What: Canadian researchers recently reported that memory training significantly improved recall performance in a group of amnestic MCI patients (n=145). The MEMO+ training conducted included group-based training in mnemonic strategies, as well as attention control. The study, one of the first to offer a randomized, controlled intervention to test the impact of mnemonic training in individuals diagnosed with memory loss, found that those who took part in the training did better on test of delayed recall and strategies use in everyday life than subjects in psychosocial or no-contact control groups. The significant difference between the groups continued at 3 and 6 months re-evaluations following the study conclusion.
Why This Matters: To date there has been little evidence to support mnemonic training in adults diagnosed with memory loss, such as amnestic MCI. This study, while small, provides evidence in favor of group-based training in memory strategies and attention control techniques, which support learning. The continued efficacy of the training up to 6 months after its conclusion also points to the potential impact for such training on maintaining independence and quality of life.
The Takeaway: Given the minimal risk involved in learning memory strategies, we should consider expanding memory training to individuals with mild cognitive changes, who can benefit from using such techniques. Memory strategies can be easily and effectively taught across many settings when professionals and individuals are given the right tools to do so.
Belleville S, Hudon C, Bier N et al. MEMO+: Efficacy, Durability and Effect of Cognitive Training and Psychosocial Intervention in Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Jan 4. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15192. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29313875.