Thursday, June 14, 2007

ACTIVE Study: Don't Lose Your Mind

Diet is only one variable in the equation that leads to health. When it comes to cognitive health, diet shares that equation with a number of variables, including blood pressure, inflammation, exercise, attitude, and social networks. But one variable, mental activity, has been receiving more weight in the equation, owing to studies such as this one:

Long-term Effects of Cognitive Training on Everyday Functional Outcomes in Older Adults


The participants in this study (n = 2832, mean age 73.6) were divided into 3 treatment groups and a control group. The treatment groups received either memory training, reasoning training, or speed-of-processing training. There were ten training sessions at the start of the study and four booster sessions at 11 and 35 months (at the end of year 1 and year 3).

"The ACTIVE (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) study is the first largescale, randomized trial to show that cognitive training improves cognitive function in well-functioning older adults ..."
But the star finding:
"... and that this improvement lasts up to 5 years from the beginning of the intervention."
Ten sessions and a few boosters = 5 years of improved cognitive functioning? I'm sold.

Some nutrition for your brain (Try them before you look in comments!)

1. How many triangles can you count in the following figure?

2. How can you throw a ball such that it comes back? No bounces allowed.

3. What do you see?

4. A man wants to transport a fox, a chicken and some corn across a river. He has a rowboat, but it can only carry the man and one other item. If the fox and the chicken are alone together, the fox will eat the chicken. If the chicken and the corn are alone together, the chicken will eat the corn. How does the man do it?

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