Several Kittay tenants will be increasing their brain activity by participating in a Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) Research Program. To date, four tenants consented to participate in a study of computerized cognitive training. The research will compare the effects of the Mount Sinai programs with computerized game programs and to help them understand more about memory loss.

The octogenarians, who are not being reimbursed for their participation, needed to meet specific criteria to enroll in the study — including being at least 85 years of age and having minimal issues with their memory.

The study, to be conducted over a six-month period, requires that research staff visit each participant three times. The first meeting consists of tenants completing memory and thinking tasks combined with an explanation of the program they will be using on their personal computers. The second visit takes place two months later, with the final visit  at six months later — during which, the research team will conduct several tasks that evaluate memory and thinking.

Blood sisters Shirley Friedman, 85, and Rhoda Kaufman, 89, are up for the challenge and excited to see the study results.

“Shirley and I have always done activities to keep our minds sharp as possible.  We are avid readers, do crossword puzzles and play trivia games frequently with our friends in the Kittay community,” Rhoda says.

The participants will be assigned to use the program twice a week for 20 minutes the first week and then increased to three times a week for seven weeks. Each Kittay tenant will receive a call each week from the research staff to inquire about his or her program usage.

Tenant and participant Dave Massey, 87, with a first-rate sense of humor adds, “There are three things that happen as you get older –you start to loose your memory and I forgot the other two!”