Brain training can help improve cognitive function in older people with dementia according to research by scientists in Japan.
The findings are being presented today (Friday 9 March) at the Alzheimer's Disease International conference in London.
Two studies were conducted. One study involved 124 older adults living in the community, and another involved 32 people with Alzheimer's disease living in a nursing home. In both studies participants were divided into two groups. One group took part in training, which consisted of reading and arithmetic tasks for approximately five days a week for six months. The other group received no training. According to an assessment called the frontal assessment battery (FAB), all those undertaking the training showed improvement in their cognitive function.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'This research is some of the first to test whether brain training can have cognitive benefits for older people. The results are promising but more research is required in larger numbers of people and we need to see if it has benefits for everyday life. This research also only looked at one very specific programme. Alzheimer's Society is currently carrying out its own research to find out if brain training could improve brain function in the over 60s and therefore help slow the progression of dementia or stop it developing in the first place.
We know the best way to reduce your risk of dementia is by staying active and eating a balanced diet as well as watching your blood pressure and cholesterol and not smoking.'
Dr Anne Corbett