“Brain training” benefits seniors years later
Does your regular workout regimen include brain exercises? It should, experts say.
Older adults who participate in “brain training” see positive cognitive benefits as much as 10 years later, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Researchers recruited over 2,800 older adults for the study, known as “Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly,” or ACTIVE.
The participants – whose average age was 74 – were divided randomly into four groups. One group received no brain training, while the others received 10 training sessions in either memory, speed or reasoning.
Five years later, researchers found that those with the training performed better than their untrained counterparts in all three measures. After 10 years, gains in memory appeared to drop off, but gains in reasoning and speed persisted.
Furthermore, researchers found that these gains were even greater for those who received additional “booster” sessions after the initial training sessions.
“Showing that training gains are maintained for up to 10 years is a stunning result because it suggests that a fairly modest intervention in practicing mental skills can have relatively long-term effects,” said lead author Dr. George Rebok, in a news release.
Participants in all three training groups also reported that they had an easier time with daily activities – such as managing their finances or cooking meals – when compared to participants who did not get the training.
“Good cognitive health is essential as we get older so that we can keep active and stay independent,” says Dr. Hosam Zakariya, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Mundelein, Ill.
The researchers now plan to test whether more training over a longer period leads to even greater cognitive improvements.
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