Efficacy of lifestyle and psychosocial interventions in reducing cognitive decline in older people: systematic review

Emma Whitty, Hassan Mansour, Elisa Aguirre, Marina Palomo, Georgina Charlesworth, Serena Ramjee, Michaela Poppe, Henry Brodaty, Helen C. Kales, Sarah Morgan-Trimmer, Samuel Nyman, Iain Lang, Kate Walters, Irene Petersen, Jennifer Wenborn, Anne-Marie Minihane, Karen Ritchie, Jonathan Huntley, Zuzana Walker, Claudia Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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It is unclear what non-pharmacological interventions to prevent cognitive decline should comprise. We systematically reviewed lifestyle and psychosocial interventions that aimed to reduce cognitive decline in healthy people aged 50+, and people of any age with Subjective Cognitive Decline or Mild Cognitive Impairment. We narratively synthesised evidence, prioritising results from studies rated as at lower Risk of Bias (ROB) and assigning Centre for Evidence Based Medicine grades. We included 64 papers, describing: psychosocial (n = 12), multi-domain (n = 10), exercise (n = 36), and dietary (n = 6) interventions. We found Grade A evidence that over 4+ months: aerobic exercise twice weekly had a moderate effect on global cognition in people with/ without MCI; and interventions that integrate cognitive and motor challenges (e.g. dance, dumb bell training) had small to moderate effects on memory or global cognition in people with MCI. We found Grade B evidence that 4+ months of creative art or story-telling groups in people with MCI; 6 months of resistance training in people with MCI and a two-year, dietary, exercise, cognitive training and social intervention in people with or without MCI had small, positive effects on global cognition. Effects for some intervention remained up to a year beyond facilitated sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101113
Number of pages33
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Early online date10 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Prevention
  • Randomised Controlled Trial

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