Is it possible that the brain maintains a reserve of abilities that may be associated with slower cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia in healthy adults?

Many scientific experts, including renowned Bay area-based neuroscientist, Michael Merzenich, PhD, suggest that brain training exercises do just that.

Cognitive reserve is a term that comes from the observation that the more intellectually demanding things you do as a child or adult, the later the typical onset of dementia.

So, how does cognitive reserve work?

“Think of the brain as a bathtub – you can fill it up with water through education, learning foreign languages, and intellectually stimulating activities. Certain injuries or disorders (such as concussions) may cause the tub to leak. When the water runs out, the symptoms of dementia become apparent. I believe that training can improve the brain’s resilience and reserve by improving cognitive function, just like education,” states Dr. Merzenich, professor emeritus of the University of California San Francisco.

Dr. Merzenich is also co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Posit Science, a provider of clinically proven brain fitness programs. Recently Posit Science has launched BrainHQ an online program of brain training exercises designed to boost brain function, resulting in improved attention, memory, and – a new one – people/social skills (aided by facial recognition) to benefit the performance of everyday activities. Many exercises available at are free (and always will be, with more to be added). Further advanced exercises are available for a modest monthly subscription ($10 per month or $99 per year.). The online format enables you to track your progress against your own initial performance baseline, and has fun social elements.

To learn more about BrainHQ, visit

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