Old and young alike seem to benefit from cognitive training. Here are the results of brief dual-task training (young: college students, older: age 55-80).
Isn't it funny it took scientists so long to figure out that training the brain at all ages really works? Well, maybe they and we knew, but there's definitely more of a drive to push the plasticity of the brain with more visual evidence of its benefits (this has also helped with ADD and OCD, see links below). Wouldn't it be a surprise if greater advancement in research led to fewer pharmaceuticals? Instead of better living through chemistry, it's better chemistry through living...
This training did generalize to other dual-task tests, and interestingly, training resulted activations in areas commonly associated with age-related decline, or the dorsal and ventral prefrontal cortex. Good news.
There were some differences in the patterns of brain activation (see below). The higher activity on the left in older folks may indicate a greater use of verbal strategies to keep information in mind.
Training-Induced Plasticity in Older Adults
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Computerized Training of Working Memory in Children with ADHD
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Controlling Feelings: Implications for OCD, Anxiety, and ADHD