Brain train (WC2017-043)


Starting date: 01/09/2017


Older patients with a severe mental illness are vulnerable as their physical health and cognitive functioning will diminish with age. To age successfully and to ensure independent living, social activities, physical exercise and memory training are promoted for elderly in the general population. These strategies are not yet available for older patients with a severe mental illness.

In older patients with bipolar disorder quality of life is hampered by cognitive complaints, residual depressive symptoms and relative lack of social contacts and activities.

In the general population of elderly, as well as in patients with mild cognitive impairment and early stage dementia interventions aimed at stimulating physical exercise or cognitive training were proven successful in improvement of cognitive functioning. Similar positive effects were found in younger patients with bipolar disorder.  

We propose to test an intervention that includes cognitive training, moderate intense physical exercise and social encounter with peers for older adults with bipolar disorder in a pilot study. Cognitive functioning, physical activity, and social functioning are most likely linked and all associated with better outcome concerning residual mood symptoms, independently living and quality of life.  By combing cognitive training with moderate intense physical exercise we aim to appeal to a majority of patients. Our intervention is designed in close collaboration with patients.

When the study seems feasible and the results of the pilot study are positive a larger scale intervention will be designed to include more patients and centers. Interventions successful in older patients with bipolar disorder may be extrapolated to older adults with severe mental disorders.