Building upon the popularity of mental workout games, such as Nintendo's Brain Training
titles for the Nintendo DS, scientists have released a report that these games may be better than classic computer games at staving off mental decline as a result of old age.
Researchers at the Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center of Tel-Aviv University in Israel have conducted a first of its kind double-blind clinical trial to demonstrate that brain training video games improve the cognitive functions of those ages 50 and older. The study was funded by by a grant from CogniFit, creator of a metal exercise program called MindFit
which was used in the study, the results of which were recently presented at an Alzheimer's conference in Salzburg, Austria.
The research was conducted over two years with 121 volunteers at least 50 years old. Each study participant was randomly assigned to spend 30 minutes, three times a week during the course of three months at home, using either MindFit
or other "sophisticated computer games." While the research found that all the participants benefited from the use of computer games, MindFit
users experienced greater improvement in the cognitive domains of spatial short term memory, visuo-spatial learning and focused attention.
users in the study with lower baseline cognitive performance gained more than those with normal cognition, showing the potential therapeutic effect of home-based computer training software in those already suffering the effects of aging or more serious diseases.
"We are additionally encouraged by the implications of our findings for those already below baseline in cognitive performance...In the future, we may research MindFit's
effect on Alzheimer's disease and forms of dementia," commented Nir Giladi, M.D., principal investigator, senior neurologist for the Department of Neurology for Tel-Aviv University's Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and faculty member in Tel-Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine.
Prof. Shlomo Breznitz, Ph.D., founder and president of CogniFit added: "These findings support CogniFit's belief that if you exercise your brain just as you do your muscles, you can build the speed and accuracy of your mental functions, significantly. 'Working out' with MindFit
three times a week from the comfort of your home will yield similar results for your brain as exercising at the gym with that same frequency does for your muscles."