Research shows that mental exercise programs can improve your memory
There are many ways to exercise your brain – crossword puzzles, Sudoku and actively testing your memory recall regularly, for example – and now researchers have shown that a brain fitness program played on a computer significantly improves memory and language skills in older people.
Researchers from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California asked 59 people with an average age of 84 to use a brain fitness program for 25-minute sessions over six months. Each session involved seven or eight exercises or games that span short-term memory, long-term memory, language, visual spatial abilities and executive functioning. To ascertain whether the exercises were beneficial, the researchers had one group do around 75 sessions, while the other group did 45 or fewer sessions. The first group showed significantly better memory and language skills after six months, compared to the second group.
“Memory improved on neuropsychological tests when participants were asked to recall word pairs, list of words, and designs after a delay of approximately 30 minutes,” says Dr Karen Miller, associate clinical professor and study author. “Language improved in terms of recall of words from a cue (verbal fluency) or when looking at a picture [where the person is required to name an object in an image]”.