Friday, December 1, 2017
A newly published pilot study shows that a specific type of brain training —found in BrainHQ from Posit Science — was able to show impact on cancer-related cognitive impairment, more commonly known as “chemobrain.” Up to 90 percent of cancer survivors report cognitive issues from the disease or its treatment. There is no widely-accepted treatment for chemobrain.
The independent research was conducted by a team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, under the title: Speed of processing training in middle‑aged and older breast cancer survivors (SOAR): results of a randomized controlled pilot. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen.
The pilot study enrolled 60 breast cancer survivors, who were randomized into a brain training intervention group and a no-training control. The intervention group was asked to complete a total of 10 hours of training (at the rate of about two hours per week) in the visual speed of processing exercise “Double Decision” from the BrainHQ web app. Participants were measured at study entry, six weeks later, and six months later.
The researchers reported significant improvements in standard measures of processing speed and executive function at the six-month follow-up. They also noted significant improvements at six weeks in standard measures of processing speed and episodic memory. Other subtests from the NIH toolbox did not show significance.
As noted by the investigators, these results are largely consistent with prior research. In a 2012 study of 82 cancer survivors at Indiana University (using a set of five BrainHQ visual speed of processing exercises in classes for 10 hours against a memory training control), researchers found significant gains in processing speed and working memory at a two-month follow-up.
In addition, in a 2016 study of 242 cancer survivors in Australia (using a set of five BrainHQ visual speed of processing exercises on their own at home for 40 hours against a no training control), researchers found significant improvements in the primary assessment, the Perceived Cognitive Impairment measure, after training and at a six-month follow-up.
The Alabama study contributes to the literature by focusing on the persistence of effects of just a single exercise with a relatively small amount of training. In addition, it is the first study of its kind conducted among a population with a majority of African-American women.
Posit Science is working with regulators to find the most efficient path to market for making brain training that addresses clinical conditions broadly available.
“We run a robust R&D program with university-based investigators around the world,” noted Dr. Henry Mahncke, the CEO of Posit Science. “In just the last 60 days, independent researchers have published results using our exercises to address dementia prevention, bi-polar disorder and chemobrain.”
The newly published results confirm and extend preliminary results first announced last year. Those results used a broader definition of dementia to reflect the under-reporting of dementia in the community. The preliminary results, indicating a 33 percent reduction in risk, relative to the control are contained in this report. However, to be more conservative, the authors now also include and highlight a narrower definition of dementia (restricted to reports of a dementia diagnosis or falling below a cut-point on a standard test). Even with the narrower definition, the effects are substantially similar – with a 29 percent reduction in dementia risk (at any given point in time) for the overall speed group as compared to the control.
An estimated 6 million Americans and Canadians live with dementia, 7 million live with bi-polar disorder and 15.5 million are cancer survivors.
About Posit Science
Posit Science is the leading provider of clinically proven brain fitness training. Its exercises, available in Canada online at www.dynamicbrain.BrainHQ.com in English and www.dynamicbrain-fr.BrainHQ.com in French, have been shown to significantly improve brain speed, attention, memory and numerous standard measures of quality of life in multiple studies published in more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in leading science and medical journals. Three public television documentaries as well as numerous stories on news programs, in national magazines, and in major newspapers have featured Posit Science’s work. The company’s science team is led by renowned neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, PhD.
DynamicBrain is the Canadian partner of Posit Science, providing Canadians with a gateway to access brain training pograms that seamlessly blend entertainment, science and technology to improve a person’s quality of life through six key pillars: Attention, Memory, Brain Speed, Navigation, People Skills, and Intelligence (www.dynamicbrain.brainhq.com and www.dynamicbrain-fr.brainhq.com). DynamicBrain is passionate about health and new forms of cognitive training with a clear focus on educating the public on brain training and the vital importance of improving brain fitness as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Backed by the scientific efforts of Posit Science, DynamicBrain has been able to make clinically proven brain fitness programs available to Canadians of all ages. (www.DynamicBrain.ca)
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