Friday, March 21, 2014

Do brain workouts work?

I've done numerous posts on brain training websites, and have ended up enjoying returning to the one started up by Michael Merzenich, Posit Science. I want to pass on this link to the latest article I've seen discussing the usefulness of brain training regimes. The article points out that the science has not kept up with the hype. But, one study has suggested that games engaging attention, speed of processing, and short term memory improve general cognitive skills for as long as 5-10 years. Here is a clip:
In January, the largest randomized controlled trial of cognitive training in healthy older adults found that gains in reasoning and speed through brain training lasted as long as 10 years. Financed by the National Institutes of Health, the Active study (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) recruited 2,832 volunteers with an average age of 74.
The participants were divided into three training groups for memory, reasoning and speed of processing, as well as one control group. The groups took part in 10 sessions of 60 to 75 minutes over five to six weeks, and researchers measured the effect of training five times over the next 10 years. Five years after training, all three groups still demonstrated improvements in the skills in which they had trained. Notably, the gains did not carry over into other areas. After 10 years, only the reasoning and speed-of-processing groups continued to show improvement...The researchers also found that people in the reasoning and speed-of-mental-processing groups had 50 percent fewer car accidents than those in the control group.

1 comment:

  1. They could just take a math class, or learn C++.