Cognitive stimulation during aging: What is it and does it work?

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Cognitive Stimulation (CS) is related with programs or specific activities focused to improve some specific cognitive capacities or general cognition, as a result of task repetition during some time. There are some scientific evidences about its positive benefits for older people, and of course, some retractors. The CS programs be applied together with academic training, improving the well known benefits of academic improvement and contributing to active and healthy aging.

Different research works speak about a possible relation between the positive effect of CS and the existence of a Cognitive Reserve in the active subjects. Is usually recommended to practice twice a week, during at least five weeks, to improve cognitive outcomes. But timing and training length shows variability between subjects and still is necessary more knowledge about it. The positive effect of cognitive stimulation can impact for a long term as a chronic adaptation.

CS programs use to work several cognitive areas and task, commonly related with attention, language, executive functions, calculus… with techniques like visualization, learning without mistakes or semantic strategies.

Based in this CS, in the last decade many companies have developed some computerized games to work cognitive outcomes for older people or simple adults. There is still some controversy in science literature about its utility and there is not consensus about its effectiveness to improve cognitive function, and more scientific research is needed to resolve this dude.

In the recent years, some mobile apps has appear to offer this kind of cognitive stimulation, again, the efficiency of this software are still not scientifically proved, and is not easy to recommend some of them.

By Beatriz Bonete

Miguel Hernández University (Spain)