Cognitive training may benefit ‘Baby Boomers’

OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc. today announced that it concluded a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 7, 2008, and that the FDA agreed that “durable pain palliation is an acceptable and desirable study endpoint” to support a product marketing approval for OGX-011 as a treatment for hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC).

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Posit Science Corporation researcher, Dan Tinker, presented evidence at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Conference in Washington, DC this week indicating that cognitive training may benefit Baby Boomers.

The computerized brain plasticity-based Brain Fitness Program (TM) uses adaptive exercises that target auditory and language systems. The exercises are designed to drive generalized improvements in cognition by improving speed and accuracy of information processing and engaging the neuromodulatory systems of the brain. The effectiveness of the program on memory performance has been demonstrated in older adults, age 60 plus.

In the latest research, 20 study participants trained on the Brain Fitness Program, ten of them on the same version as older adults. The other ten trained on a version using accelerated stimuli, requiring faster auditory processing. Study results showed that the effectiveness of the Brain Fitness Program is improved in “Boomers” with the accelerated version.

Posit Science researcher Jessica Morton presented a battery of tests designed to assess changes in hand dexterity associated with aging. As people age, they have less motor control partly because of changes in the somatosensory cortex. The battery was tested on 10 younger and 10 older subjects. The results show significant age-related differences in performance on most tasks.

Posit Science researcher Korie Michalak presented research indicating that the age-related decline in motor control can be renormalized to that of younger adults or beyond through intensive brain plasticity-based training.

Because the brain is plastic, some of this decline can be reversed by improving the sensory representations in the somatosensory cortex.

The researchers developed a custom computer-based training program to improve motor control of the hand. It required the user to move a cursor along pathways and to various regions on the computer screen. Ten older participants trained for ten 1-hour sessions. By the end of training, their performance on the tasks approached or surpassed the baseline measure from the younger participants.


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