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The IMPACT Study
A landmark study with dramatic results
With 487 participants, the IMPACT study is the largest clinical trial ever to examine whether a specially designed, widely available cognitive training program significantly improves cognitive abilities in adults. Led by distinguished scientists from Mayo Clinic and the University of Southern California, the IMPACT study proves that people can make statistically significant gains in memory and processing speed if they do the right kind of scientifically designed cognitive exercises.
The study was conducted on the original Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, which contains six of the auditory exercises in BrainHQ: Sound Sweeps (previously called High or Low?), Fine Tuning (previously called Tell Us Apart), Memory Grid (previously called Match It!), Syllable Stacks (previously called Sound Replay), To-do List Training (previously called Listen and Do), and In the Know (previously called Story Teller). Study participants trained in these exercises for a total of approximately 40 hours.
Specifically, the IMPACT study found that:
- People who used the BrainHQ exercises got better at the exercise tasks. This finding isn’t unusual; people are expected to improve at exercises they were taught to do and practiced. The vast majority of other studies that have examined cognitive fitness training only report this fact and provide no other results.
- Improvements “generalized” (or extended) to multiple standard memory tests. “Gold standard” memory assessments—tests that are widely known to and accepted by doctors—showed that the BrainHQ exercises genuinely improve memory overall. This is a significant breakthrough. It indicates that the exercises don’t just teach “memory tricks” or train people to play a computer game really well; they actually generalize to improve brain function more broadly. It’s the difference between giving someone with an injured knee a crutch to compensate for his limitations and actually fixing the knee so the crutch isn’t needed
- People who used the BrainHQ exercises reported positive changes in their everyday lives. The IMPACT study participants in the experimental group reported significant improvements in their everyday lives because of the BrainHQ exercises. These benefits ranged from remembering a shopping list without having to write it down; to hearing conversations in noisy restaurants more clearly; to being more independent, feeling more self-confident, to finding words more easily and having improved self-esteem in general.
Statistically Significant Gains
IMPACT study participants who used the BrainHQ exercises experienced statistically significant gains in several areas. Following are just a few:
- Participants who used the BrainHQ exercises increased their auditory processing speed by 131%.This means that the brains of the people who used the exercises could take in and process information (such as speech) more than twice as quickly after they completed the exercises than before. That could mean following much more of a conversation.
- On average, people who used the BrainHQ exercises experienced an improvement in memory equivalent to approximately 10 years. They also made statistically significant gains (performed much better) in four standard memory tests used in the study.
- Three out of four people who used the BrainHQ exercises self-reported positive changes in their everyday lives. People didn’t just test better, they noticed changes in their daily lives as well—perhaps the most meaningful result of all.
These results had statistical significance over those for people in the active control group, who followed a computer-based program of active learning.
Evidence for Cognitive Change
The IMPACT study proves that cognitive decline is not inevitable and irreversible. Adults—regardless of their education level, IQ, or other demographic factors—can improve their cognitive abilities. Just as every adult can benefit from physical exercise, every adult can benefit from the right kind of cognitive fitness as well.
Using BrainHQ exercises can effectively strengthen and build memory and processing speed. These improvements help people perform better at work, connect better with others, enjoy their favorite activities more, and keep up with daily tasks efficiently.
The IMPACT Study Design