Do you sometimes find it difficult to remember where you left your keys or parked your car? Perhaps it takes you longer to study for a driving test or recall the words to a favorite song than it did a few years ago. It's easy to assume that these types of incidents are just a natural part of the aging process. Although cognitive decline is associated with age, studies are beginning to show that training the brain with mental exercises can provide an increase in mental focus and memory at any age.
In a recent study, targeting regions of a rat's brain that process sound with certain stimuli caused a decrease in age-related mental impairment. Other studies have shown that certain types of cognitive training can actually “rewire” brain circuits. Starting with middle age, gradual changes in the brain begin to affect mental processing. Due to these recent studies, leading experts are now beginning to think that this process is no longer permanent and can perhaps be reversed. As higher numbers of people age with the baby boomer generation, these findings are encouraging. Scientists are now beginning to study the effectiveness of different strategies to train the brain and improve mental function.
Training the brain can be compared to practicing a musical instrument. If someone stops practicing the piano for a year, that person will notice their skills on the instrument start to decline. Exercises that allow the brain to practice memory and cognitive skills effectively will allow the brain to improve its processing mechanisms and function more efficiently over time. An innovative new product called Lumosity is a web-based product designed to enhance memory and attention skills through use of a personalized program to systematically train your brain. Developed in San Francisco by a team of neuroscience experts and cognitive psychologists from Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia, Lumosity uses a variety of games and exercises to improve memory, attention and cognitive function. The system tracks your progress online, giving feedback and developing a program for improvement. As you begin to improve, it systematically modifies the program so that you continue to develop and enhance your mental skills.
Lumosity has been shown in several recent clinical trials to improve basic cognitive skills. In one recent clinical study, a group of students from 40 different schools participated in a study using Lumosity in the classroom. In this study, the students who used Lumosity training to supplement their curricula scored significantly higher on a battery of cognitive assessment tests than the control group. Other studies have shown than using the Lumosity program improves math skills as well as sustained visual attention skills. The Lumosity company says that users have reported sharper memory skills, faster thinking ability, better concentration, enhanced job performance, increased confidence and much more.
It's free to set up an account at Lumosity, and a free basic subscription allows access to a trial of the Lumosity games and features. A subscription allows full access to all features, including all games, progress tracking tools and training exercises.
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