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

IMG_2752

Parents Use Social Media To Share Experiences With Health Providers

After accusations of a Jacksonville dentist’s mistreatment of patients, some parents have turned to Facebook to voice concerns about dentists who will not allow them to accompany their child during procedures. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports there are no set policies mandating access during treatment.


Shane Owens

Woman Launches Facebook Page For Those Facing Medical Difficulties

Carly Strange was born with her intestines outside her body. To help others not feel alone, she created the Facebook page “The Many Faces of a Survivor.”


HIV Bill Establishes New Patient Screening Routine

Florida House Bill 321 is bringing HIV testing out of the shadows.  Signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on June 10 and put into effect on July 1, HB 321 streamlines the process of HIV testing in medical settings and establishes it […]


By leppyone (Nine-banded Armadillo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Armadillos May Be Cause for Rising Leprosy Rates in Florida

Florida health officials are warning people to stay away from armadillos as they may be the cause of recent leprosy cases in the state. There have been nine cases reported in the last seven months, but none have been reported in Alachua.


Breastfeeding

Florida Hospitals Promote Breastfeeding

Hospitals around Florida are working to create initiatives to help mothers and future mothers with breastfeeding.The Florida Health Department connected with hospitals in 15 counties in June to participate in the Healthiest Weight Florida’s Baby Steps to Baby Friendly Initiative.


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