Consumer-Based Brain Fitness Programs

  • Elizabeth M. ZelinskiEmail author
  • Sarah E. Dalton
  • Glenn E. Smith


We review the evidence relating to the value of consumer-friendly ­cognitive training programs for older adults. We discuss the scientific foundation of research on transfer of training. Transfer implies improving not just what is trained but other cognitive or functional activities not directly trained. We describe the behavioral and neuroscience findings suggesting the role of brain plasticity processes on transfer. We detail the results of the IMPACT study, a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial of a commercially available program that can be completed at home. Guidelines for selection of scientifically sound consumer-friendly programs are presented, highlighting what we consider important characteristics: input from scientific advisory panels, research testing transfer after use of the specific programs, including whether there is transfer in older adults, and where findings of tested programs are publicly disseminated. We discuss adherence issues in cognitive training, and conclude with a statement on the lack of evidence that consumer-friendly programs can delay or reverse dementia.


Dual Task Cognitive Training Cognitive Reserve Brain Plasticity Active Control Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth M. Zelinski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah E. Dalton
    • 2
  • Glenn E. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Leonard Davis School of GerontologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Davis School of GerontologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Mayo College of MedicineRochesterUSA

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