Given cognitive strengths and needs are diverse, what brain training may work best for each person and under which conditions?

Does ‘Brain Train­ing’ Actu­al­ly Work? (Sci­en­tif­ic American):

If there were an app on your phone that could improve your mem­o­ry, would you try it? Who wouldn’t want a bet­ter mem­o­ry? After all, our rec­ol­lec­tions are frag­ile and can be impaired by dis­eases, injuries, men­tal health con­di­tions and, most acute­ly for all of us, aging.

… our team is cur­rent­ly lever­ag­ing the pow­er of cit­i­zen sci­ence. Sim­i­lar to a large-scale study in the Unit­ed King­dom (Brain Test Britain, pro­mot­ed by Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty and the BBC), we are seek­ing to recruit thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants to help us uncov­er the poten­tial mer­its of mem­o­ry train­ing. But unlike Brain Test Britain’s sim­ple ques­tion of whether brain train­ing works, we are look­ing to engage the U.S. pop­u­la­tion in a new chal­lenge to test why and for whom brain train­ing works, and under which conditions.

To accom­plish our goal, we have launched a new study fund­ed by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health that aims to recruit 30,000 vol­un­teers to par­tic­i­pate in a mem­o­ry train­ing study that com­pares mul­ti­ple approach­es to train work­ing memory.…Our goal is to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we want to advance a new mod­el based upon the premise that peo­ple are diverse in their cog­ni­tive strengths and needs, and there­fore require the type of inter­ven­tions that would serve them best.

About the Study:

Under­stand­ing Medi­at­ing and Mod­er­at­ing Fac­tors that Deter­mine Trans­fer of Work­ing Mem­o­ry Train­ing (NIH Grantome; Seitz, Aaron R.; Jaeg­gi, Susanne Madlaina):

  • Pub­lic Health Rel­e­vance: The pro­posed research is rel­e­vant to pub­lic health in that it will lead to greater under­stand­ing of, and cre­ation of more effec­tive, behav­ioral inter­ven­tions for those with cog­ni­tive impair­ments. This research is aligned with the NIMH RDoC frame­work as work­ing mem­o­ry deficits exist in a wide range of men­tal health con­di­tions, cas­es of dis­ease and brain dam­age, and are asso­ci­at­ed with age-relat­ed cog­ni­tive decline. Tar­get­ed train­ing to improve work­ing mem­o­ry has poten­tial to give rise to per­son­al­ized inter­ven­tions that can be used on an out­pa­tient basis. In addi­tion to align­ment with NIMH, this pro­posed research cuts across the bounds of numer­ous NIH agen­cies, with our frame­work con­tribut­ing to the mis­sions of the NCI, NEI, NIA, NIAAA, NINCD, NIDA, NINDS, in that all of these agen­cies work with pop­u­la­tions who can gain direct ben­e­fits from suc­cess­ful approach­es to men­tal fitness.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the study is free and requires a com­mit­ment of a few weeks. Par­tic­i­pants will play a mem­o­ry train­ing pro­gram, com­plete a few cog­ni­tive tests, and fill out brief ques­tion­naires anony­mous­ly. Data is down­loaded into a serv­er at UCR. Par­tic­i­pants can com­plete all ses­sions at home using their tablets or smart­phones. They may drop out at any time.

Each ses­sion lasts 20–30 min­utes. Par­tic­i­pants are asked to com­plete two ses­sions a day and at least 10 ses­sions a week. Prizes can be won at week­ly give­aways that will be host­ed by the Brain Game Cen­ter. Par­tic­i­pants have a chance to win an iPad in a month­ly giveaway.

To par­tic­i­pate in the project, you can learn more and sign up here

The Study in Context:

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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