A Big Year for Studies on Brain Training

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Last year was another banner year for research showing the effectiveness of computerized brain training, according to Posit Science, the maker of the BrainHQ brain fitness program.

BrainHQ was discussed in some 60 journal articles in 2023, including three dozen studies of BrainHQ exercises and assessments, as well as numerous review articles, study protocols, and editorials.

“We are grateful to a global network of independent researchers who keep advancing our understanding of gains in health and performance made possible through BrainHQ,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science.

In 2023, BrainHQ was increasingly deployed as the preferred brain training in multi-modal studies (combining brain training with other interventions). Several such studies in dementia published protocols, including the US POINTER Trial, and similar trials in Latin America, Japan, and Ireland.

Several other multimodal studies reported positive results in 2023.

The COCOA Trial of people with Alzheimer’s disease compared an intervention group, which received coaching in lifestyle activities (diet, physical activity, sleep, stress reduction, and BrainHQ training) with a control group, which received standard care. The lifestyle intervention significantly ameliorated declines in cognitive and functional assessments, with results that exceeded what is typically seen from drug therapies.

A study using a dynamic personalized protocol (RECODE) among patients with pre-dementia and dementia showed significant improvement on a standard global cognitive measure (MoCA) and on a computerized assessment battery (CNS-Vital Signs). Imaging showed cognitive benefits were accompanied by declines in white and grey matter more similar to declines typically seen in healthy older adults than the steeper declines seen in dementia.

A 2023 follow-on report (to a 2020 Alzheimer’s risk study) dug into participant compliance. The 2020 study among people with predementia found a significant decrease in dementia risk in the intervention group that got BrainHQ and lifestyle coaching, as compared to an advice control. The 2023 report noted the BrainHQ group had done less training (just 10.8 hours) than requested, but that this was still enough to drive significant reduction in Alzheimer’s risk. The researchers observed that 10 hours was comparable to the training amount in a 2800-person study that showed a significant decrease in dementia incidence (29 percent) over 10 years.

A multimodal study in pre-dementia patients in Taiwan, which paired physical exercise with BrainHQ exercise, found significant gains in global cognition and processing speed after 12 weeks.

Another Taiwan-based study among stroke recovery patients measured the impact of riding a stationary bike and training with BrainHQ, comparing those who did the activities sequentially to those who did them at the same time. Researchers found significant differentiated imaging results, but no significant difference in behavioral results.

Prior exploratory studies combining trans-Direct Cranial Stimulation (tDCS), which is posited to improve brain plasticity, and BrainHQ training, have shown mixed results. In 2023, a 334-person study randomized participants into a BrainHQ training with tDCS group and a BrainHQ training with a sham tDCS group. Researchers found improvements in NIH Toolbox Fluid Cognition Composite scores immediately post-intervention and one year following baseline; however, there was no significant tDCS effect.

In a 21-person feasibility study of Parkinson’s dementia, researchers found the BrainHQ group saw less decline in overall cognitive performance, delayed memory, and self-reported cognition.

A study of 216 people with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Decline found the BrainHQ group had better scores on medication adherence measures, compared to the control.

Studies in people with schizophrenia showed reductions in impulse aggression among those with a history of aggressive episodes and better emotion recognition.

Ten-year results on fall incidence from the 2800-person ACTIVE study underscored that the brain controls the body. Researchers found 31% lower incidence of falls among those at high-risk for falls . A different 40-person case-control study showed BrainHQ can improve neuromuscular control strategy and knee function following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) surgery. 

Several 20-year follow-up papers from the ACTIVE study provided insights into aging, including how speed-of-processing is predicative of at-fault car crashes; how credit score declines are predictive of cognitive decline; and how an increase in body mass index correlates to less cognitive decline.

Studies of BrainHQ exercises in other health conditions showed promising results, including in Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, and Chemobrain.

Benefits have now been shown in hundreds of studies of BrainHQ, including significant gains in standard measures of cognition (attention, processing speed, memory, and decision making), in standard measures of quality of life (depressive symptoms, confidence and control, safety, health-related quality of life) and in real-world measures (health outcomes, balance, driving, hearing, and work). BrainHQ is now offered, without charge, as a benefit by leading national and 5-star Medicare Advantage plans and by leading medical centers, clinics, and communities. Consumers can try a BrainHQ exercise for free daily at http://www.brainhq.com.