HumanInsight Can mobile health apps with smartphones and tablets be the new frontier of cognitive rehabilitation in older individuals? A narrative review of a growing field
Neurol Sci. 2023 Sep 13. doi: 10.1007/s10072-023-07045-8. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: A recent interesting field of application of telemedicine/e-health involved smartphone apps. Although research on mHealth began in 2014, there are still few studies using these technologies in healthy elderly and in neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, the aim of the present review was to summarize current evidence on the usability and effectiveness of the use of mHealth in older adults and patients with neurodegenerative disorders.
METHODS: This review was conducted by searching for recent peer-reviewed articles published between June 1, 2010 and March 2023 using the following databases: Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Database, and Web of Science. After duplicate removal, abstract and title screening, 25 articles were included in the full-text assessment.
RESULTS: Ten articles assessed the acceptance and usability, and 15 articles evaluated the efficacy of e-health in both older individuals and patients with neurodegenerative disorders. The majority of studies reported that mHealth training was well accepted by the users, and was able to stimulate cognitive abilities, such as processing speed, prospective and episodic memory, and executive functioning, making smartphones and tablets valuable tools to enhance cognitive performances. However, the studies are mainly case series, case-control, and in general small-scale studies and often without follow-up, and only a few RCTs have been published to date.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the great attention paid to mHealth in recent years, the evidence in the literature on their effectiveness is scarce and not comparable. Longitudinal RCTs are needed to evaluate the efficacy of mHealth cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly and in patients with neurodegenerative disorders.
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