Research finds brain exercise cuts dementia risk dramatically

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New results of a 10-year, landmark study show one particular type of brain exercise called speed training cut the long-term risk of dementia nearly in half.

Now promising research of the U.S. study of more than 27-hundred  participants finds benefits of speed brain training. It is the first time any intervention, including brain training programs, physical exercise, diet, or drugs has been found to reduce the risk of dementia. 

It's called the ACTIVE study -- or advanced cognitive training in vital elderly.

Neurologist Dr. Laura Morris of the Friendship Center for Healthy Aging in Sarasota explains that study participants were asked to track an object then pick up a second object at the periphery.

"This pushes the speed of visual processing," said Dr. Morris. "Participants not only stopped having cognitive decline, but kept cognitive functioning for more than 10 years after the relatively short training period that they underwent."

After 10 years, only those in the speed of processing training group showed more than a 30 percent reduction in new cases of cognitive impairment or dementia.

Participants who did booster sessions, those who participated in 11 or more sessions of the computerized training showed a 48 percent reduction.

Dr. Morris said the future of brain training may extend to and include new, exciting games.

"Pokemon Go is excellent for cognitive development and keeping your mind sharp," said Dr. Morris, who added that the ACTIVE study offers promise.

"This new study does give us hope for the first time."