Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Transfer of cognitive training gains in cognitively healthy aging: mechanisms and modulators


Multicenter study funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Cognitive training will lead to improved cognitive performance even in advanced age. However, often training gains remain restricted to the task that was trained in the elderly, and seldom lead to improvement in other cognitive domains. We have shown that transfer of cognitive training gains in elderly subjects is predicted by the integrity of interhemispheric connectivity. Considering this finding, we aimed to deepen the investigation of neurobiological mechanisms of transfer within the scope of a multicenter study using structural and functional MRI. Furthermore, impact of physical activity, a commonly recognized modulator of neuroplasticity, as well as the impact of cerebro-vascular lesions and cortical amyoid on transfer will be investigated.
The results of the study will provide an important contribution to future basic clinical and health care research evaluating training strategies for the enhancement and preservation of cognitive performance in aging. The project will be funded with close to €11 million over a period of 4 years by the BMBF. Data acquisition is scheduled to begin at the start of 2016. Prof. Andreas Fellgiebel (Clinic of psychiatry and psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz) will serve as the principal investigator of the study. The trial coordinator of the study will be Dr. D. Wolf (Clinic of psychiatry and psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz). The study partners are Prof. Dr. O. Tüscher (Clinic of psychiatry and psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz), PD Dr. B. Baier (Clinic of neurology, University Medical Center Mainz), Prof. Dr. H. Binder (Institute of medical biometry, epidemiology and informatics, University Mainz), Prof. Dr. H. Strüder and Dr. A. Mierau (Institute of Movement and Neuroscience, German sport university Cologne), Prof. Dr. A. Drzezga (Clinic and polyclinic of nuclear medicine, University Medical Center Cologne) and Prof. Dr. Stefan Teipel (Clinic of psychosomatic and psychotherapeutic medicine, University Rostock and DZNE Rostock).