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Flex your brain: See if you can keep up with these interactive exercises

A screenshot of a brain training exercise.BrainHQ

There’s new urgency to pinpoint effective lifestyle interventions with the potential to delay dementia, as hopes wane for an imminent, blockbuster Alzheimer’s drug. Among the interventions being tested are computer-based brain exercises.

The exercises, used in some government-funded Alzheimer’s prevention trials, may help with attention, memory, and the ability to react quickly in chaotic situations.

Here are a few of them:

Hawk Eye

How to play Hawk Eye, from BrainHQ: A target bird appears on screen among distractor birds for a split second. With correct answers, the exercise speeds up, and distractors become more similar to the target birds. Trains visual speed, search, acuity, and attention. Used in the US POINTER Study.

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Target Tracker

How to play Target Tracker, from BrainHQ: Multiple targets appear on screen, joined by distractors, which you must track. With correct answers, more targets appear, movements become longer and more complex, and contrast lessens against the background. Trains users to track multiple moving targets, while suppressing distractions. Used in the US POINTER Study.


Eye for Detail

How to play Eye for Detail, from BrainHQ: Initially, three objects flash anywhere on screen, and you select those that match. With correct answers, more objects flash, speed increases, and appearance patterns become more complex. Trains saccades (rapid eye movements), speed, search, and attention. Used in the US POINTER Study.


Double Decision

How to play Double Decision, from BrainHQ: One of two possible targets flashes in the center of the screen, while a third target appears on the periphery. With correct answers, the exercise speeds up, distractors appear on the periphery, the periphery widens, and contrast lowers between the targets and against the background. Trains visual speed, search, useful field of view and peripheral vision. Used in the ACTIVE Study and US POINTER Study.


Kay Lazar can be reached at kay.lazar@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.