The Cognition and Flow Study (CogFlowS): a mixed method evaluation of a randomized feasibility trial of cognitive training in dementia

Lucy C. Beishon*, Victoria J. Haunton, Caroline Bradbury-Jones, Hari Subramaniam, Elizabeta B. Mukaetova-Ladinska, Ronney B. Panerai, Thompson G. Robinson, Rachel Evley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Cognitive training (CT) may be beneficial in delaying the onset or slowing dementia progression. CT has been evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively, but none have used mixed methods approaches. Objective: The aim of this study was to use a mixed methods approach to identify those who may selectively benefit from CT.

Methods: This was an explanatory sequential mixed methods study involving a quantitative randomized trial of 12 weeks multi-domain CT in healthy older adults (HC, n = 20), and people living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n = 12) and dementia (n = 24). Quantitative outcomes included: cognition, mood, quality of life, and activities of daily living. 28 (10 HC, 6 MCI, 12 dementia) training participants completed semi-structured interviews with their carer. Quantitative and qualitative data were integrated using joint displays.

Results: Three participants dropped out from the training early-on, leaving 25 participants with follow-up data for full integration (10 HC, 6 MCI, 9 dementia). Dropouts and lower adherence to training were more common in dementia participants with greater non-modifiable barriers. High adherers were more resilient to negative emotions, and poorer or fluctuating performance. Integrated analysis found the majority of participants (n = 24) benefited across outcomes, with no clear profile of individuals who benefited more than others. Participants made a number of key recommendations to improve adherence and minimize dropout to CT.

Conclusion: Reasons for dropout and low adherence were identified, with recommendations provided for the design of CT for dementia. An individual approach to training should be adopted and low adherence should not preclude engagement with CT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1031
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Early online date11 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 - IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • brain training
  • cognitive intervention
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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