Cognitive-Based Interventions to Improve Mobility: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: A strong relation between cognition and mobility has been identified in aging, supporting a role for enhancement mobility through cognitive-based interventions. However, a critical evaluation of the consistency of treatment effects of cognitive-based interventions is currently lacking. The objective of this study was 2-fold: (1) to review the existing literature on cognitive-based interventions aimed at improving mobility in older adults and (2) to assess the clinical effectiveness of cognitive interventions on gait performance. Design: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCT) of cognitive training interventions for improving simple (normal walking) and complex (dual task walking) gait was conducted in February 2018. Setting and Participants: Older adults without major cognitive, psychiatric, neurologic, and/or sensory impairments were included. Measures: Random effect meta-analyses and a subsequent meta-regression were performed to generate overall cognitive intervention effects on single- and dual-task walking conditions. Results: Ten RCTs met inclusion criteria, with a total of 351 participants included in this meta-analysis. Cognitive training interventions revealed a small effect of intervention on complex gait [effect size (ES) = 0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13 to 0.81, P =.007, I2 = 15.85%], but not simple gait (ES = 0.35, 95% CI –0.01 to 0.71, P =.057, I2 = 57.32%). Moreover, a meta-regression analysis revealed that intervention duration, training frequency, total number of sessions, and total minutes spent in intervention were not significant predictors of improvement in dual-task walking speed, though there was a suggestive trend toward a negative association between dual-task walking speed improvements and individual training session duration (P =.067). Conclusions/Implications: This meta-analysis provides support for the fact that cognitive training interventions can improve mobility-related outcomes, especially during challenging walking conditions requiring higher-order executive functions. Additional evidence from well-designed large-scale randomized clinical trials is warranted to confirm the observed effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-491.e3
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Gait control
  • computerized cognitive training
  • elderly
  • fall risk
  • neurophysiological plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive-Based Interventions to Improve Mobility: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this