(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) Brain fitness exercise can reduce the risk of depression, according to a study just published in the Journal of Gerontology (Psychological Sciences). Clinical depression in older adults contributes to higher risk for poor health outcomes and complications from other disorders. The new findings on brain fitness are part of an ongoing study of healthy adults aged 65 and older funded by the National Institutes of Health and known as the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study.
The ACTIVE study randomly assigned participants to four groups: one group did computerized brain exercises, a second group took classes in memory strategies, a third group took classes in reasoning and a fourth group served as a control that engaged in no special activity.
Earlier reporting on the study found that the brain fitness exercise participants improved their speed of processing, health-related quality of life and various measures related to maintaining independent living. This new report on 1,606 participants measured onset of depressive symptoms, using the CESD-12, a standard 12-item scale for depressive symptoms. Researchers used a score of nine or more as a designation of suspected clinical depression. The study found only participants who engaged in the brain fitness exercises significantly reduced their risk of onset of suspected clinical depression. They reduced their risk by 38 percent as compared to the control group. The training used in the study is commercially available as part of the InSight™ brain fitness program from Posit Science Corp. Posit Science distributes its programs to the public through its website, through national insurers and through hundreds of daily classes at retirement communities, senior centers and adult education programs.