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Cognitive aging: illiteracy, low education and possibilities of intervention


Illiterate seniors and those with lower education exhibit poorer performance on cognitive tests that are used for the examination of mental status in old age. It is challenging to distinguish between low performance due limited education and the early signs of dementia. In Brazil , there are few studies characterizing the cognitive profile of illiterate seniors or with low education. There is great interest in the identification of new cognitive tools which may aid the early diagnosis of dementia. In addition, there is limited data on the efficacy of cognitive training offered to seniors with low education. Objectives: Study 1. Characterize the cognitive performance of illiterate older adults and those with low education, without dementia or depression, in tests commonly used in the diagnostic process of dementia; Study 2. Investigate if the visual memory binding test is influenced by education. Study 3. Evaluate the effectiveness of working memory training offered to seniors with low education. Methods: In Study 1 and 2, 120 seniors without dementia and depression will complete the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning test, the Boston Naming Test, the Iowa Gambling Task and two visual memory binding paradigms. Illiterate seniors will be compared to those with formal schooling between 1 and 2 years and 3 to 4 years. The typical performance of the groups will be described, in order to generate normative data and evaluate the impact of education on those tasks. In Study 3, the working memory training protocol adapted from Borella et al (2000) will be applied to 160 seniors. Participants with 4 years of schooling will be compared to those with eight to eleven years, before and after working memory training. We intend to continue to expand the knowledge available regarding the interrelations between cognitive aging and education, which can be characterized as a measure of cognitive reserve, and to investigate the influence of education on cognitive plasticity in the context of working memory training. (AU)

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(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BRUM, PAULA SCHIMIDT; BORELLA, ERIKA; CARRETTI, BARBARA; GUIDOTTI, ELENA; YASSUDA, MONICA SANCHES. Categorization Working Memory Span Task: Validation study of two Brazilian alternate versions. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY, v. 33, n. 4, p. 652-657, . (13/27096-8)

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