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Fitness Training for the Brain

UCLA researchers found that older adults who regularly used a brain-fitness program...

Image courtesy of UCLA

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.


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