Publications by authors named "Teun Aalbers"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The Clinical Testing of the Serious Game Digest-Inn: A Tool to Increase Diet Adherence in Overweight Individuals.

Games Health J 2020 Apr 10;9(2):108-112. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

Digest-Inn BV, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Overweight and obesity are serious health issues often caused by a combination of high-energy consumption and limited physical activity. Diets that focus on limiting the energy intake are effective in the short term, but adherence to a diet is difficult and many individuals drop out prematurely. The serious game Digest-Inn is designed to increase diet adherence and to stimulate physical activity. The game was evaluated in three studies, assessing playability (in the general population;  = 76), usefulness (in dietetics practice;  = 7), and effectiveness (in reducing weight in overweight individuals;  = 47). In the 3 studies, in total, 108 individuals played the game. The results show that the game supports dietetics practice and increases the effectiveness of the diet as prescribed by a dietitian. Overweight subjects showed an increased diet adherence (from 45% [in nonplayers] to 100% [in players]), increased weight loss (2.2 kg), and their physical activity was 3800 steps per day, during an average study period of 1 month. These results indicate that the game Digest-Inn is valued by dietitians to support the treatment of overweight clients. The game increases the adherence, and the game mechanics may also be of use for other conditions that suffer from low compliance and treatment adherence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/g4h.2019.0067DOI Listing
April 2020

Recommendations for the Use of Serious Games in Neurodegenerative Disorders: 2016 Delphi Panel.

Front Psychol 2017 25;8:1243. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

Université Côte d'Azur, Cognition, Behaviour, Technology - CoBTeKNice, France.

The use of Serious Games (SG) in the health domain is expanding. In the field of neurodegenerative disorders (ND) such as Alzheimer's disease, SG are currently employed both to support and improve the assessment of different functional and cognitive abilities, and to provide alternative solutions for patients' treatment, stimulation, and rehabilitation. As the field is quite young, recommendations on the use of SG in people with ND are still rare. In 2014 we proposed some initial recommendations (Robert et al., 2014). The aim of the present work was to update them, thanks to opinions gathered by experts in the field during an expert Delphi panel. Results confirmed that SG are adapted to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, and can be employed for several purposes, including assessment, stimulation, and improving wellbeing, with some differences depending on the population (e.g., physical stimulation may be better suited for people with MCI). SG are more adapted for use with trained caregivers (both at home and in clinical settings), with a frequency ranging from 2 to 4 times a week. Importantly, the target of SG, their frequency of use and the context in which they are played depend on the SG typology (e.g., Exergame, cognitive game), and should be with the help of a clinician.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524915PMC
July 2017

Physical Activity and Cognitive Function of Long-Distance Walkers: Studying Four Days Marches Participants.

Rejuvenation Res 2017 Oct 24;20(5):367-374. Epub 2017 Jul 24.

4 Department of Physiology, Radboud University Medical Centre , Nijmegen, The Netherlands .

Studies show physical activity to be beneficial for cognitive function. However, studies usually included individuals who were not particularly inclined to exercise. Following research among master athletes, we examined associations between physical activity and cognitive function in participants of the International Nijmegen Four Days Marches. These individuals are also inclined to exercise. On 4 consecutive days >40,000 participants walk a daily distance of 30-50 km (120-200 km or 75-125 miles in total). Four Days Marches participants and less active or inactive control participants from the Nijmegen Exercise Study were examined. Self-reported current and lifelong physical activities were quantified in Metabolic Equivalent of Task minutes/day, and training walking speed was estimated in km/h. Cognitive functioning in the domains of working memory, executive function, and visuospatial short-term memory was assessed using the validated Brain Aging Monitor. Data from 521 participants (mean age 54.7, standard deviation 12.9) showed neither positive associations between lifelong physical activity and working memory, executive function, and visuospatial short-term memory nor positive associations between current physical activity and cognitive functioning in these domains (p-values >0.05). However, a positive association between training walking speed and working memory was revealed (age adjusted β = 0.18, p-value <0.01). Walking speed as a surrogate marker of fitness, but not lifelong and current physical activity levels was associated with cognitive function. Therefore, walking speed deserves more attention in research aimed at unraveling associations between physical activity and cognitive function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/rej.2016.1876DOI Listing
October 2017

Changing Behavioral Lifestyle Risk Factors Related to Cognitive Decline in Later Life Using a Self-Motivated eHealth Intervention in Dutch Adults.

J Med Internet Res 2016 06 17;18(6):e171. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Radboud University Medical Center, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Background: Our labor force is aging, but aged workers are not yet coached on how to stay cognitively fit for the job.

Objective: In this study, we tested whether a self-motivated, complex eHealth intervention could improve multiple health-related behaviors that are associated with cognitive aging among working Dutch adults.

Methods: This quasi-experimental prospective study with a pre-post design was conducted with employees of Dutch medium to large companies. All employees with Internet access, a good understanding of the Dutch language, and who provided digital informed consent were eligible to participate. In total, 2972 participants (2110/2972, 71.11% females) with a mean (standard deviation, SD) age of 51.8 (SD 12.9) years were recruited; 2305 became active users of the intervention, and 173 completed the 1-year follow-up. This self-motivated eHealth lifestyle intervention stimulates participants to set personally relevant, monthly health behavior change goals using Goal Attainment Scaling and to realize these goals by implementing behavior change techniques grounded in behavior change theory. The primary outcomes were the goal-setting success rate and the change in overall lifestyle score from baseline to the 1-year follow-up; the score was based on physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol, sleep, and stress scores. The secondary outcomes were the changes in body weight, body mass index, specific lifestyle characteristics, and website usage.

