The brain training computer game "Brain Age" can improve executive functions and processing speed, even with a relatively short training period, but does not affect global cognitive status or attention, according to a study published Jan. 11 in the online journal PLoS ONE.
The study compared the cognitive functions for 32 elderly participants before and after four weeks of playing a computer game, either Brain Age or Tetris, for 15 minutes per day, at least five days a week. At the end of the four weeks, the researchers found that the Brain Age players showed small improvement in their executive functions and processing speeds, but other cognitive functions were unchanged.
According to the researchers, led by Rui Nouchi of Tohoku University in Japan, where the Brain Age game was created, the relatively short training time used in the study suggests that it may be possible to improve some cognitive functions quite rapidly.
Citation: Nouchi R, Taki Y, Takeuchi H, Hashizume H, Akitsuki Y, et al. (2012) Brain Training Game Improves Executive Functions and Processing Speed in the Elderly: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29676. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029676
Financial Disclosure: This study was funded by Japan Science and Technology Agency/Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (http://www.ristex.jp/EN/ index.html). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: RK is the creator of the Brain Age. Tohoku University, where RK belongs, has received royalties generated by the Brain Age's sales. RK has no other competing interests. All other authors have declared that no competing interests exist. The authors confirm that this does not alter their adherence to all the PLoS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.
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