Memory drills not best bet for reducing 'senior moments'

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Washington, Jan 20 (ANI): A new evidence review has suggested that memory training regimes are not any better than simple conversations at improving memory in older adults.

Some studies show that healthy older adults, and those with mild cognitive impairment, do remember words better after some memory training.

But seniors with memory training do not improve their memory any more than do seniors who participate in a discussion about art, for instance, instead of drilling with a list of words.

"Based on published studies, it seems that alternative interventions do just as well as cognitive interventions," said Mike Martin, a psychologist at the University of Zurich and review co-author.

The findings do "not mean that longer, more intense or different interventions might not be effective but that those which have been reported thus far have only limited effect," said Martin.

Although several studies have suggested that brain-training exercises could delay or reverse signs of cognitive decline, the studies and the types of training "vary considerably," Martin said.

"We need...better coordinated studies to ultimately determine if and which types of training may prevent cognitive decline in old age," he said.

The Cochrane researchers reviewed the evidence for cognitive training from 36 studies, conducted between 1970 and 2007, which included 2229 patients.

Most of the studies involved group sessions, where a trainer or tutor offered the cognition exercises. The total time in training sessions varied across from six to 135 hours, with the training sessions carried out over periods ranging from one day to two years.

The study appeared in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration. (ANI)

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