It's my birthday today - one of those lamdmark ones - so I better get going on this!
A new, 10-year study showed that speed training—computer exercises that get users to visually process information more quickly—beat out memory and reasoning exercises, two other popular brain-training techniques. Researchers found that a total of 11 to 14 hours of speed training has the potential to cut by as much as 48% the risk of developing dementia 10 years later.
The results of the study, called Active, for Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly, were presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto, the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s researchers. The study is believed to be the first to demonstrate that a behavioral intervention can reduce the incidence of dementia. Many people practice various brain-training exercises to keep the mind limber as they age.
The study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Nursing Research, included 2,832 healthy subjects, ages 65 to 94, at six study sites around the U.S. Participants were randomized to get one of the three cognitive-training programs or be in a control group. Memory and reasoning training were done with an instructor, not on a computer, and didn’t cut the risk for developing dementia.
The speed-training participants had 10 one-hour training sessions over five weeks with an instructor on hand for help. Some had booster sessions a year later and three years later.
Participants getting only the initial 10 hours of training had on average a 33% lower risk for developing dementia 10 years later, whereas those who received the additional sessions reduced their risk by 48%....
If it's true, then that's a great return on just a few hours invested in training. Almost too good to be true. And maybe it is.
... The data is considered preliminary because it hasn’t yet been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal. Jerri Edwards, director of the School of Aging Studies and Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute at the University of South Florida, who presented the data and led the most recent analysis, says the researchers wanted to disclose the findings as soon as possible.