5. Brain Fitness through Life

High­lights from Sec­tion 5: A Grow­ing Range of Applications 

Brain train­ing has more cur­rent and future appli­ca­tions than meet the eye. The same way there are many rea­sons to exer­cise our bod­ies (run in a marathon, stay in shape, lose weight, become an Olympian, have strong abdom­i­nal mus­cles, etc.), there are many rea­sons to exer­cise our brains. In this chap­ter, we review a few cur­rent and future appli­ca­tions of brain train­ing, such as the use of brain train­ing in retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, at school or in the clin­i­cal world.


Longer lives mean healthy aging is critical

If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you are prob­a­bly going to work and live longer than any pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. It is also very like­ly that you have had some expe­ri­ence with Alzheimer’s Dis­ease or oth­er types of demen­tia either through a loved one, a client or a patient. Keep read­ing.


Brain fitness centers in senior centers and retirement communities

In-house “brain fit­ness cen­ter­s” are becom­ing more com­mon in retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, nurs­ing homes, and con­tin­u­ing care retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties (CCRCs) around the coun­try. Keep read­ing.


Cognitive assessments: the importance of cognitive baseline tests

Many stud­ies have shown that when the right group of peo­ple uses the right tool, sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits can occur. The ques­tion then becomes, “What assess­ments may help pin­point who may ben­e­fit from what type of train­ing, and set up objec­tive, inde­pen­dent base­lines for cog­ni­tive per­for­mance over time?”. Keep read­ing.


Teenagers and adults: mental abilities for safe driving

As dri­vers get old­er a num­ber of cog­ni­tive prob­lems can get in the way of safe dri­ving. An increas­ing num­ber of traf­fic schools in Europe and Cana­da, as well as US com­pa­nies that employ large num­bers of dri­vers, are adding a new tool to their assess­ment and train­ing toolk­it. Keep read­ing.

Doctor and Paitent

Clinical applications:  strokes, traumatic brain injuries, attention deficit disorders

Increas­ing­ly, there are a vari­ety of clin­i­cal con­di­tions for which non-inva­sive, com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams can play a role both as first line inter­ven­tions and post diag­no­sis to com­ple­ment exist­ing treat­ments. In con­di­tions such as stroke, trau­mat­ic brain injury, and atten­tion deficits dis­or­ders some pro­grams are get­ting trac­tion and build­ing prac­ti­tion­er net­works. Keep read­ing.


Educational applications: cognitive training and academic performance

One of the first com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams ever com­mer­cial­ized was cre­at­ed for the K12 edu­ca­tion seg­ment. The prod­uct, called Fast For­word, was launched by Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (SCIL) in 1997. It focused on help­ing stu­dents with dyslex­ia and was dis­trib­uted through clin­i­cal chan­nels. Keep read­ing.


Insurance companies to promote brain wellness

Giv­en the expect­ed growth of Alzheimer’s dis­ease across the aging US pop­u­la­tion and the cost of patient care, insur­ance com­pa­nies have a strong inter­est in reduc­ing the rate of cog­ni­tive decline, delay­ing the onset of Mild Cog­ni­tive Decline and Alzheimer’s symp­toms and slow­ing the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease once it appears. Keep read­ing.

Keep learn­ing by read­ing more arti­cles in the Resources sec­tion, and also please con­sid­er join­ing our free month­ly Brain Fit­ness eNewsletter

This new online resource is based on the con­tent from the book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness (May 2009, $19.95), by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.

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