Results: A total of 1212 participants set 2620 behavior change goals; 392 participants assessed 1089 (1089/2288, 47.59%) goals and successfully achieved 422 (422/1089, 38.75%) of these goals. Among the goal-setting participants in follow-up, this led to a +0.81-point improvement (95% CI 0.49-1.13, P<.001) in overall lifestyle (d=0.32) and weight loss of 0.62 kg (95% CI -1.16 to -0.07, P=.03). These participants also showed significant improvement in 8 out of 11 specific lifestyle components.

Conclusions: Among an adult Dutch population, this eHealth intervention resulted in lifestyle changes in behavioral risk factors associated with cognitive decline, and these improvements lasted over the period of 1 year. Given the general aging of our workforce, this eHealth intervention opens new avenues for the widespread use of cost-effective self-motivated prevention programs aimed at prevention of early-stage cognitive decline and more self-management of their risk factors.

Trial Registration: Nederlands Trial Register: NTR4144; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=4144 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6cZzwZSg3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.5269DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4930530PMC
June 2016

Using an eHealth Intervention to Stimulate Health Behavior for the Prevention of Cognitive Decline in Dutch Adults: A Study Protocol for the Brain Aging Monitor.

JMIR Res Protoc 2015 Nov 10;4(4):e130. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Background: Internet-delivered intervention programs are an effective way of changing health behavior in an aging population. The same population has an increasing number of people with cognitive decline or cognitive impairments. Modifiable lifestyle risk factors such as physical activity, nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep, and stress all influence the probability of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Objective: This study aims to answer two questions: (1) Is the use of a self-motivated, complex eHealth intervention effective in changing multiple health behaviors related to cognitive aging in Dutch adults in the work force, especially those aged 40 and over? and (2) Does this health behavior change result in healthier cognitive aging patterns and contribute to preventing or delaying future onset of neurodegenerative syndromes?

Methods: The Brain Aging Monitor study uses a quasi-experimental 2-year pre-posttest design. The Brain Aging Monitor is an online, self-motivated lifestyle intervention program. Recruitment is done both in medium to large organizations and in the Dutch general population over the age of 40. The main outcome measure is the relationship between lifestyle change and cognitive aging. The program uses different strategies and modalities such as Web content, email, online newsletters, and online games to aid its users in behavior change. To build self-regulatory skills, the Brain Aging Monitor offers its users goal-setting activities, skill-building activities, and self-monitoring.

Results: Study results are expected to be published in early 2016.

Conclusions: This study will add to the body of evidence on the effectiveness of eHealth intervention programs with the combined use of state-of-the-art applied games and established behavior change techniques. This will lead to new insights on how to use behavior change techniques and theory in multidimensional lifestyle eHealth research, and how these techniques and theories apply when they are used in a setting where no professional back-end is available.

Trial Registration: Nederlands Trial Register: NTR4144; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=4144 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6cZzwZSg3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/resprot.4468DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4704922PMC
November 2015

Puzzling with online games (BAM-COG): reliability, validity, and feasibility of an online self-monitor for cognitive performance in aging adults.

J Med Internet Res 2013 Dec 3;15(12):e270. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Radboud University Medical Center, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Background: Online interventions are aiming increasingly at cognitive outcome measures but so far no easy and fast self-monitors for cognition have been validated or proven reliable and feasible.

Objective: This study examines a new instrument called the Brain Aging Monitor-Cognitive Assessment Battery (BAM-COG) for its alternate forms reliability, face and content validity, and convergent and divergent validity. Also, reference values are provided.

Methods: The BAM-COG consists of four easily accessible, short, yet challenging puzzle games that have been developed to measure working memory ("Conveyer Belt"), visuospatial short-term memory ("Sunshine"), episodic recognition memory ("Viewpoint"), and planning ("Papyrinth"). A total of 641 participants were recruited for this study. Of these, 397 adults, 40 years and older (mean 54.9, SD 9.6), were eligible for analysis. Study participants played all games three times with 14 days in between sets. Face and content validity were based on expert opinion. Alternate forms reliability (AFR) was measured by comparing scores on different versions of the BAM-COG and expressed with an intraclass correlation (ICC: two-way mixed; consistency at 95%). Convergent validity (CV) was provided by comparing BAM-COG scores to gold-standard paper-and-pencil and computer-assisted cognitive assessment. Divergent validity (DV) was measured by comparing BAM-COG scores to the National Adult Reading Test IQ (NART-IQ) estimate. Both CV and DV are expressed as Spearman rho correlation coefficients.

Results: Three out of four games showed adequate results on AFR, CV, and DV measures. The games Conveyer Belt, Sunshine, and Papyrinth have AFR ICCs of .420, .426, and .645 respectively. Also, these games had good to very good CV correlations: rho=.577 (P=.001), rho=.669 (P<.001), and rho=.400 (P=.04), respectively. Last, as expected, DV correlations were low: rho=-.029 (P=.44), rho=-.029 (P=.45), and rho=-.134 (P=.28) respectively. The game Viewpoint provided less desirable results with an AFR ICC of .167, CV rho=.202 (P=.15), and DV rho=-.162 (P=.21).

Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the use of the BAM-COG test battery as a feasible, reliable, and valid tool to monitor cognitive performance in healthy adults in an online setting. Three out of four games have good psychometric characteristics to measure working memory, visuospatial short-term memory, and planning capacity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.2860DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3868977PMC
December 2013
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