For People of a Certain Age

In the Washinton Post yesterday, this article by Shankar Vedamtan reports that doing short brain exercises has a profound effect on cognition years after the exercises are performed.

“The researchers divided the volunteers into four groups, including a control group that received no training. A second group was trained in reasoning skills — being asked to spot the pattern in the sequence “a, c, e, g, i,” for example — every other letter of the alphabet. A third group was taught memory skills, which involved remembering word lists and using visualizations and associations as memory aids. A fourth group was given exercises to speed up mental processing — being asked to identify an object flashed briefly on a computer screen while fighting off distractions.

Each of the groups being trained had 10 sessions, each lasting an hour to 75 minutes, and each session presented progressively more challenging problems. Compared with the control group, those who got memory training did 75 percent better on memory tasks five years later, those who got the reasoning training did 40 percent better on reasoning tasks, and those who got the speed training did 300 percent better than the control group.”

An article last year from NewScientist.com details many other things we can do to prevent senior moments from evolving into… umm, oh yeah — it is a beautiful cloudless evening, no no, wait, oh yes, of course, time for lunch!!

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