WUFT News

Brain Exercises May Improve Cognition in Older Adults

By on January 13th, 2014
_DJ_ / Flickr

Adults 65 and older who did brain exercises for a study on elderly brain function did 19 percent better on reasoning tests and 45 percent better on speed tests than those who did not participate in the exercises.

Mental exercise can provide long-lasting benefits to the minds of older adults, according to one University of Florida researcher.

Dr. Michael Marsiske, an associate professor of clinical and health psychology, said new research shows as few as 10 sessions of mental training can provide 10 years of improved cognitive ability for adults 65 or older. The study was published online Monday by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

Results showed participants who received training reported fewer limitations in their daily lives after 10 years than those who did not receive training, Marsiske said. Daily tasks assessed included meal preparation, finances, shopping and need for assistance with bathing and dressing.

Overcoming new and difficult tasks leads to increases in learning and cognitive abilities, Marsiske said. For example, results show new learning is possible for older adults.

“If there’s something they want to try, a challenge that they’d like to master, our evidence suggests that there’s still a lot of plasticity there,” he said. “They can take on these new challenges and get better at them.”

The mental training of participants also improved their reasoning and the speed of processing up to 10 years later but did not affect memory.

Marsiske said people ask him all the time how to improve their aging minds. Traditional mental activities like crossword puzzles work, but someone who is good at them should incorporate more of a challenge.

Playing grandchildren’s video games can be a very helpful mental exercise. The goal, Marsiske said, is to find new and difficult mental activities.

The cognitive research has encouraged private sector companies to develop computer-based programs people can use to improve mental function.


This entry was posted in Health and Science and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

Molly McCann, 66, traps a wild calico cat Sunday evening. She works with Operation Catnip, a local organization that cares for Gainesville’s community cat population by spaying or neutering and vaccinating them before releasing them back to their turfs.

Operation Catnip Launches Website, Educates On Trap And Neuter Methods

Gainesville non-profit dedicated to sterilizing and vaccinating stray cats creates a website to help other communities take care of un-owned cats.


The Florida Department of Children and Families recently included a new heat map on their child fatality website. The heat map shows communities in Florida affected by child fatalities.

Rise In Duval County Infant Fatalities Increases Need For Awareness And Transparency

Infant fatalities are on the rise in Duval County, but the Department of Children and Families is strategizing how to bring awareness to parents and caretakers about unsafe sleeping practices. It has made resources and information available to the community about past child fatalities and how to prevent them.


dogpalsy

Community Provides Companion For Cerebral Palsy Child

Olivia Pitts, 3, has lived with cerebral palsy her whole life. Now, her community has pulled together to provide her with a service dog..


Jessica Grobman, born HIV-positive, said she believes better sex education in Florida schools would help children grow up safer and healthier. “If education was just more encouraged, it definitely could be a great outcome,” she said.  Photo courtesy of Jessica Grobman.

HIV Positive Student Advocates Comprehensive Sex Education

Jessica Grobman was born with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. But it was not until she learned about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in middle school that she began to understand she was different.


FTN-feature

UF Graduate Students Offer Free Therapy To Those In Need

Volunteer graduate students studying clinical health psychology staff the Free Therapy Night clinic at Gainesville Community Ministry. The equal access clinic focuses specifically on mental health.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments