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CogNet: Developing and evaluating an online Healthy Brain Ageing psychoeducation and cognitive training intervention for older adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment

This feasibility pilot study will evaluate whether a structured Healthy Brain Ageing (HBA) cognitive training (CT) and psychoeducation program delivered as an online intervention (i.e. CogNet) is efficacious for cognitive performance.

We welcome people over the age of 50 with memory or cognitive difficulties to participate in this study. This study is a two-arm randomised trial with a 50:50 chance of being allocated to the CogNet program (online psychoeducation and cognitive training program), or a waitlist control group (treatment as usual).

The CogNet program is delivered in 12 modules, completed over 6-weeks. Each module includes education and practical instruction on a variety of strategies targeting cognition and medical or lifestyle factors known to affect cognition and wellbeing (e.g. mood, sleep quality, etc.). Those randomised to the waitlist control group will be offered the CogNet program after completion of the 6-week control period.

At baseline, all participants will complete an online assessment including self-report questionnaires assessing medical and psychiatric history, and a web-based cognitive assessment which will measure various aspects of your memory and thinking skills. Within two weeks of completing the last module (i.e. after finishing the full 6-week program), you will be asked to complete the same assessments as at baseline, as well as some questionnaires asking about your satisfaction with the CogNet program and the usability of the online intervention.

Eligibility

You may be eligible to participate in this study if the following applies:

Inclusion criteria:

  • Have subjective concerns about their cognition.
  • Screen positive for Mild Cognitive Impairment based on telephone screening, based on a score of <33 on the Memory and Ageing Telephone Screen (MATS) and/or performance 1.5 standard deviations below age-matched peers on any of the gold standard neuropsychological tests.
  • Be ≥50 years at the time of baseline assessment.
  • Be willing to a complete a 6-week psychoeducation and cognitive training program online, comprising two sessions per week. 
  • Be willing to complete an online follow-up assessment within two weeks of completing the intervention or control period. 
  • Have sufficient hearing ability to communicate via telephone.

Exclusion criteria:

  • Have a formal or suspected diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorder, including Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, or Lewy-Body Dementia.
  • Have a history of stroke.
  • Have other major neurological or medical problems known to affect cognition (e.g. epilepsy, cancer, ADHD).
  • Have a history of head injury with loss of consciousness >30-minutes.
  • Have an intellectual disability.
  • Have insufficient English language skills for neuropsychological assessment which is conducted in English.
  • Have a history of non-affective psychiatric illness (e.g. schizophrenia, psychosis).
  • Current/past alcohol or substance dependence (other than nicotine).
  • Current use of other psychological or computerised CT therapy (internet or clinician- delivered).

How to participate

If you are interested in assisting with this important and exciting area of research, or have more questions; please contact the research team: hba.cognet@sydney.edu.au