Objective: Maintaining cognitive function remains challenging in our rapidly aging society but, learning novel motor tasks may increase cognitive reserve in older adults. Bilateral tasks that combine multiple limb movements, hand-eye coordination, and object manipulation may augment shared cognitive resource function. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of simultaneous bilateral object manipulation (SBOM) training in augmenting cognitive function in older adults.

Methods: Eighteen subjects age 50-65 were recruited to be randomly assigned into an intervention (IG) or control group(CG). The IG underwent an 8-week motor training (MT) program to practice 3-ball juggling. Cognitive and motor performance was measured by the Stroop test (Golden version), Trails Making Test (TMT) B minus A, simple and choice reaction time (RT), and 4 Dual Task (DT) tests measuring gait velocity change.

Results: The Stroop Test showed a significant increase for the for IG with a t-score of 5.44 (p=0.004). IG saw a decreased B-A Trail Making Test score from pre to post testing but findings were insignificant. Simple and choice RT decreased for all subjects but without distinction between groups. DT 1-4 showed positive improvement pre to post in IG group and mixed results in the control suggesting a trending positive effect from training.

Discussion: Our data suggest that SBOM training may be benefitial to older subjects. This study demonstrated that increased testing performance suggests MT can preserve cognitive function. Future studies can adapt this training program to reproduce these results to a further this goal.

Date of publication

Spring 5-5-2017

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Benjamin Tseng, Andrew Schmitt, Scott Spier


Masters in Kinesiology