Is Training the Brain Beneficial?

By · March 6, 2009 · Filed in Awareness, Balance, Habits, Intention

Can playing video games at the end of a dull day really be the start of a better brain?

It seems these days more and more people are flocking to their local gaming store to pick up a copy of the latest game designed to train your brain.  But does all that data add up to increased brain health? A recent study has people second-guessing the benefits of brain-train.

It seems that spending too much money on “brain trainers” to maintain mental agility may not be a very good idea anymore, for a new study suggests that the benefits such gadgets provide are almost the same as can be obtained by doing a crossword or surfing the Internet. 

Experts employed by a consumer group, known as Which?, say that there is no scientific evidence to prove that brain-training devices can help improve memory or stave off the risk of illnesses like dementia. 

Gadgets like the Nintendo DS, which are endorsed by actress Nicole Kidman and singer Cheryl Cole, are very popular these days. However, the experts behind the study insist that much of the evidence supporting the claims is “weak” and that in some cases other activities, such as playing standard computer games, can have the same effect. 

The gadgets whose claims were examined by the scientific experts included Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training, Mindfit, and Lumosity. “If people enjoy using these games, then they should continue to do so – that’s a no-brainer. But if people are under the illusion that these devices are scientifically proven to keep their minds in shape, they need to think again,” the Guardian quoted Martyn Hocking, editor of Which?, as saying. 

The members of the panel were asked to try the brain training products for a month. One of the experts, Dr Adrian Owen, assistant director at the Medical Research Council’s cognition and brain sciences unit in Cambridge, said of the research involving one group: “If they’d been asked to play Space Invaders for a month and improved at it – as surely they would – would we have concluded this was a beneficial form of brain training? Probably not.” 

So what is the final verdict on whether games are good or bad for the brain? Well unfortunately the jury is still out on this one. If you have a current game that you enjoy, that keeps you engaged and excited then by all means continue to play. However, if you think that keeping your Nintendo DS by your bedside might lead to some brain-training by osmosis then you better think again.

You can read the full article at The Times of India by clicking on this link here:

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