Exercising the Mind as a Basis for Therapy

Just as physical exercise is beneficial, so too is exercising the mind. This open access paper examines structured mental exercise as a basis for therapy that might do at least some good for neurodegenerative disease patients: "Non-pharmacological intervention of memory difficulties in healthy older adults, as well as those with brain damage and neurodegenerative disorders, has gained much attention in recent years. The two main reasons that explain this growing interest in memory rehabilitation are the limited efficacy of current drug therapies and the plasticity of the human central nervous system and the discovery that during aging, the connections in the brain are not fixed but retain the capacity to change with learning. Moreover, several studies have reported enhanced cognitive performance in patients with neurological disease, following non-invasive brain stimulation [i.e., repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation to specific cortical areas]. The present review provides an overview of memory rehabilitation in individuals with mild cognitive impairment and in patients with Alzheimer's disease with particular regard to cognitive rehabilitation interventions focused on memory and non-invasive brain stimulation. Reviewed data suggest that in patients with memory deficits, memory intervention therapy could lead to performance improvements in memory, nevertheless further studies need to be conducted in order to establish the real value of this approach."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3297818/

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