Psychologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Center for Research in Applied Gerontology are testing software to determine if it could help senior adult drivers avoid car crashes by improving their reflexes and reaction time.

The InSight software, by Posit Science Corp., presents a series of exercises in which "drivers" must quickly process and react to the road and traffic signs that flash on the screen.

The software will enable people to train themselves at home using their own computer, said UAB psychologist Karlene Ball, Ph.D., who is leading the study. Ball is a University Professor in the UAB Department of Psychology.

UAB researchers will use InSight in a study of as many as 1,000 drivers ages 65 and older who will be renewing their license in Maryland, which initiated the study. The study is being funded with a continuation grant of more than $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health.

InSight is based on an earlier multi-site, clinical trial co-authored by Ball, called Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE.) The study found that older adults benefit from training to improve their memory, reasoning and the speed at which they are able to process information.

"The ACTIVE study proved that training is effective for older adults," said Ball. "This study will test products that the consumer might want to use to help them maintain their cognitive function and mobility.

"The longer cognitive function is sustained, the longer older adults can maintain their mobility and independence."

*Note: Ball maintains financial interests and serves on the scientific advisory boards of Posit Science Corp. and the Visual Awareness Research Group Inc. InSight was developed, in part, on the Useful Field of View (UFOV® Test) and speed of processing training software, originally developed by Ball and colleagues with the Visual Awareness Research Group Inc.

Source:
Gail Short
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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