The Benefits of ‘Brain Training’ for Over 50s

Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 3rd of December 2015.


Researchers on a BBC TV show have found that regular mental exercise can help older people improve their everyday skills.

In a six-month experiment on more than 7000 people over 50, TV show Bang Goes The Theory partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council to test whether regular online brain training helped people remain sharp and efficient when carrying out tasks such as shopping or cooking.

Researchers asked participants to play online games based around reasoning and problem solving and found that those who did so five times a week seemed to have improved cognitive abilities, especially when it came to daily life skills. They also found that the most improvement was demonstrated by participants aged 60 and over.

That’s not to say that everyone should stop what they’re doing and pick up the nearest puzzle, however. Although these results are encouraging for anyone aged 50 or over, earlier research carried out by the team showed that the same usage of brain training games and puzzles was found to have little or no effect on those under 50 –

While the research carried out by the show was not in-depth enough to yield any definite results specifically regarding brain training and cognitive decline, the results have piqued the interest of other teams specialising in dementia. The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London will now begin a longer study to see whether the same results can be replicated in those living with the condition, and whether brain training can be beneficial in the prevention of dementia as a whole. We look forward to hearing the results.