Keeping Mentally Active – Stimulate Your Brain


Human Studies: Its Never Too Late to Improve Your Brain!

•Adult human brain can generate new neurons throughout life –true for all mammalian species.

New cells must be used to live & become integrated in brain. (Van-Praag, Kempermann & Gage, 2000; Eriksson and Gage, 1998).


Cognitive Interventions in 3000 Healthy 65+ Elderly Improve Cognition

•Three different 8 week interventions.  Each intervention improved the targeted cognitive ability- memory, processing speed or reasoning-but not the others. Durable to 2 years but not 5. (ACTIVE trial by Ball, 2002).


Challenging Your Mind Lowers Risk of Developing AD

The “use it” or “lose it” phenomenon:


•People who participated in mentally challenging activities, including leisure activities & hobbies, had a lower risk of AD and reduced decline in global cognition.

(RS Wilson, 2002; Friedland 2001; Crowe & Gatz 2003; Verghese, 2003 JAMA; Gatz, 2001 ).


Mental Stimulation & Cognitive Rehab helps persons with AD

•Playing bingo, cognitive training therapies, spaced retrieval methods to help remember specific information, practice in any particular cognitive skill (recognizing faces, keeping appointment book) or subject (math, geography, history, reading, writing) and psycho-education all helped people with AD improve these particular skills, and daily functioning. (Loewenstein 2004, Camp 2000-2005, Sobel, 2001; Ballarini, 2002; Avila, 2002 and Emmerson, 2002, Emerson Lombardo & Serper 2005).

Some Complex Cognitive Interventions Show More Generalized Results for Persons with Early Stage Dementia

•Especially when dose is larger and

•Especially When Intervention has SOCIAL aspect e.g. skills are practiced in small groups or include conversation.  (BINGO & Other Games are SOCIAL!)

The Serper Method , combines enjoyable cognitive rehabilitation with conversation and coaching to improve social engagement, is even better when conducted with small groups.

•Computers Programs can be fun, but |”social” aspect is limited and no convincing research results to date.



•The Serper MethodTM Cognitive Training

•Compatible groups of 2-3; 60-90 minutes twice a week.

•Frustration free learning environment

•Educator facilitates student’s engagement in learning and group process

•Relevant and interesting material

•Use of Workbook (by Lynn Serper Ed.D.

•Geography, history, biographies, word scrambles, logic problems, puzzles

•Reading aloud; Writing exercises; Comprehension exercises

•Improvement of memory, reading, speaking, socialization, independence, self-confidence


•RHEA: Cognitive Motion Therapy

Objective This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of RHEA, a cognitive training through kinetic exercises, on patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

Subjects and Method: Participants, completing study, were 58 MCI patients with MMSE=27.69, assigned to 2 groups of 29 each (experimental, 20-weekly RHEA sessions, and no-therapy control), matched for age, gender, education, cholinesterase inhibitors, cognitive abilities. Neuropsychological assessments were performed at baseline and after 5-months.

•Kounti F, Bakoglidou E, Agogiatou C, Emerson Lombardo NB, Serper LL, Tsolaki M (2011 in press) Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation


Examples of Materials for RHEA

Skittles, Rings, Numbered lanes,


Magnetic Board,

Draw-bar, Bell,


Plain Balls,

Balls with Stripes, Cards,


Results of Cognitive Motion Therapy

Between groups difference to the benefit of the experimental group were demonstrated in

• attention (p=0.002), language (p=0.015),

•visual-spatial abilities (p=0.013),

•MMSE(p=0.047), and

•daily function (p=0.009).

•Experimental participants improved (several) cognitive and functional performances while control participants remained stable.

•Kounti F, Bakoglidou E, Agogiatou C, Emerson Lombardo NB, Serper LL, Tsolaki M (2011 in press) Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation

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