Brain Games and Cogitive Health

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Slowly, researchers are gathering enough scientific evidence to clarify the impact of various brain games on cognitive health. This is an important topic because marketers of such offerings have been hyping benefits for some time while academic skeptics have been sounding cautionary alarms. Until now, both sides have been operating in the dark or, at best, in dim light.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a group of 65+ year old subjects who engaged in daily computer-based exercises from Posit Science were able to outperform another group who spent the same amount of time watching educational DVD's and being tested on the content. This is one of the first studies that showed a correlation between computer based brain exercise and improved performance in other areas of cognition. That is, playing the games seemed to have improved mental performance in exercises other than the game.

The authors of the study speculated that Lumosity, a web-based brain exercise, might also yield improvements in cognition but were much less optimistic about the benefit of the Nintendo "Brain Age" series of games.

For me, it is encouraging that sound research has begun to identify the specific types of cognitive exercises that support genreal brain health. I look forward to more answers in this area.

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