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Title: The Art of Remediating Age-Related Cognitive Decline: Art Therapy Enhances Cognition and Increases Cortical Thickness in Mild Cognitive Impairment
Authors: Yu, Junhong 
Rawtaer, Iris 
Goh, Lee Gan
Kumar, Alan Prem 
Feng, Lei 
Kua, Ee Heok 
Mahendran, Rathi 
Keywords: Art therapy
Cognitive enhancement
Cortical thickness
Mild cognitive impairment
Issue Date: 7-Aug-2020
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Yu, Junhong, Rawtaer, Iris, Goh, Lee Gan, Kumar, Alan Prem, Feng, Lei, Kua, Ee Heok, Mahendran, Rathi (2020-08-07). The Art of Remediating Age-Related Cognitive Decline: Art Therapy Enhances Cognition and Increases Cortical Thickness in Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 27 (1) : 79-88. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Objective: Previous research on art therapy (AT) in cognitive aging has been lacking. AT can potentially engender significant cognitive gains, due to its rigorous cognitive involvement, making it useful to tackle age-related cognitive decline. Along with these cognitive gains, associated neuroplastic changes are hypothesized to arise from AT as well. The current intervention examined the effects of an AT intervention on cognitive outcomes and cortical thickness (CT) among participants with mild cognitive impairment. Method: Participants were assigned to AT (n = 22) and an active control group (n = 27). In both, weekly 45-min sessions were carried out across 3 months. Cognitive assessments and structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were carried out at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Whole brain analyses on CT were carried out. Cognitive outcomes were analyzed using hierarchical linear models. Results: Significant gains in immediate memory and working memory span were observed in the AT group, relative to the control group. Significantly increased CT in the AT group, relative to controls, was observed in a right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) cluster. Furthermore, CT changes in this cluster were significantly and positively correlated with changes in immediate memory. Conclusion: These findings highlighted the role of MFG neuroplasticity in enhancing certain cognitive functions in AT. AT is a neuroplastic intervention capable of engendering significant cognitive gains and associated cortical changes in the context of age-related cognitive decline, even when executed as a low-intensity intervention across 3 months. Given the preliminary nature of these findings, future larger sampled studies are needed. Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020.
Source Title: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
ISSN: 1355-6177
DOI: 10.1017/s1355617720000697
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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