Can Computerized Brain Training Prevent Dementia?

“Researchers believe they have found a link between speed-of-processing training and a reduction in cognitive decline among the elderly,” reports the New Yorker. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes an article about how this new long-term study actually contradicts much of the previous science. In October of 2014 a group of more than seventy academics published what they called a consensus statement, asserting that playing brain games had been shown to improve little more than the ability to play brain games… no brain game, nor any drug, dietary supplement, or lifestyle intervention, had ever been shown in a large, randomized trial to prevent dementia…until today, when surprising new results were announced at the Alzheimerâ(TM)s Association annual meeting, in Toronto.

Nearly 3,000 participants with an average age of 73.6 participated in the study, with some receiving “speed of processing” training — and some later receiving four hours of additional training. “The researchers calculated those who completed at least some of these booster sessions were 48% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia after ten years than their peers in the control group.” Signatories of the 2014 consensus statement panning brain games are now calling these new results “remarkable” and “spectacular”.


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