To determine whether a treatment or intervention works, it is not enough to look at the results of one study, however good the study was. Instead, it is now widely accepted that a whole body of work needs to be examined together in a process of evidence synthesis as part of the ongoing process of evaluating any benefits (and harms) that may be associated with a particular treatment. Accordingly, my work also involves the systematic evaluation of the effects of cognition-oriented treatments (COTs)- in which the main component is cognitive or mental activity.
My main work in this area is described in the projects listed below.
Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation for people with dementia
This ambitious project is a systematic review and meta-analysis of all the relevant evidence for and against cognitive training (which focuses directly on thinking/cognitive processes) and cognitive rehabilitation (which focuses on the use of strategies and techniques to improve or maintain performance on day to day activities). Our review found no evidence that cognitive training is associated with any benefits (or harms) for people with mild to moderate dementia. However, the quality of the evidence was considered low, and better studies are required. An update to this review was published in in 2019, which found, for the first time, evidence supporting the effects of cognitive training for people with mild to moderate dementia. Click of any of the links below for further information:
Cognition-oriented treatments for older adults on the spectrum from cognitively unimpaired to dementia: An overview systematic review
This is another large-scale project, called an overview systematic review, in which what we searched for and analysed were studies that were themselves systematic reviews. One of the main reasons we decided to conduct this project was that numerous reviews on cognitive interventions for older adults were published in the past few years. Unfortunately, their findings do not always agree, and they often cover a wide range of treatment approaches. In this review, we have tried to summarise the evidence for all main cognitive intervention approaches for people with and without cognitive problems in a single project. This review has been submitted and is currently under consideration and should be published soon. It will help researchers, clinicians, and consumers better understand the reasons for the inconsistent findings reported in previous reviews. You can read a PrePrint of this paper here and the final version will be uploaded here as soon as it is published. Status: Completed