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Workouts for the Mind Go Best with Buddies, Study Finds
Posted by Marketing on February 17, 2015


Brain training works wonders to boost memory and thinking skills in the elderly, but many expensive at-home programs are ineffective, new research shows.

The new research by the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney reveals group-based brain training under supervision is effective at improving cognitive skills performance in older adults.

But it found that self-directed brain training had little impact on enhancing concentration, impulse control, planning and problem solving. The research team combined outcomes from 51 randomized clinical trials, including almost 5,000 participants.

Group leader associate professor Michael Valenzuela said: “We now understand how to prescribe brain training based on the highest standards of medical evidence.”

Part of the prescription is frequent training. However, training more than three times a week was found to neutralise the benefits of training, whereas 1-3 times a week was equally effective.  The brain may need a rest day between rigorous exercises, much like the body.

Kate O’Brien, Occupational Therapist at Margaret Hubery House said: “While not given the label of ‘brain gym’ or ‘brain training’, the therapy department is committed to not only maintaining our residents’ current cognitive function, but rather enhance their current cognitive skills.”

“At least three times per week is allocated to cognitively stimulating leisure activities, including reminiscence groups, bingo, quizzes and word games. Despite varying capabilities, all residents are supported to actively participate through the use of various communication and learning techniques. Simple references which allow the person to connect the present task with their long term memories enable them to not only retrieve previously stored information, but also learn new material.” continued Kate.

“For individuals with greater cognitive decline, unlocking stored information from their non-dominant parietal lobe which is often left ‘reserved’ from atrophy, usually enables them to sing the lyrics to previously loved songs, poems and hymns.”


Reference: Aged Care Insite, issue 86, page 10


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