Brain Training Cuts Dementia Risk a Decade Later

Posted on July 26, 2016

For the first time ever, researchers have managed to reduce people’s risk for dementia — not through a medicine, special diet, or exercise, but by having healthy older adults play a computer-based brain-training game.

The training nearly halved the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other devastating forms of cognitive and memory loss in older adults a decade after they completed it, scientists reported on Sunday. If the surprising finding holds up, the intervention would be the first of any kind — including drugs, diet, and exercise — to do that.

ACTIVE is a well-respected study that, until now, had found only modest effects from cognitive training which, in addition to speed-of-processing, included classroom training in memory or reasoning strategies. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive one of the three or none. The randomization reduced the chances that the different outcomes were the result of, say, more cognitively-spry people choosing to undergo computerized brain training.

There is growing evidence that remaining intellectually engaged (“lifelong learning”) and certain forms of cognitive training can reduce the risk of plain old cognitive decline. But the new ACTIVE findings “are evidence that [that] may hold true for dementia, as well,” said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Source material from Scientific American

Mental Health News