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
Researchers have previously turned up links between playing action video games and better hand-to-eye coordination. One study even found that doctors who played video games enjoyed superior surgery skills compared to their non-video-playing colleagues. But how far should we consider video games as training tools to augment our responses to real-life situations? Apparently, a lot further than many assumed. Researchers say they have established for the first time a connection between playing first-person shooter games and making fast and accurate decisions. The investigation, which was carried out by a team from the University of Rochester, assembled a test group of video-gamers and measured their reaction skills against another group consisting of non-players. The participants in the test - including those who didn't usually play action video games - were found to have improved inference skills after playing 50 hours, compared with a test group that didn't play at all, according to … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Action Video Games Found to Sharpen Decision-Making
(CBS) - Actress Gwyneth Paltrow says she regrets letting seven-year-old Apple and five-year-old Moses - her kids with husband and Coldplay front man Chris Martin - play with the Nintendo Wii. She can't get them to stop!The Goop mom tweeted this morning, "How the f do i get these kids off the wii? i swore i would never have one in the house, now they freebase Mario. (sic)."Follower @megalyce tweeted back, "Send them to Wii-hab?" Is "Wii-hab" necessary? Does Paltrow have reason to worry at all? If the video games Apple and Moses are playing are the vicious kind, she sure does. A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that young adults who play violent video games become desensitized to guts and gore, and are more prone to aggressive behavior. On the other hand, some games can actually boost brain power, Susanne M. Jaeggi, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, told HealthDay. Jaeggi believes a memory-straining video game can help … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Gwyneth Paltrow’s kids are addicted to 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.
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) Dana Boebinger, Harvard University (THE CONVERSATION) Roughly 15 percent of Americans report some sort of hearing difficulty; trouble understanding conversations in noisy environments is one of the most common complaints. Unfortunately, there’s not much doctors or audiologists can do. Hearing aids can amplify things for ears that can’t quite pick up certain sounds, but they don’t distinguish between the voice of a friend at a party and the music in the background. The problem is not only one of technology, but also of brain wiring. Most hearing aid users say that even with their hearing aids, they still have difficulty communicating in noisy environments. As a neuroscientist who studies speech perception, this issue is prominent in much of my own research, as well as that of many others. The reason isn’t that they can’t hear the sounds; … [Read more...] about Your next hearing aid could be a video game
Given Amazon’s role in hastening the demise of traditional brick-and-mortar stores, it seems only fitting that one of the sites still in competition to host the company’s second North American headquarters is the 45-acre vacant lot once home to a popular Montgomery County mall.A set of mannequins peered out through the glass facade of a Lord & Taylor last week at the fenced-in field of scrub and dirt where the White Flint Mall once stood.Dorothy Whalen was one of the few customers at the department store Friday morning.“This is the last store,” the lifelong Montgomery County resident said. “Everything else has been torn down.”But from this rubble, some hope a new corporate colossus will rise. Montgomery County is one of the 20 finalists in the continental competition to win Amazon’s HQ2 and its promise of 50,000 jobs and $5 billion investment.Now the online giant is embarking on a months-long examination to choose which community it will … [Read more...] about Brains, trains and games constitute Montgomery County’s Amazon pitch
Given Amazon’s role in hastening the demise of traditional brick-and-mortar stores, it seems only fitting that one of the sites still in competition to host the company’s second North American headquarters is the 45-acre vacant lot once home to a popular Montgomery County mall.A set of mannequins peered out through the glass facade of a Lord & Taylor last week at the fenced-in field of scrub and dirt where the White Flint Mall once stood.Dorothy Whalen was one of the few customers at the department store Friday morning.“This is the last store,” the lifelong Montgomery County resident said. “Everything else has been torn down.”But from this rubble, some hope a new corporate colossus will rise. Montgomery County is one of the 20 finalists in the continental competition to win Amazon’s HQ2 and its promise of 50,000 jobs and $5 billion investment.Now the online giant is embarking on a months-long examination to choose which community it will … [Read more...] about Brains, trains and games comprise Montgomery County’s Amazon pitch