Could this brain-training program ward off dementia? - (CBS News via NewsPoints Desk)

  • According to findings published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, healthy seniors who tried the brain-training program BrainHQ were less likely to develop dementia, as reported by CBS News.

  • The program gives seniors the task of distinguishing between a series of ever-changing objects on a computer screen, both in the center and periphery of their vision, with the objects appearing more quickly and looking more similar to one another over time.

  • In the study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health, dementia-free seniors aged 65 and over were divided into four groups. One group received no brain training of any kind, while three other groups underwent at least 10 sessions of different types of brain training that lasted 60 minutes to 75 minutes each. Some participants received additional training sessions beyond the initial six weeks.

  • Specifically, one group was offered strategic advice on how to improve their verbal memory skills, while a second group was offered strategies on improving their capacity to reason and problem-solve, and a third group underwent the BrainHQ program.

  • Results showed that neither memory training nor reason training appeared to lower long-term dementia risk, but the speed-of-thought-processing training appeared to cause dementia risk to fall by 29 percent over a decade. Further, the more speed training sessions a senior underwent, the lower their dementia risk was going forward.

  • Study author Jerri Edwards said "this is the first treatment ever shown in a clinical trial to make a difference" in terms of lowering dementia risk. The researcher noted "it is important to understand that this intervention is not a game…It's a very specific training program that shows these benefits."

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