• The Center mourns the loss of a dear friend and tireless CVL supporter. click here

  • CVL councilmember and benefactor’s life remembered in the Dallas Morning here

  • Aging-themed issue of Nautilus Magazine explores cognitive benefits of learning a new game such as chess, cites here

  • ‘Fitizen’ group at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas learns about research at CVL. click here

  • CVL research published in JoN finds that some memories persist in the face of strong interference. click here

  • Dr. Sara Festini’s research probes busyness levels and cognitive here

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CVl Annual Review

CVl Annual Review

Charting Our Progress is CVL’s annual review, with archives available

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Study Suggests Cognitive Benefit to Tablet Computers Use Among Older Adults

DALLAS – June 30, 2014 – A new study from the Center for Vital Longevity at The University of Texas at Dallas has affirmed that challenging older adults with certain never-before-tried activities – such as tablet computing, in this latest finding – might enhance cognitive vitality and ultimately help ward off or delay age-related dementia.

Findings from the study by graduate student Micaela Chan were published online June 14, 2014 in The Gerontologist. The research builds on earlier work from the lab of Dr. Denise Park, the founder and co-director of the Center for Vital Longevity (CVL), whose “Synapse Project” found that adults who engaged in cognitively demanding activities, such as learning skills in digital photography and quilting, improved their memory and speed in processing information. Their results were compared to other older adults who joined social clubs or simply stayed home and did less demanding activities, such as playing word games.

Dr. Park was also the senior author of the more recent study that examined whether training older adults to use tablet computers could enhance cognitive function. The scientists looked at 54 adults ages 60 to 90 during the course of three months. About one-third of the participants were placed in an iPad group and given extensive training in using the tablet computer to perform various tasks and projects, spending on average more than 15 hours on an iPad each week for 10 weeks.

The iPad group’s results were compared to two control groups: a placebo group that completed activities of low-cognitive demand and no skill acquisition, such as watching movies and completing knowledge-based word puzzles; and a social group, which socialized for 15 or more hours a week, primarily around prescribed topics such as travel, art and history.

All three groups were given the same battery of cognitive testing before and after the 10 weeks of activities. These tests included standardized measures designed to gauge mental agility, such as a test that measures a participant’s speed in comparing lists of numbers, and a word test that measures immediate recall. A comparison of scores found significant improvements in episodic memory and processing speed in the iPad group.