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A novel cognitive-motor exercise program delivered via a tablet to improve mobility in older people with cognitive impairment - StandingTall Cognition and Mobility
Background: Evidence-based interventions to improve mobility in older people include balance, strength and cognitive training. Digital technologies provide the opportunity to deliver tailored and progressive programs at home. However, it is unknown if they are effective in older people, especially in those with cognitive impairment.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of a novel tablet-delivered cognitive-motor program on mobility in older people with cognitive impairment.
Methods: This was a 6-month single-blind randomised controlled trial of older people living in the community with subjective and/or objective cognitive impairment. Participants randomised to the intervention were asked to follow a 120 min per week balance, strength and cognitive training program delivered via an app on an iPad. Both the intervention and control group received monthly phone calls and health fact sheets. The primary outcome measure was gait speed. Secondary measures included dual-task gait speed, balance (step test, FISCIT-4), 5 sit to stand test, cognition (executive function, memory, attention), mood and balance confidence. Adherence, safety, usability and feedback were also measured.
Results: The planned sample size of 110 was not reached due to COVID-19 restrictions. A total of 93 (mean age 72.8 SD 7.0 years) participants were randomised to the two groups. Of these 77 participants returned to the follow-up clinic. In intention-to-treat analysis for gait speed, there was a non-significant improvement favouring the intervention group (β 0.04 m/s 95% CI -0.01, 0.08). There were no significant findings for secondary outcomes. Adherence was excellent (84.5%), usability of the app high (76.7% SD 15.3) and no serious adverse events were reported. Feedback on the app was positive and included suggestions for future updates.
Conclusion: Due to COVID-19 the trial was under powered to detect significant results. Despite this, there was a trend towards improvement in the primary outcome measure. The excellent adherence and positive feedback about the app suggest a fully powered trial is warranted.
Publication titleExperimental Gerontology
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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