Construction and evaluation of multidomain attention training to improve alertness attention, sustained attention, and visual-spatial attention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: A randomized controlled trial

Hui Ling Yang, Hsin Chu, Ching Chiu Kao, Nae Fang Miao, Pi Chen Chang, Philip Tseng, Anthony Paul O'Brien, Kuei Ru Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: We aimed to analyze the effects of multidomain attention training on alertness, sustained attention, and visual-spatial attention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Design: The design used in this study was a two-arm, parallel group, double-blind randomized controlled trial. Setting and participants: The participants of the study were seventy-eight older adults with MCI (mean age: 79.5 ± 7.9 years) from retirement centers and community housing for the elderly. Intervention: The participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group (multidomain attention training, n = 39) or an active control group (n = 39). Both groups underwent training sessions for 45 minutes three times per week for 6 weeks (18 sessions in total). Measures: The main efficacy indicator was alertness (Trail Making Test Part B), sustained attention (Digit Vigilance Test), and visual-spatial attention (Trail Making Test Part A). The secondary outcome indicators were other cognitive functions (Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] and Montreal Cognitive Assessment [MoCA] subscales). Measurements were obtained at pretest, posttest, and 3 and 6 months after training. Results: The results were analyzed by a generalized estimating equation (GEE), which indicated that attention outcomes (alertness, sustained attention, and visual-spatial attention) of the experimental group did not improve after training. However, the experimental group displayed a significant improvement in the attention, memory, and orientation of MMSE and MoCA subscales over a period of 6 months and also showed superior results compared with the control group. Conclusions: Multidomain attention training demonstrated improved alertness and visual-spatial attention for posttest after 6 months. We also outline potential future advances in attention training for improving attention in older adults with MCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-546
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020



  • alertness
  • attention training
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • randomized controlled trial
  • sustained attention
  • visual-spatial attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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