts in COTs worldwide. The survey's aims were three-fold: (1) determine the common attitudes, beliefs, and practices of experts involved in the COTs research targeting older people; (2) identify areas of relative agreement and disagreement among experts in the field; and (3) offer a critical review of the literature, including recommendations for future research. Results: The survey identified several areas of agreements among experts on critical features of COTs, and on study design and outcome measures. Nevertheless, there were some areas with relative disagreement. Critically, expert opinions were not always supported by scientific evidence, suggesting that methodologic improvements are needed regarding design, implementation, and reporting of COTs. There was a clear consensus that COTs provide benefits and should be offered to cognitively unimpaired older adults, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and mild dementia, but opinions differed for moderate and severe dementia. In addition, there is no consensus on the potential role of COTs in dementia prevention, indicating that future research should prioritize this aspect. Discussion: Evidence of COTs in older adults is encouraging, but additional evidence is needed to enhance dementia prevention. Consensus building and guidelines in the field are critical to improve and accelerate the development of high-quality evidence for COTs in cognitively unimpaired older adults, and those with MCI and dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12024
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • aging
  • cognitive intervention
  • cognitive rehabilitation
  • cognitive stimulation
  • cognitive training
  • dementia
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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