Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 7:35 EDT

Brain Training Improves Memory and Attention and the Effects Last

May 1, 2009

CHICAGO, May 1 /PRNewswire/ — Older adults can improve memory and attention by training on computerized brain exercises according to study data presented today at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in Chicago. Elizabeth Zelinski, PhD, lead investigator on the study and a professor at the University of Southern California, also reported on new data showing that the gains persist months after the training ended.

A total of 487 healthy adults over the age of 65 participated in the randomized controlled trial, called the IMPACT Study. Half were assigned to a group that trained on a brain fitness software program for 40 hours over 8 weeks. The other half spent an equal amount of time attending to lectures via computer and answering quizzes.

The study found that participants who trained on the software, The Brain Fitness Program(tm) from Posit Science(r), more than doubled their processing speed, with an average increase of 131%. They also saw gains on standard measures of memory and attention of 10 years, on average. These changes were big enough that participants reported significant improvements in every day activities (such as remembering names or understanding conversations in noisy restaurants). The gains of the brain exercise group were clinically significant; the gains of the lecture group were significantly smaller and not clinically significant.

The Brain Fitness Program was developed by a global team of neuroscientists from Posit Science, and consists of six exercises. The product is based on the science of brain plasticity – the brain’s ability to form new pathways in response to the right kind of stimulation.

Marlene Allen, aged 75, of Mill Valley, California participated in the brain exercises arm of the study. “Now I don’t have to write down shopping lists. I remember what I need at the store,” Ms. Allen said. “And I almost never walk into a room and forget why anymore.”

“The changes we saw in the experimental group were remarkable – and significantly larger than the gains in the control group,” said Dr. Zelinski, PhD. “From a researcher’s point of view, this was very impressive because people got better at the tasks trained, those improvements generalized to standardized measures of memory and people noticed improvements in their lives. What this means is that cognitive decline is no longer an inevitable part of aging. Doing properly designed cognitive activities can enhance our abilities as we age.”

The IMPACT study is the largest study ever of a brain fitness program that is available to the public and the first published in a medical journal to show improvements in memory and attention. It was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in April.. The new data shows that the gains persisted even three months after training ended.

About Posit Science:

Posit Science is the leading provider of clinically validated brain fitness programs. The company works with more than 50 scientists from prestigious universities to design and test its computer-based programs. More than 30 peer reviewed papers show that in randomized controlled trials the company’s patented technologies significantly increase processing speed, improve memory and attention, and enhance quality of life. Posit Science has received grants from the National Institutes of Health and numerous awards and accolades. The company’s products, scientists and science are currently featured in the PBS documentaries “The Brain Fitness Program” and “Brain Fitness 2.” For more information, visit www.PositScience.com or call 1-800-599-6463.

SOURCE Posit Science Corporation

Source: newswire