April 17, 2015

(San Francisco, CA) Posit Science, the leading provider of clinically-proven brain fitness exercises, became the first company to endorse the Institute of Medicine Report on Cognitive Aging, which was issued earlier this week.

That 386-page report provides a comprehensive review of how age changes brain function and the efficacy of current interventions in addressing those changes, including a section on cognitive training interventions.

The Report found that the field of cognitive training is “promising,” and “that older adults can indeed benefit from training.” At the same time, the Report cautioned that results of studies of different types of cognitive training were “mixed,” with “few showing transfer effects” to tasks beyond the task trained. It called for more independent evaluation of commercial cognitive training products, and for more regulatory involvement.

“We appreciate the hard work and careful thought that went into this comprehensive report,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science. “We wholeheartedly agree with its recommendations to consumers, regulators and industry.”

“We are gratified that most of the Report’s citations to journal articles showing the benefits of cognitive training were of university-based studies of our brain exercises,“ Dr. Mahncke added.

The Report recommends five questions be asked in evaluating cognitive training interventions: (1) Does the training transfer to related standard measures of cognition? (2) Does the training transfer to real-world tasks? (3) Was an active control used in the study? (4) Do the gains persist? (5) Have the results of the study been independently replicated?

“We wholeheartedly endorse these five questions,” Dr. Mahncke said. “There are now more than 100 published, peer-reviewed, journal articles on the efficacy of our exercises and assessments that answer these questions.“

“These studies have shown transfer to standard measures of cognition (including memory, attention, processing speed, and executive function), to standard measures of affect (such as improving mood, confidence and control) and to real-world tasks (such as driving, managing finances, and managing medications),” Dr. Mahncke added. “Most of these studies used an active control, and a number tracked performance over time to show that the gains persisted – as long as 10 years after the intervention. Virtually all of the published studies of our exercises were conducted independently by university-based researchers.”

The Report also recommends establishing new and appropriate regulatory guidelines for products that assert claims about enhancing or maintaining cognitive abilities.

“There are a lot of brain games, brain exercises and cognitive training companies asserting or insinuating they deliver benefits,” Dr. Mahncke said. “It’s time for them to step up and produce studies that show they deliver measureable results. We call on everyone in industry to embrace this report.”