About brain fitness
Experiments with animals and people have found that as they age the brain slowly degrades. Specifically, the perception of senses, memory and thinking abilities are all affected. However, experiments have also found that the brain retains the ability to learn and to store information throughout life. In response to stimulation, the brain can undergo very subtle changes in shape and size. Researchers who study the brain (neuroscientists) refer to these changes as neuroplasticity.
Researchers in the U.S. with the company Posit Science (San Francisco, California) have developed exercises to stimulate the brain. These exercises specifically challenge the brain, causing it to improve its ability to capture, sort and retrieve information. The approaches used by Posit Science (and other companies that have developed well-designed brain-training exercises) have been tested in clinical trials with mostly HIV-negative people. Overall, these studies have found that significant improvements were detected in the following assessments among people 60 years of age or older:
- faster processing of information
- improvement in memory
- increased ability to focus
- improved ability to do everyday tasks
- reduced risk for developing depression
- reduced risk for cognitive decline
Researchers who study the impact of brain fitness have found that the overall health of participants seemed to improve, resulting in a small decrease (about US$300) in healthcare costs. Furthermore, the benefits of brain training seem to persist for up to five years after the initial sessions.
Until recently, limited studies have been done with HIV-positive people and brain fitness exercises. Such studies have found improvements in HIV-positive people when brain training was done.
- A Mind of her Own – Positive Side
- Pilot study of brain training – CATIE News
- Studying memory provides clues about helping the brain – CATIE News
—Sean R. Hosein
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