Cognitive training, including fast simple numerical calculation (FSNC), has been shown to improve performance on untrained processing speed and executive function tasks in the elderly. However, the effects of FSNC training on cognitive functions in the young and on neural mechanisms remain unknown. We investigated the effects of 1-week intensive FSNC training on cognitive function, regional gray matter volume (rGMV), and regional cerebral blood flow at rest (resting rCBF) in healthy young adults. FSNC training was associated with improvements in performance on simple processing speed, speeded executive functioning, and simple and complex arithmetic tasks. FSNC training was associated with a reduction in rGMV and an increase in resting rCBF in the frontopolar areas and a weak but widespread increase in resting rCBF in an anatomical cluster in the posterior region. These results provide direct evidence that FSNC training alone can improve performance on processing speed and executive function tasks as well as plasticity of brain structures and perfusion. Our results also indicate that changes in neural systems in the frontopolar areas may underlie these cognitive improvements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology