Online brain games can extend in-game 'cognitive youth' into old age, study says

Online brain games can extend in-game 'cognitive youth' into old age, UCI-led study says
"The brain is not a muscle, but like our bodies, if we work out and train it, we can improve our mental performance," says the study's lead author, Mark Steyvers, a UCI professor of cognitive sciences. Credit: Steve Zylius, UCI

A University of California, Irvine-led study has found that online brain game exercises can enable people in their 70s and even 80s to multitask cognitively as well as individuals 50 years their junior. This is an increasingly valuable skill, given today's daily information onslaught, which can divide attention and be particularly taxing for older adults.

"The is not a muscle, but like our bodies, if we work out and train it, we can improve our ," said lead author Mark Steyvers, a UCI professor of cognitive sciences. "We discovered that people in the upper age ranges who completed specific training tasks were able to beef up their brain's ability to switch between tasks in the game at a level similar to untrained 20- and 30-year-olds."

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, underscore the cognitive cost of multitasking, which dilutes function by splitting focus, as well as the ways in which people across the lifespan can overcome the brought on by both the increasingly cluttered multimedia environment and the natural aging process.

For the study, Steyvers and his colleagues partnered with Lumosity, an that offers a variety of daily brain training games. They focused on data from "Ebb and Flow"—a task-switching game that challenges the brain's ability to shift between cognitive processes interpreting shapes and movement. Of the millions of people who played the between 2012 and 2017, researchers randomly sampled the performance of about 1,000 users within two categories: those who ranged in age from 21 to 80 and had completed fewer than 60 ; and adults 71 to 80 who had logged at least 1,000 sessions.

They found that the majority of older and highly practiced players were able to match or exceed the performance of younger users who had not played very much. Any lead seniors had, though, significantly declined after the 21- to 30-year-olds had completed more than 10 practice sessions.

"Medical advances and improved lifestyles are allowing us to live longer," Steyvers said. "It's important to factor brain health into that equation. We show that with consistent upkeep, cognitive youth can be retained well into our golden years."


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More information: Mark Steyvers el al., "A large-scale analysis of task switching practice effects across the lifespan," PNAS (2019). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1906788116
Citation: Online brain games can extend in-game 'cognitive youth' into old age, study says (2019, August 19) retrieved 22 September 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-08-online-brain-games-in-game-cognitive.html
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Aug 19, 2019
All Life Forms have a finite lifetime, but it is only in the human mind that makes it possible to alter its own lifetime, and often those of other humans.
Exercising of the brains' mental powers oftentimes contribute to an even longer lifetime, with healthy living as the key ingredient.

But then, many humans, perhaps too many have a desire to abuse not only their body, but also participate in the usage of mind-bending aka mind-altering chemicals. Some are of the opinion that drug-use enables them to keep their mind clear of painful memories or it gives their brain a boost so that their life is more tolerable. But they are only prolonging the inevitable.
They were not born with those drugs in their body, and they were not raised by their parents to indulge in such types of physical body intoxications.
So why do humans do it? Is it because they have the freedom to slowly murder themselves?

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