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Train your brain with targeted videogames, not with crossword puzzles

cognition-road-tour-combinedStudy shows men­tal agility game slows cog­ni­tive decline in older peo­ple (Iowa Now): “Wolin­sky and col­leagues sep­a­rated 681 gen­er­ally healthy med­ical patients in Iowa into four groups—each fur­ther sep­a­rated into those 50 to 64 years of age and those over age 65. One group was given com­put­er­ized cross­word puz­zles, while three other groups were exposed to a video game called “Road Tour,” (since renamed “Dou­ble Deci­sion”), mar­keted by Posit Sci­ence Corp…The groups that played the game at least 10 hours, either at home or in a lab at the uni­ver­sity, gained, and retained, at least three years of cog­ni­tive improve­ment when tested after one year, accord­ing to a for­mula devel­oped by the researchers. A group that got four addi­tional hours of train­ing with the game did even bet­ter, improv­ing their cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties by four years, accord­ing to the study.”

Study: A Ran­dom­ized Con­trolled Trial of Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Using a Visual Speed of Pro­cess­ing Inter­ven­tion in Mid­dle Aged and Older Adults (PLOS ONE)

  • Back­ground: Age-related cog­ni­tive decline is com­mon and may lead to sub­stan­tial dif­fi­cul­ties and dis­abil­i­ties in every­day life. We hypoth­e­sized that 10 hours of visual speed of pro­cess­ing train­ing would pre­vent age-related declines and poten­tially improve cog­ni­tive pro­cess­ing speed.
  • Meth­ods: Within two age bands (50–64 and≥65) 681 patients were ran­dom­ized to (a) three com­put­er­ized visual speed of pro­cess­ing train­ing arms (10 hours on-site, 14 hours on-site, or 10 hours at-home) or (b) an on-site atten­tion con­trol group using com­put­er­ized cross­word puz­zles for 10 hours. The pri­mary out­come was the Use­ful Field of View (UFOV) test, and the sec­ondary out­comes were the Trail Mak­ing (Trails) A and B Tests, Sym­bol Digit Modal­i­ties Test (SDMT), Stroop Color and Word Tests, Con­trolled Oral Word Asso­ci­a­tion Test (COWAT), and the Digit Vig­i­lance Test (DVT), which were assessed at base­line and at one year. 620 par­tic­i­pants (91%) com­pleted the study and were included in the analy­ses. Lin­ear mixed mod­els were used with Blom rank trans­for­ma­tions within age bands.
  • Con­clu­sion: Visual speed of pro­cess­ing train­ing deliv­ered on-site or at-home to middle-aged or older adults using stan­dard home com­put­ers resulted in SharpBrainsGuide_3D_compressedsta­bi­liza­tion or improve­ment in sev­eral cog­ni­tive func­tion tests. Wide­spread imple­men­ta­tion of this inter­ven­tion is feasible.

–> To learn more about cog­ni­tive train­ing and per­son­al­ized brain train­ing, check out our new book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance at Any Age

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