Brain fitness programme improves cognitive decline
By Margaret Rogers
Interesting new research was presented to the annual convention of the American Psychological Association on August 3rd. The research was conducted by UCLA researchers and found that older people using a brain fitness programme on a computer showed much improved memory skills. It also significantly improved language skills.
Over a six month period, the researchers studied a group of 59 participants with an average age of 84. The participants were split into two groups. One group used a brain fitness programme for around 73, 20-minute-sessions, while the second group used the programme for less than 45, 20-minute-sessions over the six months. The research team found that there was a marked improvement in the memory and language skills of the first group compared to the second.
These findings could be very good news in the field of cognitive decline, ageing and also Alzheimer’s disease. While the more moderate to severe cognitive decline of dementia is of course a concern, symptoms such as loss of memory, changes in thinking, understanding and language are often seen as a part of getting old, where they perhaps shouldn't be. With up to 40% of older adults experiencing memory loss to a greater or lesser degree, proactive 'brain training' activities could improve the quality of life for many millions of older people.
It is great to see us embracing the power of new technology to help the older generation, let's hope that what we find in research translates into resources and tools accessible to all.