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Dr. Xie boosting older adults' eHealth skills

Associate Professor Bo Xie is working on a project that will help older adults use the Internet to make informed choices about health and medicine.

Dr. Xie received a $426,127 grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging for the study, which is titled “Boosting Older Adults’ Cognition by Training Real-World eHealth Skills.”

“Older adults face a range of medical decisions,” Dr. Xie said. “The Internet has the potential to meet their needs for a diverse range of health information.”

However, age-related declines in attention, memory and reasoning can make it challenging for the elderly to take full advantage of online resources, she said. Older people also tend to be less familiar with new technology.

To help them overcome these obstacles, Dr. Xie is collaborating with older adults to develop a three-month curriculum that incorporates problem sets and activities that relate to their everyday life decisions.

“There is a dire need for intervention that can improve older adults’ ability to obtain and evaluate online health information and strengthen cognitive processes that are key to daily health-related behaviors,” she said.

Dr. Xie is principal investigator of the project, which began in September 2016 and is scheduled to end in May 2018.