A new study by a multi-institutional team of researchers has revealed that exercises meant to boost mental sharpness can benefit older adults as many as 10 years after they received the cognitive training.
The research reported that older adults who had participated in the mental exercise programs reported less difficulty with everyday tasks of living than were those who had not participated, even after 10 years had passed.
Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the National Institute on Aging said previous data from this clinical trial demonstrated that the effects of the training lasted for five years.
"Now, these longer term results indicate that particular types of cognitive training can provide a lasting benefit a decade later. They suggest that we should continue to pursue cognitive training as an intervention that might help maintain the mental abilities of older people so that they may remain independent and in the community," Hodes said.
The study involved 2,832 people living independently in Detroit, Baltimore and western Maryland, Birmingham, Ala., Indianapolis, Boston and central Pennsylvania.
Memory training involved improving abilities to recall texts and lists. Reasoning training included solving problems that involved patterns. Speed training, conducted on touch screen computers, was designed to increase speed in identifying information in different screen locations.
It was found that this cognitive improvement was maintained through 5 years for all three treatments and through 10 years for the participants who received reasoning and speed training.
The study is published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society....