AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Researchers Identify First Brain Training Exercise Positively Linked to Dementia Prevention

Aging research specialists have identified, for the first time, a form of mental exercise that can reduce the risk of dementia. 

The cognitive training, called speed of processing, showed benefits up to 10 years after study participants underwent the mental exercise program, said Frederick W. Unverzagt, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine.

The proportion of participants who underwent the training and later developed dementia was significantly smaller than among those who received no cognitive training, the researchers said.

There were measurable benefits even though the amount of training was small and spread out over time: 10 one-hour sessions over six weeks initially and up to eight booster sessions after that.      

“We would consider this a relatively small dose of training, a low intensity intervention. The persistence – the durability of the effect was impressive,” said Dr. Unverzagt, who explains more in a Q&A blog post.

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