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Research Grants - 2006


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Research Grants 2006


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2006 Grant - Barnes

Computer-Based Training in Older Adults With Memory Complaints

Deborah E. Barnes, Ph.D.
University of California
San Francisco, California

2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant

A growing body of evidence suggests that staying mentally active may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. This conclusion is based on a convergence of several lines of inquiry.

Some studies have shown that the human brain is capable of refining neural connections and generating new neurons. And these factors have been observed in mouse brains when the mice live in "enriched" environments with colorful toys and play equipment. Observational studies have shown that people who engage in mental activities, such as reading and doing crossword puzzles, are less likely to develop dementia compared with people who do not participate in these activities.

A gap in the research is evidence from carefully designed clinical trials that randomly assign people to do different kinds of mental activities and then assess whether any of these activities result in a measurable effect on memory or other thinking skills.

Deborah Barnes, Ph.D. and colleagues have designed a trial to test the effectiveness of two computer-based training programs in improving cognitive function in older adults with memory complaints. One of the training programs was designed by a private company, and the other is available through AARP. Findings from this work may lend support to efforts for reducing Alzheimer's disease risks.