Fitness Training for the Brain

    UCLA researchers found that older adults who regularly used a brain-fitness program played on a computer demonstrated significantly improved memory and language skills. The team studied 59 participants with an average age of 84, recruited from local retirement communities in Southern California.

    The volunteers were split into two groups. The first group used a brain-fitness program for an average of 73.5 20-minute sessions across a six-month period, while a second group played it less than 45 times during the same period. Researchers found that the first group demonstrated significantly higher improvement in memory and language skills, compared to the second group.

    Age-related memory decline affects approximately 40 percent of older adults and is characterized by self-perception of memory loss and decline in memory performance. The study's findings add to the field, exploring whether or not such brain-fitness tools may help improve language and memory and may ultimately help protect individuals from the cognitive decline associated with aging and Alzheimer's disease.

    Previous studies have shown that engaging in mental activities can help improve memory, but little research has been done to determine if the numerous brain-fitness games and memory-training programs on the market are effective. This study is one of the first to assess the cognitive effects of a computerized memory-training program.

     

    Illustration by Mark Summers
    Belly Bugs + Brainpower  The acclaimed neurologist champions the power of the gut microbiome...
    Illustrations by Gracia Lam
    Cancer cells are clever. Researchers characterize them as wily, smart, sneaky, and stubborn. But...
    illustration by Mark Summers
    CNN’s chief medical correspondent is working on his third film about medical marijuana, a treatment...
    A spa debut and new health programming yield powerful results at three Southwestern resorts. The...
    “Often, one biopsy is not enough to definitively rule out prostate cancer,” says study researcher ...
    Johns Hopkins scientists report that rats exposed to high-energy particles, simulating conditions...
    Is play part of your plan for health? Leisure activities, particularly group activities, are a...
    Experiments in mice with a bone disorder similar to that in women after menopause show that a...
    Photo by Cordero Studios
    Detecting delirium among small patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is tricky, since...
    Johns Hopkins researchers say they have developed a technique that can predict — with 95 percent...