'Brief mental training sessions' could lessen cognitive decline in old age
A new study has found that an elderly person can improve their reasoning ability and the speed at which their brain processes things by taking brief mental training sessions.
The study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found older adults who received as few as 10 sessions of mental (cognitive) training showed improvements in reasoning ability and speed-of-processing when compared with untrained controls participants as long as 10 years after the intervention.
These gains were even greater for those who got additional "booster" sessions over the next three years. Older adults who received brief cognitive training also reported that they had less difficulty in performing important everyday tasks.
"Showing that training gains are maintained for up to 10 years is a stunning result because it suggests that a fairly modest intervention in practicing mental skills can have relatively long-term effects beyond what we might reasonably expect," lead author Dr. George Rebok said.
The investigators now report on the 10-year follow-up results of 2832 participants (with an average age of 73.6 years at the start of the study) who were randomized to three intervention groups and an untrained control group.
The team also found that a four-session booster training at 11 and at 35 months after the initial training sessions produced additional and durable improvements in the reasoning intervention group and in the speed-of-processing group.
The study was published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
(Posted on 14-01-2014)