Effects of combined training on neuropsychiatric symptoms and quality of life in patients with cognitive decline

Train the Brain Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Cognitive impairments associated with aging and dementia are major sources of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPs) and deterioration in quality of life (QoL). Preventive measures to both reduce disease and improve QoL in those affected are increasingly targeting individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at early disease stage. However, NPs and QoL outcomes are too commonly overlooked in intervention trials. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of physical and cognitive training on NPs and QoL in MCI. Methods: Baseline data from an MCI court (N = 93, mean age 74.9 ± 4.7) enrolled in the Train the Brain (TtB) study were collected. Subjects were randomized in two groups: a group participated to a cognitive and physical training program, while the other sticked to usual standard care. Both groups underwent a follow-up re-evaluation after 7 months from baseline. NPs were assessed using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and QoL was assessed using Quality of Life-Alzheimer’s Disease (QOL-AD) scale. Results: After 7 months of training, training group exhibited a significant reduction of NPs and a significant increase in QOL-AD with respect to no-training group (p = 0.0155, p = 0.0013, respectively). Our preliminary results suggest that a combined training can reduce NPs and improve QoL. Conclusions: Measuring QoL outcomes is a potentially important factor in ensuring that a person with cognitive deficits can ‘live well’ with pathology. Future data from non-pharmacological interventions, with a larger sample and a longer follow-up period, could confirm the results and the possible implications for such prevention strategies for early cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1257
Number of pages9
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Non-pharmacological interventions
  • Physical and cognitive training
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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