Are there specific brain fitness programs for adults?

Here is ques­tion 13 of 25 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions. To down­load the com­plete ver­sion, please click here.

Ques­tion:
Are there spe­cif­ic brain fit­ness pro­grams for adults?

Key Points:

  • In the course of nor­mal aging, some cog­ni­tive fun­cions and brain pro­cess­ing speed slow down.
  • With­out spe­cif­ic activ­i­ties to keep your brain engaged, neu­rons are more like­ly to die off with­out being replaced.
  • Nov­el­ty, vari­ety and con­stant chal­lenge are key ingre­di­ents for good pro­grams. Learn­ing a new lan­guage or musi­cal instru­ment can be great options.
  • There are also com­put­er-based pro­grams. A good pro­gram should include an assess­ment, a vari­ety of chal­leng­ing tasks that use dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive skills, reg­u­lar prac­tice, and feedback.

The gen­er­al­ly accept­ed knowl­edge about the brain is that it starts going down­hill fair­ly ear­ly in life, which is true, and that there is lit­tle one can do about chang­ing that pat­tern, which is not true. Increas­es in cor­ti­cal growth as a con­se­quence of stim­u­lat­ing envi­ron­men­tal input have been demon­strat­ed at every age, includ­ing very old age.”
— Dr. Mar­i­on Dia­mond, Pro­fes­sor of Inte­gra­tive Biol­o­gy, UC Berkeley.

Answer:


Yes, there are ways for adults to improve their cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing. Some are demand­ing activ­i­ties such as learn­ing a new lan­guage or a musi­cal instru­ment. There are sci­ence-based soft­ware pro­grams designed to pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive brain work­out specif­i­cal­ly for adults who want to main­tain an agile and sharp mind.

A good pro­gram should include an assess­ment, a vari­ety of chal­leng­ing tasks that use dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive skills, reg­u­lar prac­tice, and feed­back. It should also be easy to use with min­i­mal com­put­er knowl­edge and based on sci­en­tif­ic research.

The advan­tage of com­put­er­ized brain fit­ness pro­grams is the abil­i­ty to cre­ate an indi­vid­u­al­ized train­ing reg­i­men for your exact lev­el of cog­ni­tive skill. No two peo­ple are alike, and no two train­ing reg­i­mens should be alike. A good Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram pro­vides an ini­tial assess­ment to learn your cur­rent lev­el of abil­i­ty and then work to chal­lenge and improve both your strengths and your weak­ness­es. The soft­ware adapts to your per­for­mance and pro­vides tougher chal­lenges as you improve. It can also pro­vide cus­tomized train­ing sched­ules and feed­back dur­ing and after your train­ing session.

Look for pro­grams that focus on life abil­i­ties such as: work­ing mem­o­ry, visu­al and audi­to­ry short term mem­o­ry, plan­ning, loca­tion mem­o­ry, nam­ing, time esti­ma­tion, divid­ed atten­tion, and hand-eye coor­di­na­tion. These are all skills that are train­able and can gen­er­al­ize to your dai­ly life.

Fur­ther Reading:

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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