Even throughout the pandemic, teams of UCSB students interested in helping improve local seniors’ cognitive function have been interacting with residents virtually.
UCSB’s Brain Exercise Initiative — a nationwide nonprofit at 49 different universities focused on preventing memory loss through brain exercise — pairs local seniors with UCSB students to do simple math, reading and writing exercises. The program is based on studies by a Japanese neuroscientist, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, who found that doing simple math, reading and writing for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, showed improvements in cognitive functioning for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Following up on this discovery, a team of researchers in the Psychology Department at UCSB, Drs. Bianca Acevedo and Nancy Collins, are studying the cognitive and health effects of a web-based brain training program for healthy adults ages 60 to 85 years old.
The study is completely virtual so that individuals can partake in all activities from the comfort of their homes. Overall, the study seeks to explore if doing simple exercises improves cognitive function.
UCSB’s chapter virtually works with residents from Mission Villa, the Californian, Covenant Living at the Samarkand, the Oak Cottage of Santa Barbara Memory Care, Villa Alamar Memory Care, Vista del Monte, Wood Glen Hall, Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s Comprehensive Care Center and Mariposa at Ellwood Shores.
The research team is actively seeking participants, so any community members who are curious and would like to join the study should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.brainexerciseinitiative.com/.