Exercising the Brain to Avoid Cognitive Decline

Examining the Evidence

William E Reichman; Alexandra J Fiocco; Nathan S Rose


Aging Health. 2010;6(5):565-584. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Dementias and related cognitive disorders of the brain are strongly age-associated and prevalence is expected to rise dramatically with a rapidly aging population. As a result, there has been increasing attention on the prevention and treatment of cognitive decline associated with these conditions. A number of approaches have been designed to maintain and strengthen the cognitive capacity of the healthy, as well as the pathologically damaged brain. Evidence suggests that despite advancing age, our brains, and thus our cognitive functions, retain the ability to be maintained and strengthened through the biological process of neuroplasticity. With this opportunity, a new commercial field of 'brain fitness' has been launched to bring to the market training exercises and games that maintain and strengthen cognitive abilities in adulthood. However, the majority of brain fitness methods and products now marketed and sold to consumers have scant scientific evidence to support their effectiveness.