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Can physical and cognitive training based on episodic memory be combined in a new protocol for daily training?

  • Martina MaselliEmail author
  • Laura Fiorini
  • Francesca Cecchi
  • Emanuela Castro
  • Raffaele Esposito
  • Filippo Cavallo
  • Gianmaria Mancioppi
  • Saverio Ottino
  • Francesca Pinori
  • Marco Timpano Sportiello
  • Cecilia Laschi
Original Article
  • 38 Downloads

Abstract

Background

Cognitive training (CT) is defined as guided practice on a set of standard tasks designed to stimulate particular cognitive functions. Recent studies have shown that physical exercise is beneficial for cognitive activity in older adults and patients with degenerative diseases.

Aims

The main objective of the present study is to create a new cognitive tool able to provide training for cognitive functions that take advantage of the physical activity involved in the execution of the task. A study concerning the application of a new CT tool for episodic memory is presented and divided in two parts. The first one aims at developing a new sensorized device, called SmartTapestry, for physical and cognitive training. The second part aims at understanding its technical viability and level of sensitivity in stimulating the same cognitive domain covered by the standardized tests, despite the introduction of the physical activity variable.

Methods

The SmartTapestry device was tested with a total of 53 subjects, 29 healthy subjects and 24 subjects suffering from mild cognitive impairment.

Results and discussions

The results show a good correlation between the two approaches (p < 0.005), suggesting that SmartTapestry can stimulate the same cognitive functions of traditional cognitive tasks, with the addition of physical exercise.

Conclusions

The results of this study may be useful in designing ecological and combined cognitive-physical tools, which can be used daily at home, reducing the presence of clinical staff, to train at the same time the brain and the body so as to improve the cognitive treatments efficacy.

Keywords

Combined cognitive-motor exercise Elderly Sensorized cognitive tool SmartTapestry tool 

Abbreviations

CT

Cognitive training

MCI

Mild cognitive impairment

VPA

Verbal paired associated

WMS-IV

Wechsler Memory Scale-Fourth Edition

ROM

Range of motion

TCT

Traditional cognitive tasks

SUS

System usability scale

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by TIM S.p.A., Services Innovation Department—Joint Open Lab initiative. The authors thank Ms. Irene Mannari for her precious contributions in the mechanical realization of the system prototype, and also thank the clinical team (Ilenia Natola, Luca Tommasini, Cristiana Parrini, Chiara Rossi, Stefania Tocchini) of Laboratory of Neuropsychology of Pontedera (USL nordovest Toscana) for their clinical support during the protocol definition and during the experimentation phase.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

The study design and protocol, including subject privacy and sensitive data treatment, were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Maselli
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Laura Fiorini
    • 1
  • Francesca Cecchi
    • 1
  • Emanuela Castro
    • 1
  • Raffaele Esposito
    • 1
  • Filippo Cavallo
    • 1
  • Gianmaria Mancioppi
    • 1
  • Saverio Ottino
    • 2
  • Francesca Pinori
    • 2
  • Marco Timpano Sportiello
    • 3
  • Cecilia Laschi
    • 1
  1. 1.The BioRobotics InstituteScuola Superiore Sant’ AnnaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Surgical, Medical and Molecular Pathology and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.Laboratory of NeuropsychologyUSL Nordovest ToscanaPisaItaly

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