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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Brain Training Doesn't Work. Or - Does It?

"Six weeks of computer brain training has little benefit beyond boosting performance on the specific tasks included in the training." That's according to an online study involving more than 11,000 participants conducted as part of the BBC's 'Bang Goes The Theory' science programme.

Adrian Owen of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and his colleagues first measured participants' baseline performance on a range of freely available tests on such measures as reasoning, verbal short-term memory, spatial working memory and paired-associates learning (a test of longer-term verbal memory).

Accoring to the researchers: "The results provided no evidence for any generalised improvements in cognitive function following brain training in a large sample of healthy adults".

The new findings are just the latest to cast doubt on the value of commercial brain training products. A 2008 investigation by the consumer charity Which? concluded that 'none of the claims [of commercial brain training products] are supported by peer-reviewed research published in a recognised scientific journal and involving the specific product'.

The Which? investigators recommended a healthy diet, physical exercise and challenging mental activities, including learning a new instrument or language, or completing crosswords, as the most effective ways to maintain a healthy mind.

What is your take on this story?
Do you thnk that results with children would be entiely different?
Do you think there is an "age limit" on our brain's ability to form new connections as a result of "btrin training"?
Is it possible that some people still benefit from these excersises even though the evidence suggest otherwise?
Does it still make sense to suggest brain training routines to older people in order to "keep their brains active?"
Please share your opinion with us.

The results of this study will be shared and discussed on Bang Goes The Theory on BBC One at 9pm on 21 April and on the BBC's Lab UK website.

A.M. Owen, A. Hampshire, J.A. Grahn, R. Stenton, S. Dajani, A.S. Burns, R.J. Howard, & C.G. Gallard (2010). Putting brain training to the test. Nature [In Press].

Further reading:

1 comment:

  1. This is Hannah Bevills, I am an editor with We are a medical publication whose focus is geared towards promoting awareness on hospitals, including information, news, and reviews on them. Given the relevance of what you are offering from your site and what our mission is, I feel we may be able to collaborate in some way or another, I look forward to your response regarding the matter. Thanks!

    Hannah Bevills


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