Stanford Psychiatry and University of Rochester awarded grant to study mechanisms of adherence in cognitive training

June 9, 2023

Feng Vankee Lin, PhD, MB, RN

We are pleased to announce that Stanford Psychiatry’s Feng Vankee Lin, clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has received a grant from the National Institute on Aging for research to better understand adherence to cognitive training in dementia prevention.

Cognitive training is considered a promising non-pharmacologic intervention for slowing cognitive aging and Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD). Ensuring adherence to cognitive training is essential in order to understand the mechanisms of intervention, as well as to maximize long-term benefits from interventions to slow or prevent cognitive decline and progression of AD/ADRD.

Dr. Lin is joined by co-principal investigator Dr. Kathi Heffner at the University of Rochester and Stanford co-investigator Ehsan Adeli, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, to examine the mechanisms of action underlying adherence to prescribed regimens of the vision-based speed of processing (VSOP) training, which is among the first-line cognitive training preventative strategies for cognitive aging. This newly funded project, "vmPFC's role in adherence to cognitive training" is an add-on component of an ongoing project funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, titled, “Targeting Autonomic Flexibility to Enhance Cognitive Training Outcomes in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment.

“Our central hypothesis is that strengthening the ventromedial prefrontal cortex function, via an established resonance frequency breathing training, will lead to greater adherence to VSOP training,” said Dr. Lin and Dr. Heffner.

The findings from this project will provide novel mechanistic and clinically relevant information on how to comprehensively measure adherence, the mechanism underlying adherence, and potential strategies for enhancing adherence to interventions that aim to slow or prevent AD/ADRD.

“Ensuring adherence to cognitive training is critical for understanding the effect of cognitive training in dementia prevention,” said Dr. Lin and Dr. Heffner.

Ensuring adherence to cognitive training is critical for understanding the effect of cognitive training in dementia prevention

Dr. Lin’s career has been devoted to understanding the neural mechanisms involved in brain aging and brain plasticity, with a special focus on early detection and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). She currently leads an interdisciplinary clinical neuroscience lab conducting a wide spectrum of research on brain aging, novel non-pharmacological interventions that promote successful cognitive aging and alleviate or eliminate adverse effects of AD pathophysiology, and advanced computational models for understanding and intervening on brain aging. Recent publications related to this work include “Unifying framework for cognitive training interventions in brain aging” published in the journal Ageing Research Reviews.

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