Manual Dexterity Training Can Improve Cognitive Function and Hand Dexterity in Older Adults
As people age, they may experience a decline in hand dexterity that can make it challenging to perform daily activities, such as writing, cooking, gardening, craftwork, and opening bottles and jars. This decline affects both men and women, particularly those older than 65 years of age. Maintaining good hand dexterity is therefore essential for day-to-day living among older adults.
In this study, researchers hypothesized that home-based repetitive manual dexterity training could improve cognitive function and examined brain activation patterns during the training.
The study involved 57 elderly adults residing in Ibaraki Prefecture, randomly divided into 28 intervention groups and 29 control groups. The mean age of participants was 73.6 ± 6.1 years, with 31.6% male and 68.4% female. The intervention group performed manual dexterity training daily for 12 weeks.
The intensity of training positively correlated with the amount of active blood hemoglobin in the prefrontal cortex. Among cognitive functions, executive function demonstrated significant improvement in the intervention group compared to the control group. Other cognitive functions did not show significant improvement, but the effect size was higher in the intervention group than in the control group.
The findings of this study suggest that home-based manual dexterity training can improve hand dexterity and cognitive functioning in older adults. Preserving hand dexterity is essential for day-to-day activities among older adults, and repetitive manual dexterity training is a simple, cost-effective way to help maintain hand dexterity and cognitive function.