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 conflicting. 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, both with myself and patients, I have found small but measurable improvements after a few weeks of training with a "brain game" app (the one I used was Peak labs). I used the app BrainCheck to evaluate before and after benchmarks. The results were more dramatic in people who led sedentary lives with lower-than-average “regular” mental stimulation (ie. socially isolated or retired persons).
In contrast, we have an abundance of evidence implicating that stimulating the brain with problem-solving, social activities, and goal-oriented tasks play a role 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 person. Knowing where you currently score by using 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 that 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.
Dr Darshan Shah is a physician, surgeon, entrepreneur and considered by many to be the "Doctor of the Future". His passion is educating the public on the newest technologies in health, wellness, and looking and feeling your best!