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Brain Games

Next Health Staff | | 0 comments

Brain Games

Over the last few years there have been a plethora of “brain games” introduced to the market, purporting to improve your cognitive abilities in just a few minutes a day.   Luminosity, BrainHQ, Peak Labs, and Elevate are a few of the more popular ones that you may have heard of.  

Are they really worth the time and money?  Does playing a game really help your brain to stay sharp and focused?  Unfortunately, the research is really conflicted.  The website cognitivetrainingdata.com has an up to date list of many of the papers published on the topic.  A quick review reveals that the data is inconclusive.  In fact, the scientific community battled it out in 2014 when Stanford published a “consensus paper” stating that there was “little evidence” that brain training worked.  A group of dozens of scientists fired back with a letter stating the opposite.

In my personal experience with both myself and patients, I have found small but measurable improvements after a few weeks of training with an app (the one I used was Peak labs).  I used the app BrainCheck to check before and after benchmarks.  The results were more dramatic in people who led sedentary lives with lower that average “regular” mental stimulation (ie. socially isolated or retired persons).

In contrast, we have an abundance of evidence that shows that stimulating the brain with problem solving, social activities, and having purpose have tremendous implications in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s’ disease. Combine this with regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and good control of your sugar intake, and you have almost guaranteed yourself improved brain function for years to come.  

Protecting and supporting your brain should be a top priority for every single one of us.  Knowing where you currently score on an app like BrainCheck, and keeping track of that score on a monthly or quarterly basis, should be a regular part of your health care routine.  If you find that your score is slipping, or you are in a brain fog, it’s imperative that you proactively address your “brain care” so the damage doesn’t stack up to the point of no return. Talk to a Next|Health medical professional for more information.