Scientific Background Tested in cooperation with the Industry University Research Project with Professor Dr. Kawashima

So you opted for MyBrainTraining – a good start! Let us explain why this is a wise choice: After reaching the age of twenty, the human brain capacity will slowly begin to decline. This is a completely natural process just as our physical strength gradually decreasing over the years. But exactly like maintaining our physical strength by exercising and doing sports, the brain will also stay younger and sharper when trained regularly!

Scientifically proven exercises

All 30 exercises for brain activation have been tested during the development of the successful "Train your Brain with Dr. Kawashima" program cooperating with the Industry University Research Project with Professor Dr. Kawashima. Dr. Kawashima is a respected and well-known Japanese neuroscientist who has appeared in popular and reputable brain training products before.

Measurement of the Brain Activity

There were several series of tests during which the brain activity of hundreds of test persons by means of applying 28 NIR sensors was measured. After thorough scientific analysis, it was apparent which of the five parts of the prefrontal cortex were stimulated and how strongly. For the exercises to show the right effect, certain pre-defined levels of brain activation had to be achieved.

Prefrontal Cortex

If you want to know which parts of the brain are activated by any given exercise, just click on the “Scientific Info” and you will see the activated parts on a brain map. The frontal lobe, the front part of your brain, mainly consists of the prefrontal cortex, which controls important aspects of the human brain. Amongst other tasks, it provides the basis for creativity, memory, communication skills and composure.

Scientific Results and Statements

MyBrainTraining Professional: Study conducted on 90 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia by Prof. Dr. Steffen Moritz (University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, Psychiatric and Psychoptherapeutic Clinic) Results of study summarized by neuroCare Group GmbH

I. Background: neuropsychological deficits are predictive for a patient's functional outcome, impairing daily life. Cognitive biases, such as premature/hasty deductive reasoning processes appear to be, on the basis of present knowledge, associated with a positive diagnosis of schizophrenia (particularly delusional thinking).

II. Question to be Answered: Can MyBrainTraining Professional improve neuropsychological deficits and psychopathological symptoms?

III. Design:

A total of 90 subjects diagnosed with delusional thinking (schizophrenia) participated in a randomized-controlled study executed via the Internet. All subjects were either former patients or have participated in online forums pertaining to psychotic disorders. Various control measures were employed to ascertain their disorder with a high probability, e.g. checks for plausibility. After a baseline evaluation, subjects were randomly assigned to three treatment groups:

  1. MyBrainTraining Professional (standard version)
  2. MyBrainTraining Professional – including a metacognitive extension (now part of the standard version)
  3. Control Group

IV. Key Results:

a) frequent use of MyBrainTraining Professional led to improving symptoms of depression; the correlation between using MyBrainTraining Professional and the reduction of feeling depressed was significant.

b) frequent use of MyBrainTraining Professional with metacognitive extension (assessment of confidence in one’s judgment; feedback on mistakes when being overly confident or responding too hastily) led to a significant reduction in premature/hasty decision making (i.e. reluctant decision making – measured by the so-called “Fish Test”) and high confidence in own judgment in the metacognition treatment arm at time of follow-up. This indicates that patients have become more conscious about their problematic cognitive strategies leading to altering of decision making patterns. Notably, subjects showing reluctance to make decisions could, per current readings, be an important indicator for avoiding or reducing recurring symptoms of psychotic disorders and harmful behavioral consequences.

c) Furthermore, practicing cognitive training on a regular basis not only leads to improvement scores in individual exercises but is also relevant to daily life. The brain’s performance, as measured by a memory test, increased with the number of exercises conducted.

Prof. Dr. Lindenberger COGITO Study by Max-Planck-Institute and Humboldt-University Berlin

The COGITO study from the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development and the Humboldt-University in Berlin examined whether positive transfer of cognitive training, which so far has been observed for individual tests only, also allows to extrapolate its effects to general cognitive abilities, thereby carrying greater promise for improving everyday intellectual competence in adulthood and old age. In the COGITO Study, 101 younger and 103 older adults practiced six tests of perceptual speed, three tests of working memory, and three tests of episodic memory for over 100 daily 1-h brain training sessions at the computer - similar to what MyBrainTraining is offering.Transfer assessment included multiple tests of perceptual speed, working memory, episodic memory, and reasoning.

In both age groups, reliable positive transfer was found not only for individual tests but also for cognitive abilities, represented as latent factors. Furthermore, the pattern of correlations between latent change factors of practiced capabilities and latent change factors of transfer tasks indicates systematic relations at the level of broad-based abilities, making the interpretation of effects as a result of unspecific increases in motivation or self-concept less likely. The results of the COGITO study were independent of age. Both younger and older adults were able to improve their cognitive capabilities and strengthened their working memory.

Dr. Susanne Jaeggi Dual N Back Study of University of Maryland

Prior to the Studio Dual N Back, University of Maryland Before the Dual N Back study by Dr. Susanne Jaeggi it was thought that it was impossible to train intelligence, as it was considered genetically programmed and therefore not modifiable. In her study, Dr. Jaeggi he explored the question of whether the IQ could be improved.The results of the Dual N Back study allow us to conclude that intelligence is undoubtedly liable to improvement. Study base was the exercises called Dual N Back, which aimed to train the working memory, which is believed to have a direct effect on fluid intelligence, in turn, fluid intelligence influences the most diverse cognitive abilities, such as logical thinking, the ability to abstraction to solve problems and other non-thought patterns. Directly experienced that require a transfer of benefits. Approximately approx. 70 adults, who were given an entry test at the beginning, namely a standardized IQ test to measure fluid intelligence. In the 19-day study, the participants were divided into two groups, one that followed a cognitive training and a control group that did not perform any training.

