Teaching old brains new tricks

February 23, 2009 3:13:30 PM PST
The conventional thinking is that advancing age slows down memory, but new research shows the brain is remarkably elastic, and with the right training, can operate up to speed, no matter how old you are.A new study shows you can reverse your brain's age.

Researchers at the University of Southern California tested a computerized "brain fitness" program that puts people through a mental workout.

"It's not just repeating activities over and over again, like crossword puzzles. It's doing something new; it's doing something that really challenges that seem to make the difference," Dr. Elizabeth Zelinski, Ph.D. of USC.

Developers say the exercises boost memory by challenging the senses.

In one of the exercises, you hear a sound and have to click if the sound goes up or down.

"You don't feel as though you're being tested. It's just the fun of doing it," study participant Rena Wiseman said.

Researchers say the program made a big difference, especially to older people.

"They were performing like people 10 years younger than themselves on memory tests," Dr. Zelinski said.

Some people increased their information processing power by 131-percent and the effect lasted

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