Study: Posit Science Brain Training Shows Significant, Lasting Gains in Cognitive Function

May 2nd, 2013 by Dr. Merzenich

bhq-ex-double-decision-02I woke up in a cheerful mood this morning because yesterday the results of a scientific study were published and they once again demonstrated that very strong benefits can be achieved through only 10 hours of Posit Science brain training. The cognitive benefits were not just seen in the tasks themselves, but in measures of everyday activities. What’s more, the benefits lasted for at least a year after training. The study found that the more people trained, the better their level of cognitive protection.

This independent study was conducted by Dr. Fred Wolinsky at the University of Iowa, and published in PLoS One. The researchers separated 681 generally healthy people into four groups. One group was given computerized crossword puzzles, while the other three groups did the brain fitness exercise in different settings—on their own at home, in a supervised setting, or in a supervised setting with four extra hours of “booster” training.

Dr. Wolinsky and colleagues found that the people who used Posit Science exercises showed significant gains across speed, attention, working memory, useful field of view, and other executive functions. Benefits were sustained across the board when individuals were evaluated a year later. In fact, statistical analysis indicated that with only 10 hours of exercise, gains in these crucial abilities were going to be sustained in ways that provided years of benefit.

As lead researcher Dr. Wolinsky says, “To most people it is probably surprising that just 10 hours of brain exercise can deliver gains that are measurable at all a year later… you certainly would not expect that from physical exercise. Yet, here we saw gains of 1.5 to 6.6 years across the different standardized tests.” Gains of that magnitude are consistent with other studies of Posit Science exercises published in scientific and medical journals, including gains of about 10 years noted immediately after training.

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While I’m thrilled that news of these results has hit the media with vigor, I will admit to feeling a little frustrated with how this (and related good news) has been reported. In many cases, the reporters don’t mention that it really matters what kind of brain training you do, and they often refer to the exercises used as simply “brain games” or “video games.” These are neither brain games nor video games; they are specific, unique, scientifically proven brain training exercises that have been designed to improve cognition. It’s worth pointing out that this study is yet more evidence that establishes Posit Science as the only brain training company whose exercises have consistently demonstrated large-scale, clinically proven results that generalize to abilities that really matter in everyday life, in a rich variety of normal aging people.

In fact, with this study published, the three largest studies ever conducted on therapeutic brain training have all been conducted using Posit Science exercises. Even if we just look at those three studies (and not the total 60+ other studies that have documented the benefits of our exercises) we have proven these benefits across a sample of almost 4,000 unique and normally aging individuals. Other highly visible companies that claim to have “clinically/scientifically proven results” base those claims on relatively limited short-term outcomes studies conducted with no more than a few dozen people overall. The science is out there for all to see: no other “brain games” company out there comes close to providing strong, independent, peer-reviewed, published, and wide-ranging studies demonstrating clear-cut and measurable results. And that’s because, frankly, we have no interest in offering brain training programs that have not been documented to be effective. We want people to spend their time doing brain training exercises that we know will work.

In this particular study, Dr. Wolinsky noted that the he and the other researchers were somewhat surprised that there was no difference between the group aged 50-64 and the group aged 65 and older in their ability to make large gains. He notes, “This suggests that as with physical exercise, anyone can improve at any age… and, as with physical exercise, why would you wait until you are old to get into better shape?”

I couldn’t agree more.

To try the exercise used in the study, you can get started for free at BrainHQ now.