Brain training improves memory and performance

Playing online games that challenge reasoning and memory skills – brain training – could have significant benefits for older people in their day to day lives, according to a new study published in JAMDA (Journal of the American Medical Directors Association). Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London have shown that an online brain training package can improve not only memory and reasoning skills but also how well older people carry out everyday tasks such as navigating public transport, shopping, cooking, and managing personal finances.  Previous research has shown some promise for brain training in improving memory, although these small-scale studies have been inconclusive. This new research, which is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, is the largest randomised control trial to date of an online brain training package. Involving almost 7,000 adults aged over 50, it is also the first to evaluate the impact of computerised brain training on how well people can perform their daily activities.  After six months, brain training led to significant improvements in scores on the test of daily living in people over 60, and significant improvement in reasoning and verbal learning in those over 50 compared to those who didn’t play the reasoning and problem solving games. Playing the brain training games five times per week was most effective in bringing about these improvements.  People over 50 and living in the UK can take part in the new brain training study by registering online here . Read more on the King’s College London website.

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