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Does Brain Training Work?

Does Brain Training Work

Does Brain Training Work?

Recently, I began to consider using some of the online brain training programs to see if I could help improve my mental clarity and functioning.  After all, who does not want a sharper brain?  I realize as we age, the brain can begin to slip and I know that as a result of the Conversion Disorder I went through, that I still sometimes struggle with how my brain functions and what I can recall.

I have tried to list some points about brain training that I have found useful to me, but by no means is this an endorsement or evaluation of any specific brain training program.

In an article published in Huffington Post, the author Rebecca Zamon evaluated how luminosity.com worked for her.  While she felt it helped her remember things better while playing these games every day, the effects seemed to be less apparent after she stopped.  She questioned whether the games helped her concentrate more or just created an optimized environment for her.

One user shared her mini review of the luminosity.com site on YouTube.com .  While it doesn’t really give a lot of detail, she explains that the scoring on this site indicates she has created some new neural pathways.  I am not sure if she really kept track of her progress from day to day and it isn’t clear if the score every dropped or if it did, that this would indicated anything in particular.  Regardless, it at least gives you an indication about what is stated regarding brain training games by the people who use them.

In an interview published on SmartPlanet.com with David Z Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University, he states “If you find that people get better in one test of reasoning, it doesn’t mean necessarily that they’re smart, it means that they’re better on one test of reasoning.”

There are many studies discussed on the website of Luminosity.com that state the brain training programs they use are in partnership with the Human Cognition Project which is a collaboration between their in-house team and various people in the neuroscience field.  Some of their studies listed purport to help improve key skills that affect quality of life, how students can benefit from their brain training and give them a boost, improving sustained attention in mild cognitive impairment, and other benefits.  On their website, it claims that it creates long-lasting improvements.

In a recent Journal Of Neuroscience study published by Elliot T. Merkman, a professor in the Department Of Psychology at the University Of Oregon,  states that while training for a particular task does heighten performance, the advantage does not necessarily carry over to a new challenge.

While I have no further way to evaluate the claims made by all these different sources and people, it is something that definitely needs to be looked into before any hard conclusive judgements are made.  I have not tried luminosity yet, but may do so just to evaluate it.  I’m also concerned though about the placebo effect where someone may try this expecting it will make a difference, and so it does.

If I decide to test these brain training games out on myself, I will post my review and results at a later date.

Filed under: NeuroScience

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