The IMPACT study; a gold-standard trial that shows that Posit Science’s ‘Brain Fitness Program’ works as advertised.
Posted Apr 09 2009 7:14pm
A controlled scientific study (Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training; the IMPACT Study) conducted in 487 healthy adults over the age of 65 has recorded substantial improvements in cognitive abilities resulting from training with Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program. The study, now published online and appearing in print in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, was led by Drs. Glenn Smith (Mayo Clinic, Rochester) and Elizabeth Zelinski (Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California).
Trainees were more than twice as fast in processing information after they completed Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program than were active controls. On a standardized assessment battery evaluating overall memory and other cognitive abilities (and on other standard measures of the trained subjects’ competence for remembering what they heard) the average trainee scored as well as a normal individual who was about 11 years younger. Put in other terms, if an individual’s ‘cognitive index’ was consistent with their age (for example, 70) when they initiated training, it matched the index of an individual who was 11 years younger (they were now operating cognitively like the average 59-year-old) after training was completed.
A second set of controlled measures also documented improvements in the trained individuals’ everyday lives. “The changes we saw in the experimental [Brain Fitness Program-trained] group was remarkable — and significantly larger than the gains in the control group,” said Dr. Zelinski. “From a researcher’s point of view, this was very impressive because people got better at the task trained, those improvements generalized to standardized measures of memory, and people noticed [multiple] improvements in their [everyday] lives. What this means is that cognitive decline is no longer an inevitable part of aging.”
These studies confirm conclusions drawn from earlier Posit Science-supported studies, in which gains in Brain Fitness Program-trained individuals were shown to achieve similar gains in performance that did not apply for non-trained ‘controls’. The use of an active control, in which randomly-assigned non-trained individuals were engaged in closely attended computer-based activities presented in an identical experimental setting in a multiple-site trial meets a higher standard of proof.
Be it noted that this is the only study — and by far the largest study — of a commercially available brain training program targeting age-related decline conducted by this kind of ‘gold standard’ strategy for proof of efficacy, reported in the scientific literature up to this time. The bottom line: Meeting the highest and most conservative scientific standards, the IMPACT study shows that this intensive brain fitness training program very significantly ‘reverses’ age-related cognitive losses, very significantly ’speeds up’ older brains, and positively enriches the everyday lives of the individuals who complete it.