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Cognitive Training to Protect Immune Systems of Older Caregivers

Director/PI: Kathi Heffner 

This study tests the effectiveness and mechanisms of cognitive training for spousal caregivers of patients with dementia in protecting against chronic stress-induced aging of the immune system.

Collaborators: Dr. Kathi Heffner, a health psychologist in the School of Nursing , Dr. Jan Moynihan, a psychoneuroimmunologist in the department of Psychiatry, Silvia Sörensen, a gerontologist at the Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Funding: National Institute on Aging

This project is led by Dr. Kathi Heffner. Caregivers are offered a computer-based cognitive training program that targets multiple domains of fluid cognitive abilities, and is known to positively affect older adults’ emotional well-being and health-related quality of life. The study tests whether speed of processing training has significant effects on markers of older adults’ the autonomic nervous system, emotion regulation and general emotional well-being, and immune function. As co-investigator, Sörensen contributes her expertise in caregiver interventions and her experience with community outreach to this project.

Tags: Silvia Sörensen