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Online brain training can help memory in the elderly, new study suggests.

9th December 2015
Online brain training can help memory in the elderly, new study suggests.

A new study is suggesting that popular brain training games that challenge reasoning and memory skills could have significant benefits for older people when facing the day to day challenges in every day life. 


Researchers at Kings College London have shown that participants not only benefited from better memory but also found that they carried out day to day tasks such as navigating public transport, cooking and shopping significantly better.


This is not the first time that brain training games have come to the attention of researchers too, small-scale studies have been carried out previously which prompted the Alzheimer’s Society to fund this new study making it the largest randomised control trial of an online brain training package. This study involved just under 7,000 adults aged over 50 and is also the first study to evaluate the impact of computerised brain training on how well people can perform daily activities. 


Dr Anne Corbett from the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, said: 

'The impact of a brain training package such as this one could be extremely significant for older adults who are looking for a way to proactively maintain their cognitive health as they age. The online package could be accessible to large numbers of people, which could also have considerable benefits for public health across the UK.

'Our research adds to growing evidence that lifestyle interventions may provide a more realistic opportunity to maintain cognitive function, and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline later in life, particularly in the absence of any drug treatments to prevent dementia.'


Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society said: 'Online brain training is rapidly growing into a multi-million pound industry and studies like this are vital to help us understand what these games can and cannot do. While this study wasn’t long enough to test whether the brain training package can prevent cognitive decline or dementia, we’re excited to see that it can have a positive impact on how well older people perform essential everyday tasks.’


Could this lead to a new wave of technology designed to improve cognitive function? Technology is constantly developing and thinking of new ways to benefit human life, this is a positive step toward making the benefits of technology more accessible to everyone.


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