Computer Games to Keep Memory Strong

Memory may be improved by using computer training programs

(RxWiki News) Research about losing mental skills with age suggests that an active mind stays strong. Some computer games may help to improve memory.

Recent research looked at a computerized brain training program and its effects on memory and language skills for older people.

They found that people using the program often over six months had improved scores on memory tests.

"Ask your doctor about keeping your memory strong."

The study, led by Karen Miller, MD, at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California in Los Angeles, enrolled 59 people who were, on average, 84 years old.

They split the people into two groups. One group had an intense program where they used the computer training for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week over two months.

The other group did not use the program for the first two months.

After the first two months, people in both groups were given the chance to use the program for the next four months. They could use the program however they wanted and as often as they liked.

At two and six months of the study, the researchers tested memory for items just after they were seen, memory for items after a delay and language skills.  They also asked the people to report on how they used the program over the last four months.

At the end of the study, the intense training group had done an average of 80 sessions; the other group completed less than 45 sessions.

Both groups had improved memory from the start of the study to the end.

The group with the more intense use of the program had better scores than the other group for delayed memory and language after six months.

The Dakim BrainFitness program increased memory for older people, and more intense use of the program led to bigger gains in memory.

The authors concluded, “This study suggests that participating in a computerized brain fitness program for a minimum of 80 sessions across six months improves memory and language functioning.”

This study used Dakim’s Brain Fitness program and was funded by Dakim. This program uses word games, picture tasks and music to create fun activities that target many aspects of memory and language. It is available for download from the Dakim website and costs $249.

Previous research has shown that staying mentally active can lower the odds of cognitive decline. Other similar brain training programs may show similar results. More research is needed.

This study was presented August 3 at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention. It received the Blue Ribbon Award at the convention for merit and impact.

Because this study was presented at conference, it may not have had the chance to be reviewed by other experts in the field.

Authors on this study report financial affiliations with Dakim.

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Review Date: 
August 7, 2012