Exercising your Brain can be Fun!



Video: Nun Study

News report on a study conducted by David Snowdon of the University of Kentucky.

Video: Physical Exercise

Professor Nelson discusses how physical exercise can help the brain.

The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE)  

This nationwide clinical trial is so far the nation's largest study of cognitive training. Researchers found that improvements in cognitive ability roughly counteract the degree of long-term cognitive decline typical among older people without dementia. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002, showed significant percentages of the 2,802 participants age 65 and older who trained for five weeks for about 2 1/2 hours per week improved their memory, reasoning and information-processing speed.

Joe Verghese, M.D. found that people could reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by 64% simply by raising their activity score by 1 point, and a 1-point increase corresponded to a reduction of dementia risk by 7%. That means that people could lower their dementia risk by 7% simply by adding one activity per week (such as doing a crossword puzzle or playing a board game) to their schedule. According to the findings of that same study, subjects who did crossword puzzles four days a week had a 47% lower risk of dementia than subjects who did a crossword puzzle just once a week.

Using the above equation. using Wise123 at the minimal recommended level (4 exercise 4 times a week) would equate to 28% lower risk of developing dementia.

Study from the University of Illinois

A study of a number of elderly people suggest that those who see themselves as self-disciplined, organized achievers have a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s than people who are less conscientious. This may from increasing neural connections.

Previous studies have linked social connections and stimulating activities like working puzzles with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. The same researchers reported previously that people who experience more distress and worry about their lives are at higher risks.

News Release from the Gerontological Society

Data from the Computer Improvement study were presented to the Gerontological Society of America's annual conference. The purpose of the Study was to evaluate whether improvements from cognitive training can extend to untrained measures of memory performance and to self-perceived everyday cognition.


The Study's trial compares the benefits of a plasticity-based cognitive computer training program to a computer-based learning control matched for computer usage and training  intensity. It was chosen to represent current clinical recommendations regarding "staying cognitively active." The Study's is the first large-scale randomized controlled trial of a non-invasive, computer-based cognitive intervention for aging adults that is available for widespread, individual use. In addition to using standardized neuropsychological tests to assess training-related changes in memory, the Study's measured the improvements in cognitive abilities directly reported by study participants themselves.

Using an intensive series of adaptive computerized exercises is designed to target the speed and accuracy of auditory and language processes, and neuromodulatory systems associated with learning and memory. Predefined endpoints distinct in design and content from training exercises included standardized neuropsychological  assessments of memory and participant-reported outcome (PRO) assessments measuring perceptions of everyday cognition.

After 10 weeks of training, significant group by time interactions favoring the experimental group were seen on  the primary endpoint measure and multiple
within-modality but not cross-modality secondary endpoint measures.

 Principal Investigators Glenn Smith, PhD at Mayo Clinic and Elizabeth Zelinski, PhD at the University of Southern California, participated in this prospective, randomized, controlled trial. The study involved 524 healthy adults over the age of 65.

"Your brain is capable of changing, for the worse or for the better, at any age."
Dr. Michael Merzenich, Neuroplastician

"a cognitive active person in old age was 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease than a cognitively inactive person in old age."
The American Academy of Neurology

One study that followed 1,500 elderly subjects in Sweden for more than 20 years, have found that typical heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure can more than double the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

"People are worried," says Dr. John Hart Jr., medical science director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. "You have a large group of the population getting to the age where they are sort of vulnerable to degenerative neurological diseases that seem to be prevalent."

Hart says there is "reasonable evidence" that challenging your brain by learning new things can stave off the cognitive decline that comes with aging.