Wednesday, November 21, 2007

High IMPACT Exercise

Initial results from The IMPACT Study (Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training) were presented at a recent conference, as touted in this press release:
New Research on Aging and Cognitive Training

Researchers released initial data today at the 60th Annual Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) that showed that doing the right kind of brain exercise can enhance memory and other cognitive abilities of older adults.

Dr. Elizabeth Zelinski of the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center presented data from the IMPACT study (Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training) – the largest study ever done on aging and cognitive training using a program available to the public. In this prospective, randomized, controlled, double blind trial of 524 healthy adults (aged 65 and older), half the participants completed up to 40 hours of the computer-based Posit Science Brain Fitness Program. The other half, who followed the traditional advice that older adults will benefit from new learning, completed up to 40 hours of a computer-based educational training program.

The group that engaged in the Posit Science program showed significantly superior improvements in standardized clinical measures of memory gains of approximately 10 years. This is the first research study to show generalization to untrained standardized measures of memory using a publicly available cognitive training program. ...

In brief, 10 weeks of the training program, which targeted the speed/accuracy of auditory and language processes, resulted in improvements in auditory memory in a large group of intelligent, well-educated, highly-functioning elderly adults (when compared to an "active control" group). The conference poster is available for download, The IMPACT Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brain Plasticity-Based Training Program for Age-Related Cognitive Decline.

Next up: combining the auditory memory benefits of computerized cognitive training with the executive control benefits of aerobic fitness training. Has Posit approached Art Kramer yet?

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At November 21, 2007 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neurocritic asks:
Has Posit approached Art Kramer yet?

That's an interesting question. When last I talked to Art, he mentioned that he has always avoided these kind of overtures. That said, I do not know of any other company that has ever bothered to fund a behavioral training RCT of over 500 subjects before. That part is new. (Although, to be honest, I would have preferred that the company hold back on the press release until the study were accepted for publication.)

In addition, the Neurocritic might be interested to know that Posit Science has approached Dr. Karlene Ball, whose useful field of view (UFOV (r)) training has shown to be successful in visual speed of processing training (with some benefit to driving).

There is a lot we don't know about Posit's program yet, and they certainly are not shy about their product. But it looks like the IMPACT trial might be pretty interesting even when you strip away the hype. My guess is that it will be published somewhere in the next year, and then we will know much more.

At November 21, 2007 8:38 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks, A Little Bit, for the info about Karlene Ball. And, true, it's hard to get all neurocritical about something that hasn't been published yet...


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