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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2018, Article ID 7301530, 14 pages
Review Article

Neurophysiologic and Cognitive Changes Arising from Cognitive Training Interventions in Persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review

1Department of Neurology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
2Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Department of Neurology, Columbia University, USA
3Old Age Research Group, Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
4Mental Health Service, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
5Neuropsychology Section, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Eliane C. Miotto; rb.psu@ottoimce

Received 10 August 2018; Revised 8 October 2018; Accepted 21 October 2018; Published 2 December 2018

Academic Editor: Guy Cheron

Copyright © 2018 Eliane C. Miotto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Previous reviews have generally reported cognitive//behavioral improvements after cognitively oriented treatments (COTs) in persons with MCI. However, comparatively little is known about the neural mechanisms associated with such cognitive improvement. Objective. The primary aim of the current review was to examine neurophysiological changes measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and possible cognitive changes following COTs in those with MCI. Methods. An extensive literature search was conducted up to August 2018. Inclusion criteria were (1) studies that evaluated the effects of the COTs in patients with amnestic single- or multiple-domain MCI using fMRI, (2) the MCI patient sample having met Petersen’s or Jack/Bond’s criteria, (3) randomized and/or controlled trials, (4) fMRI and cognitive assessments completed pre- and post-intervention, and (5) articles available in English. Results. Amongst the 26 articles found, 7 studies were included according to the above inclusion criteria. A total of 3 studies applied rehearsal-based strategies as the primary intervention, all of which used computerized cognitive training. Four studies used fMRI to investigate the neurophysiologic and cognitive changes associated with memory strategy training. The majority of the studies included in this review showed evidence of improved objective cognitive performance associated with COTs, even in tasks similar to everyday life activities. In addition, there were significant changes in brain activation associated with interventions, in both typical and atypical brain areas and networks related to memory. Conclusions. Although additional studies are needed given the small sample size, these initial findings suggest that cognitive improvement after COTs is generally associated with both compensatory (i.e., engaging alternative brain regions or networks not “typically” engaged) and restorative (i.e., reengaging the “typical” brain regions or networks) mechanisms.