The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 18, 2013

Website: Area gets even smarter

JOHNSTOWN — Last year, many Johnstowners were incredulous when told the cognition research team Lumos Labs of San Francisco named the Johnstown-Altoona metropolitan area the eighth-smartest in the country.

The mind-sharpening game- like exercises found on the Lumos Labs website,, and on the accompanying Brain Trainer app must be paying off: Johnstown-Altoona jumped three spots on this year’s study to become the fifth-smartest metro area, according to the Lumos Labs data.

Not only has the region’s brainpower gotten a boost, the 2013 study follows three times as many players as last year  – more than 3 million, aged 15 to 85, who have completed at least one game in each of the testing areas: speed, attention, flexibility, memory and problem-solving.

This year’s study also examined “core-based statistical areas,” or urban areas of more than 10,000 people and

nearby areas that are tied socioeconomically, and “combined statistical areas” which tie related CSBAs together. The regions were drawn with U.S. Census data from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

In the 2012 study, Lumos Labs used geolocation data based on users’ IP addresses, which were logged before each play.

In this “designated marketing area” category, Johnstown gained some ground in 2013 with an overall score of 102.62 on the cognitive challenges Lumos Labs has designed.

For combined statistical areas, the Johnstown-Somerset metro area landed at 35th place with an overall score of 101.34.

The 2013 study results were arranged by user age as well, to control for the effect of aging in the population and avoid bias in older regions.

The Altoona region ranked 37th for users aged 35 to 55, with an overall score of 102.52.

The cities of Altoona and Johnstown ranked 75th and 106th, respectively, in complete overall standings of core-based statistical areas.

Justin Dennis is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at JustinDennis.

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