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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Must-read interview with George Rebok, PhD: Can cognitive training help aging brains?

george_rebokCan Train­ing Help Aging Brains? (Web­MD):

George Rebok, PhD, con­duct­ed one of the largest stud­ies to date look­ing at how cog­ni­tive train­ing affects old­er adults. Rebok, a pro­fes­sor at the Cen­ter on Aging and Health at Johns Hop­kins School of Pub­lic Health, talks about the study find­ings, com­mer­cial­ly avail­able brain train­ing, and what he rec­om­mends for brain health.

What we found was I think very encour­ag­ing and also some­what sur­pris­ing … all three inter­ven­tion groups showed sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment, both imme­di­ate­ly after train­ing, and it last­ed up through 5 years for all three groups. We did a 10-year post-train­ing assess­ment, and (improve­ments in) two of the three con­di­tions – rea­son­ing and speed of pro­cess­ing — were still sig­nif­i­cant after 10 years. Peo­ple who had this mod­est amount of train­ing – the train­ing only last­ed over 10 ses­sions over a 5 to 6- week peri­od– pro­duced these long-term ben­e­fits. It seemed like there was a pro­tec­tive effect there, that it helped peo­ple from declin­ing cog­ni­tive­ly.

Peo­ple who did the mem­o­ry train­ing were doing bet­ter, but it wasn’t sig­nif­i­cant at 10 years. So that was the first major find­ing, that we had the effects for the train­ing on these cog­ni­tive skills.

The sec­ond thing is that the train­ing gen­er­al­ized to every­day skills and abil­i­ties. At 10 years, all three groups report­ed less dif­fi­cul­ties car­ry­ing out their every­day activ­i­ties of dai­ly liv­ing — for exam­ple, man­ag­ing their med­ica­tions, or man­ag­ing their finances, or prepar­ing meals – these kinds of every­day activ­i­ties that help us remain inde­pen­dent…

There’s no doubt that this area is just a boom area right now, and by every indi­ca­tion, it’s going to con­tin­ue to increase, and not just train­ing with old­er peo­ple. Up and down the lifes­pan you see inter­est in cog­ni­tive train­ing now with chil­dren, and (in) young and mid­dle adult­hood. Train­ing isn’t just for old peo­ple wor­ried about Alzheimer’s dis­ease. It’s not just for cer­tain age groups. I think it’s some­thing for all peo­ple.

I think it’s going to go the way of per­son­al­ized med­i­cine, where train­ing becomes more indi­vid­u­al­ized. It’s not one size fits all, it’s going to be more sort of per­son­al­ized pro­grams that are real­ly matched to your lev­el of abil­i­ty and moti­va­tion and per­son­al­i­ty. We’re real­ly going to be able to much bet­ter fit the cog­ni­tive train­ing to indi­vid­u­als or groups of indi­vid­u­als instead of say­ing, ‘Go out and buy this pro­gram and hope it works for you.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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