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Now Hear This: Brain Fitness Exercises Improve Listening
Date:3/5/2009

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Brain fitness training makes you a better listener says Michael Merzenich, PhD, who delivers the Carhart Memorial Lecture today at the American Auditory Society annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dr. Merzenich's talk is entitled "Hearing and the Brain Plasticity Revolution." He will discuss recent results from the IMPACT Study, which are being published next month in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. An advance copy of the breakthrough study, led by researchers from the University of Southern California and the Mayo Clinic, has been released online.

A total of 487 healthy adults over the age of 65 participated in the randomized controlled trial. Half were assigned to a group that trained for a total of 40 hours over the course of 8 weeks on cognitive training software - the Brain Fitness Program(TM) from Posit Science(R). The other half spent an equal amount of time learning from educational lectures delivered via computer and followed by quizzes.

The Brain Fitness Program was developed by a global team of neuroscientists to improve auditory processing and memory. It consists of six exercises done on a computer and is based on the science of brain plasticity - the ability of the brain to change in response to cognitive stimulation.

The study found that participants who trained on the software more than doubled their auditory processing speed, with an average increase of 131%. They also saw gains on standard measures of memory and attention of 10 years, on average. Perhaps most importantly, these changes were big enough that participants reported significant improvements in every day activities (such as remembering what people said or understanding conversations in noisy restaurants). The gains of the brain exercise group were clinically significant; the gains of the lecture group were significantly smaller and not
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SOURCE Posit Science
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