Health Education and Lifestyle Training in Older Adults (HEALTH)

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The Ohio State University




Older Adults


Behavioral: Mindfulness-Based Attention Training
Behavioral: Lifestyle Education

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


The investigators conducted a mindfulness training intervention in older adults aimed at examining the effects of brief mindfulness training on mind wandering as well as the cognitive and affective functioning of older adults. Individuals completed pre- and post-assessments of mind wandering and cognitive functioning. Additionally, all participants completed neuropsychological measures and self-report questionnaires.

Full description

Age-related differences in sustained attention may be related to the prevalence and content of task unrelated thought or mind-wandering. Older adults report less mind-wandering in sustained tasks than younger adults, something that is surprising due to the reduced performance on tasks. It is clear that both cognitive and emotional processes underlie comprehension and sustained attention and relate to prevalence of task unrelated thought and performance. A complex process such as reading comprehension presents a challenge for improvement because of the wide range of changes that occur with age. Pharmacological therapies can target only a limited number of the many changes believed to underlie functional decline. One way that may mitigate these declines in performance in a broad way is mindfulness training. Thus, the investigators conducted a randomized study to assess the effects of mindfulness training relative to an active health education control group on mind wandering and controlled processing abilities in older adults. All individuals that contact the Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory (CNLab) with interest underwent a phone screening assessing inclusion/exclusion criteria.Those participants meeting I/E criteria were invited to participate in the study. During the first assessment session, written informed consent was obtained; additional inclusion/exclusion measures were administered; and self-report questionnaires and assessment measures were completed. Following the first assessment session, four training sessions took place. Participants were randomized into either the a mindfulness training intervention or a health education intervention. Subsequently, all participants were invited back for post-assessment session.


74 patients




60 to 74 years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • 60 to 74 years of age
  • No prior exposure to mindfulness training
  • No significant meditation experience
  • Have never engaged in regular practices of yoga
  • Capable of attending both assessment and training sessions
  • Corrected (near and far) visual acuity of 20/40 or better
  • Normal color vision
  • No self-reported history of psychiatric, neurological, or chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Absence of psychiatric medication use
  • Native English Speaker
  • Adequate performance on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE; >23)
  • Depression score on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) below clinical level (<10)

Exclusion criteria

  • Below 60 years of age or above 74 years of age
  • Have exposure to or experience with any type of meditation or yoga regularly (one hour a week for at least 12 months)
  • Any physical or pragmatic limitation that prohibits attendance at both sessions
  • Corrected (near or far) visual acuity worse than 20/40
  • All types of color blindness
  • Presence of diagnosed neurological disorders (such as: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis) or chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Presence of any diagnosed psychiatric disorder such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance abuse
  • Presence of psychiatric medication use such as Xanax, Wellbutrin, or Vivance
  • Non-Native English Speaker or no fluency in English
  • Inadequate performance on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE; <23)
  • Depression score on GDS indicative of clinical depression (>10)

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Double Blind

74 participants in 2 patient groups

Mindfulness-Based Attention Training
Experimental group
Four weekly group mindfulness attention training sessions of a 1.5-hour duration. Participants provided with audio recordings, readings, and homework assignments consisting of various mindfulness practices.
Behavioral: Mindfulness-Based Attention Training
Lifestyle Education Group
Active Comparator group
Four weekly group lifestyle education sessions of a 1.5-hour duration. Homework consisting of reading, diet monitoring, stretching/toning exercises, and brainstorming new healthy living techniques/ideas.
Behavioral: Lifestyle Education

Trial contacts and locations



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