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October 27, 2009

Brain Training Extends Older Drivers' Confidence & Skill

Oldwoman Think it’s time for Grandma to turn in the keys? Maybe not. Even when driving ability begins to decrease, two new studies prove that there are ways to extend and improve it for high-risk seniors. Brain training, done for 10 hours over 5 weeks in the Staying Keen in Later Life (SKILL) study, decreased the high-risk drivers’ risk the to the same as the low-risk driving group. Their confidence with driving at night, in poor weather, and in high traffic also improved.

A second study (Active Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) combined with the SKILL study proved that brain training delays the end of driving for older people. By using an interactive software exercise called DriveSharp, they build ability to respond quickly in making driving decisions, enabling them to continue driving.

"Science has brought us new ways to improve and extend driving," said Dr. Edwards, assistant professor at the University of South Florida and lead author on the studies. "It does not need to be a choice between uneasiness about continued driving and negative outcomes that come from taking away the keys, because we can now train older drivers to improve their driving skills."

(Source: Posit Science)

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