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Computerized Brain Fitness Program Improves Memory Of Older Adults

UCLA researchers found that older adults who regularly used a program played on a computer demonstrated significantly improved memory and language skills.

The team studied 59 participants with an average age of 84, recruited from local retirement communities in Southern California. The volunteers were split into two groups: the first group used a for an average of 73.5 (20 minute) sessions across a six-month period while a second group played it less than 45 times during the same period. Researchers found that the first group demonstrated significantly higher improvement in memory and language skills, compared to the second group.

The study’s findings add to the field exploring whether such brain fitness tools may help improve language and memory and may ultimately help protect individuals from the cognitive decline associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Age-related memory decline affects approximately 40 percent of older adults and is characterized by self-perception of memory loss and decline in . Previous studies have shown that engaging in mental activities can help improve memory, but little research has been done to determine whether the numerous brain fitness games and programs on the market are effective in improving memory. This is one of the first studies to assess the cognitive effects of a computerized program.

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The study also received a Blue Ribbon Award from the American Psychological Association during the organization’s annual convention held this week. The Blue Ribbon Awards are based on independent, blind review and scored on methodological rigor, merit, and potential impact on the science and practice of clinical neuropsychology.
Dr. , associate clinical professor, at UCLA and Dr. Gary Small, professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel Institute, are available for interviews.
The study was funded by Dakim, manufacturer of Dakim Brain Fitness, the computerized program used in the study. Small serves on the scientific advisory board of the company and owns Dakim stock options. Miller has received consulting fees for previous pilot studies with Dakim.
University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences