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Brain games look to combat cognitive decline

“Number one thing that happens to us with normal aging is we slow down, so our mental quickness gets slower."

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Do you remember where you left your keys? Our memory fades faster than you think, “number one thing that happens to us with normal aging is we slow down, so our mental quickness gets slower and that starts to happen as early as 25 years of age,” Dr. Jerri D. Edwards, Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, USF Morsani College of Medicine explains.

For the past 30 years, Dr. Edwards says her colleagues have studied ways to enhance mental quickness and cognitive abilities through computerized training programs called brain games, “that target improving your mental quickness, your visual processing, the ability to do more than one thing at a time.” 

She says users “simply indicate what you see, what you hear, respond very quickly, solve problems and puzzles, but in a way that’s backed by neuroscience that drives positive brain changes and targets the abilities that we need to work on with age that tend to decline.”

Dr. Edwards explains it’s not just passing time with puzzles because if you’re just having fun, you’re not pushing your brain. When it comes to brain health she says what’s good for your body is good for your brain. “So the top three ways that we know that we can prevent cognitive decline and dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease based on evidence is physical exercise, managing your blood pressure and also cognitive training programs.”

There are brain games sites in Lakeland, Sarasota, St. Pete and Tampa. Right now USF has more than 2,000 older adults who’ve joined the study and is looking for 3,000 more who are 65 and older.

For those interested in learning more about brain game sites, click here: https://pactstudy.org/

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