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Computer software sharpens minds

Computer software sharpens minds
21st November 2007

A recent study has shown that computer-based training programmes can rejuvenate elderly people's memories by up to ten years.

Research carried out by the Mayo Clinic and the University of Southern California showed that participants who used Brain Fitness training software rather than a conventional educational programme showed a greater mental improvement.

After using US company Posit Science's programme for 40 hours, the elderly participants were processing information twice as quickly as before and had significantly reduced their mental age.

Dr Ron Ruff, a member of the study's Data Review Committee classed the findings as "very important".

He continued to say: "This clearly demonstrates that if healthy older adults engage in the right kind of cognitive training activities, they can enhance their cognitive abilities. This provides a prescription for what we should do as we age."

The software was inspired by studies which show that those with mentally demanding jobs are less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

In the future Posit Science hopes to adapt the software to help people with dementia.

There are currently around 700,000 people in the UK with Alzheimer's or a similar form of dementia.

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