Dual task measures in older adults with and without cognitive impairment: response to simultaneous cognitive-exercise training and minimal clinically important difference estimates

I. Chen Chen, I. Ching Chuang, Ku Chou Chang, Chih Hung Chang, Ching Yi Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Responsiveness and minimal clinically important difference (MCID) are critical indices to understand whether observed improvement represents a meaningful improvement after intervention. Although simultaneous cognitive-exercise training (SCET; e.g., performing memory tasks while cycling) has been suggested to enhance the cognitive function of older adults, responsiveness and MCID have not been established. Hence, we aimed to estimate responsiveness and MCIDs of two dual task performance involving cognition and hand function in older adults with and without cognitive impairment and to compare the differences in responsiveness and MCIDs of the two dual task performance between older adults with and without cognitive impairment. Methods: A total of 106 older adults completed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and two dual tasks before and after SCET. One dual task was a combination of Serial Sevens Test and Box and Block Test (BBT), and the other included frequency discrimination and BBT. We used effect size and standardized response mean to indicate responsiveness and used anchor- and distribution-based approaches to estimating MCID ranges. When conducting data analysis, all participants were classified into two cognitive groups, cognitively healthy (Montreal Cognitive Assessment ≥ 26) and cognitively impaired (Montreal Cognitive Assessment < 26) groups, based on the scores of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment before SCET. Results: In the cognitively healthy group, Serial Seven Test performance when tasked with BBT and BBT performance when tasked with Serial Seven Test were responsive to SCET (effect size = 0.18–0.29; standardized response mean = 0.25–0.37). MCIDs of Serial Seven Test performance when tasked with BBT ranged 2.09–2.36, and MCIDs of BBT performance when tasked with Serial Seven Test ranged 3.77–5.85. In the cognitively impaired group, only frequency discrimination performance when tasked with BBT was responsive to SCET (effect size = 0.37; standardized response mean = 0.47). MCIDs of frequency discrimination performance when tasked with BBT ranged 1.47–2.18, and MCIDs of BBT performance when tasked with frequency discrimination ranged 1.13–7.62. Conclusions: Current findings suggest that a change in Serial Seven Test performance when tasked with BBT between 2.09 and 2.36 corrected number (correct responses – incorrect responses) should be considered a meaningful change for older adults who are cognitively healthy, and a change in frequency discrimination performance when tasked with BBT between 1.47 and 2.18 corrected number (correct responses – incorrect responses) should be considered a meaningful change for older adults who are cognitively impaired. Clinical practitioners may use these established MCIDs of dual tasks involving cognition and hand function to interpret changes following SCET for older adults with and without cognitive impairment. Trial registration: NCT04689776, 30/12/2020.

Original languageEnglish
Article number663
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dual task performance
  • Minimal clinically important difference
  • Older adults
  • Responsiveness
  • Simultaneous cognitive-exercise training

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