Reversing Age-Related Neural Declines?
Anderson et al (2013) note that "neural slowing" due to aging (which impacts cognitive, sensory, and motor systems) is reversible with training. The authors report their results based on a control group (n=32) and an experimental group (i.e., auditory training group, n=35) with a total mean age (both groups) of 63 years.
The auditory training group underwent an adaptive computer-based auditory training program in their homes, using bottom-up (sensory) and top-down (cognitive) training. Specifically, the authors used "brain fitness" cognitive training by Posit Science. The control group underwent a general education computer-based program in their homes. Both groups had the same total computer interface time, consisting of 40 hours over an 8-week period.
The authors report short-term training induced neural plasticity (in older adults) and a partial reversal of age related decline with regard to neural temporal precision was observed. They state "cognitive engagement was an important component of the study. In the auditory training program, five of the six exercises combined adaptive demands on short-term memory and perception of consonant-vowel syllables…the training…engaged both memory and attention to perform the tasks accurately…."
Auditory-based cognitive training has (therefore) been shown to partially restore temporal processing abilities related to age-related neural slowing.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Anderson S, White-Schwoch T, Parbery-Clark A, Kraus N. (2013) Reversal of age-related neural timing delays with training. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.