BBC brain training study apparently retracts previous overgeneralized claim that “brain training doesn’t work”

bbcbraintrainingOnline brain train­ing ‘helps old­er adults with every­day tasks’ (BBC):

Near­ly 7,000 peo­ple aged 50 and over signed up for the six-month exper­i­ment, launched by BBC TV’s Bang Goes The Theory…Some of the vol­un­teers were encour­aged to play online brain train­ing games for 10 min­utes at a time, as often as they wished. The oth­ers — the con­trol group — were asked to do sim­ple inter­net searches

…The researchers found after six months, those who played “brain train­ing” games for rea­son­ing and prob­lem-solv­ing kept their broad­er cog­ni­tive skills bet­ter than those who did not.

And peo­ple over 60 who played these games report­ed bet­ter scores for car­ry­ing out essen­tial every­day tasks, the Jour­nal of Post-acute and Long Term Care Med­i­cine reports.”

Study: The Effect of an Online Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Pack­age in Healthy Old­er Adults: An Online Ran­dom­ized Con­trolled Tri­al (Jour­nal of Post-acute and Long Term Care Med­i­cine). From the abstract:

  • Intro­duc­tion: Cog­ni­tive train­ing (CT) offers a poten­tial approach for demen­tia pre­ven­tion and main­te­nance of cog­ni­tive func­tion in old­er adults. Online deliv­ery pro­vides a cost-effec­tive means of imple­ment­ing CT com­pared with in-per­son inter­ven­tions, with the poten­tial of pro­vid­ing an effec­tive pub­lic health inter­ven­tion for risk reduction.
  • Results: A total of 2912 adults old­er than 60 (6742 > 50) par­tic­i­pat­ed. Gen­er­al and rea­son­ing pack­ages con­ferred ben­e­fit to IADL (P = .008, P = .011), rea­son­ing (P < 0.0001, P < .0001), and VL (P = .007, P = .008) at 6 months. Ben­e­fit in rea­son­ing was evi­dent from 6 weeks. Oth­er ben­e­fits devel­oped over 6 months. Analy­sis of par­tic­i­pants with age-asso­ci­at­ed impair­ment also showed the same pat­tern of ben­e­fit. A clear dose-response effect was seen.
  • Con­clu­sions: Online CT con­fers sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit to cog­ni­tion and func­tion in old­er adults, with ben­e­fit favor­ing the Rea­son­ing pack­age. Scale of ben­e­fit is com­pa­ra­ble with in-per­son train­ing, indi­cat­ing its poten­tial as a pub­lic health inter­ven­tion. Impact on the group with age-asso­ci­at­ed impair­ment indi­cates a par­tic­u­lar sen­si­tiv­i­ty to this at-risk group, which mer­its fur­ther investigation.

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About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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