Have you seen some of the advertisements for brain games that claim to enhance your memory? I've been seeing more and more. Like me, you may have wondered if they are any good. Do they really work? A group of researchers from UCLA found that they can - if you use them regularly enough.
The researchers took a group of 69 adults, at an average age of 82, and had them play a computerized brain fitness program called Dakin BrainFitness. BrainFitness contains more than 400 exercises designed to target short-term memory, long-term memory, language, visual spatial processing, reasoning, problem solving, and calculation skills.
But these study participants didn't need to complete all 400 exercises to get results. Of the 69 participants, the 52 who completed at least 40 sessions lasting 20 minutes over a six-month period showed significant improvements in immediate and delayed memory skills and language skills.
It seems that when it comes to improving memory, "use it or lose it" applies. It's likely that older adults who engage in computerized brain exercises can indeed improve cognitive function. Research is ongoing to determine whether tools such as BrainFitness can ultimately protect individuals from aging and Alzheimer's-related cognitive decline.
Nearly 40% of older adults suffer from some type of age-related memory decline. Research has proven that stimulating mental activities can improve memory, but not as much research has been done to evaluate whether brain-fitness games are effective. This study is one of the first. Fortunately, the results are promising.
The software for Dakim BrainFitness costs $249 for the first year (www.dakim.com). This includes software updates. You'll need to have a high-speed internet connection. But the Dakim system isn't the only one available. It's just the one that these researchers used – which certainly has value. But others have studies behind them as well. For example, BrainHQ by Posit Science costs $96 a year (http://brainhq.positscience.com). And if you search the internet you'll find others.
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University of California - Los Angeles Health Scie. (2013, June 28). "Computerized Brain-Fitness Program Improves Memory Of Older Adults." Medical News Today.