CHICAGO -- A brief course of brain exercises helped older adults hold on to improvements in reasoning skills and processing speed for 10 years after the course ended, according to results from the largest study ever done on cognitive training. The findings, published on Monday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, offer welcome news in the search for ways to keep the mind sharp as 76 million baby boomers in the United States advance into old age. The new, federally-sponsored trial of almost 3,000 older adults, called the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study (ACTIVE), looked at how three brain training programs -- focusing on processing speed, memory and reasoning ability -- affected cognitively-normal adults as they aged. People in the study had an average age of 74 when they started the training, which involved 10 to 12 sessions lasting 60 to 75 minutes each. After five years, researchers found, those with the training performed better … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Brain training courses may keep seniors sharper for 10 more years
Brain training video games
A new study may convince some older folks to embrace video games. Researchers at UC San Francisco say video games may offset or even reverse the negative effects of aging on seniors' brains. According to the study's authors, the research provides evidence that video games can alter the brain's plasticity, or its ability to change functionally over time. "The finding is a powerful example of how plastic the older brain is," said Dr. Adam Gazzaley, an associate professor of neurology, physiology and psychiatry at UCSF, said in a statement. For the study, researchers first tested a 3D game called NeuroRacer on subjects who were in their 20's through 70s, and found multi-tasking abilities declined significantly with age. In NeuroRacer, players are tasked with steering a car along a winding, hilly road with their left hand while keeping an eye out for certain signs that they need to shoot down with a finger on their right hand. Following baseline testing, researchers trained a group of 46 … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Study: Video games sharpen seniors’ multitasking, memory skills
So-called “brain training” games are everywhere. From high-tech apps and websites to old-school puzzle books, they promise to help improve all sorts of brain functions. “You play these little games, and they’re supposed to be engaging, and they are,” University of Oregon psychology professor Elliot Berkman said in a call with CBS News. “But the point isn’t just to get better at those games.” The point of buying the apps and playing the games, he reiterated, is supposed to be to improve overall brain function. One company, Lumos Labs, the creator of the popular online brain training program Lumosity, boasts that it features scientifically designed games that will train memory and attention. “At Lumos Labs, we believe in improving brains—and lives. That's why we created a simple online tool to allow anyone to achieve their full potential,” the website reads. With more than 50 million users from 182 countries, … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Do brain training games really improve your brain function?
In the not-so-distant future, will playing video games be part of the prescription for treating children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? That's what one company, Akili Interactive Labs, Inc., is hoping for. The Boston-based company just raised $30.5 million in venture capital funding to support clinical development for a game called "Project: EVO." The developers hope it could be a game changer in helping people with ADHD. Akili aims to apply for FDA clearance and launch the product in 2017, according to a press release announcing the funding. How does "Project: EVO" work? The game can be played on phones or tablets, and it provides an interactive, virtual world for players. As they go through the game they are supposed to skirt around certain objects while choosing others. The idea is to condition the brain to sift through and organize information in real time, requiring a player to stay focused on the task at hand. Akili was founded in 2011 by PureTech Health, a … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo New video game aims to help kids with ADHD
Video games gain widespread attention for violence and graphic images -- from gruesome deaths in Mortal Kombat to sexual content in Grand Theft Auto -- and their impact on children. Now there is controversy over the opposite -- the decision by EA Sports to use its Madden NFL game franchise to promote a positive public health message about the dangers of concussions. In consultation with the game's namesake -- legendary NFL coach John Madden -- EA Sports is changing what happens to players in the game when they suffer concussions. In existing versions, players who suffer concussions or other injuries might be able to return to play later in the course of a single game. That doesn't jibe with current NFL policy for real-life games, in which concussed players must sit out for the remainder of any game. In the next 2012 version of Madden, players who suffer concussions won't be available for the rest of a game. The … [Read more...] about Video games as a solution? Madden 2012 to tackle concussions.