Results: As for the initial moment, an intelligence test was given to the participants at the end of the study. The group that followed the training showed clear improvements compared to the control group, which allows us to conclude that the training has improved their intellectual level. Training has also shown to have a lasting effect, as intellectual improvement has persisted over time.

Prof. Dr. Ryuta Kawashima Learning therapy of Smart Ageing International Research Center, IDAC, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

There is more evidence to support the use of what is being called "learning therapy" in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Preliminary results of a new study suggest learning therapy provides an effective method for improving cognitive function in patients with AD and vascular dementia. Ryuta Kawashima, MD, from the Smart Ageing International Research Center, IDAC, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, previously published a report on this approach from a study conducted in Japan. Those promising results have now been replicated in a US-based trial, preliminary results of which were presented here at the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) 27th International Conference.

"We can say from this RCT [Randomized Control Trial] that the learning therapy intervention has beneficial effects and improves quality of life for people suffering from dementia," Dr. Kawashima told Medscape Medical News.Learning TherapyDr. Kawashima developed learning therapy as a cognitive intervention for patients with dementia to train their working memory through reading aloud and arithmetic. Working memory tends to decline during late adulthood, but when fully functional, it provides temporal storage and retrieval of information, which directs an individual's behavior, Dr. Kawashima said. "When people undergo intensive, adaptive working memory training, they can expect to expand their working memory, which enhances their ability to reason quickly and to think abstractly," he said. In the learning therapy program, all patients do a combination of storytelling and arithmetic. Dr Kawashima and his colleagues have developed 4000 different materials for the purpose. Before the start of the intervention, programs are individualized to suit the patient’s cognitive needs. "This gives the patient the best chance of engaging and performing the task without difficulty," Dr. Kawashima noted. Patients participated in learning therapy for 15 minutes per day for 3 to 5 days per week.The effect of this approach in Japanese patients with AD was first investigated in a previous trial published in 2005. In this study, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score in the intervention group (n=16) increased marginally over 6 months from 19.9 to 20 points while the MMSE score in the control group (n=16) declined by approximately 1.8 points on the scale (19.6 to 17.8).In the intervention group, the Frontal Assessment Battery at Bedside (FAB) score at 6 months increased from approximately 7.0 to 8.5, while the control group scores declined from 6.8 to 6.2.Dr. Kawashima said, "We followed the Japanese patients for 5 years and in 1 case for 10 years. This patient retained her cognitive function for 10 years, which is a miracle."In September 2011, Dr. Kawashima conducted a similar study in US patients because he wanted to investigate whether learning therapy would work equally well in a different cultural setting. Approximately 30 patients with AD or vascular dementia were included in each of the intervention and control groups. The mean age of these patients was 65 to 70 years in contrast to 80 years in the previous Japanese study.Citing a pending publication, Dr. Kawashima said he could not provide detailed results from the US study, but indicated that their findings closely resembled those seen in the previous Japanese trial. "In both cases we found exactly the same results," said Dr. Kawashima.In the new study, the MMSE and FAB scores showed improvement in the intervention group and a decline in the control group after a 6-month period of therapy.Patients who received learning therapy showed an increase in the MMSE score from approximately 15.8 to 18.2, and an increase from approximately 6.6 to 7.7 in the FAB score after 6 months. Patients in the control group demonstrated a decline in MMSE scores from 16.4 to 13.9 while FAB scores remained constant for 6 months. In addition to improvements in the neuropsychological scores, patients also experienced a transfer effect, essentially a positive influence on nontrained cognitive functions. "We believe that intensive, adaptive working memory training can improve general prefrontal cognitive function encompassing general intelligence and creativity," commented Dr. Kawashima.Finally, in both studies, beneficial changes were seen among the staff in care homes running the learning therapy programs. Carers reported an increase in deeper communication and understanding with learners, especially in terms of recognizing the patients' potential to still learn."Staff also reported that they felt greater respect for the elderly in their care and experienced a heightened sense of pride in their work," Dr. Kawashima pointed out. "If staff do change their attitudes towards the patients then the improvements spiral upwards. If carers do not feel benefits too, then the situation spirals downwards."Daily EngagementNori Graham, MD, emeritus consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom, former chairman of the Alzheimer’s Society UK, and former chairman of ADI moderated the session. She remarked that she found the whole concept excellent because it engaged the person with dementia with whomever they were living with or their carer."This is far preferable to effectively leaving that person alone," she told Medscape Medical News. "Everyone with dementia can be involved in some way throughout the day but having something very specific to do is very morale boosting for the patient."Dr. Graham added that it appeared to be a relatively simple training to carry out and therefore could be used widely. "The biggest problem in most care homes is that very little goes on," she said. "There are too few staff and those that exist are not sufficiently aware that doing these activities with patients will stimulate them. Drugs are used very readily because often, too few staff are available to do anything else. It might be interesting for family members in their own homes to use learning therapy, which is where most people with dementia live."Also commenting on the work as presented at the conference, Aimee Spector, PhD, from University College London, said that she felt it was a work in progress."Despite being impressive, the trial has fairly small numbers; trials with larger numbers are needed," she said. "However, I like the idea of getting people to actually do something and actively engage the brain rather just talk about the past. It also led to broader changes in the patients’ lives."Dr. Kawashima and Dr. Graham have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Spector conducts private Cognitive Stimulation Therapy sessions.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) 27th International Conference : Abstract PL11. Presented March 9, 2012. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005;60(3):380-384. Abstract

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