Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Fitness and Exercise in Japan

Fun article in the Washington Post: Aging Japanese Keep Their Minds Moving

  • “part of a broad range of mental acuity products that are all the rage in Japan: books, toys, food and other things, sold with the pledge that they can reenergize aging brains.”
  • “Analysts said the current brain-training trend began in 2004 and 2005 when video games such as Sega Toys Co.’s Brain Trainer and Nintendo Co.’s Brain Age became smash hits. Since its launch, Brain Age for Nintendo’s DS console has sold 6.7 million copies around the world, including 3.4 million in Japan.”

We were fortunate to interview a Japanese expert on this trend a few months ago. In Brain Training and “Brain-ism” in Japan, we can learn a lot, such as

  • “To see the activities inside the brain was fresh for people, but the methodology and logic was not reviewed by any scientific publication. It was published by a company that provides a franchised chain of learning classes. The company maintained books at bookstores to create a boom and was very successful. Then they came up with adult version of training book, and sold more than 2 million. Adults and senior people were seriously did addition and subtraction of 1 digit numbers for countless times believing it will maintain and even enhance their brainpower.”

We will be reading more and more articles like that-which is good news for a nascent field. And we are happy about the success of Nintendo Brain Age, since people are coming to see how powerful computers can be to provide good brain exercise. Now, we would recommend anyone considering such programs to always ask the questions:

  1. What does the specific program look like: how many hours a week, how many weeks, and to accomplish what outcomes? Some programs we have seen leave it so open that it is unclear for us how users are supposed to get what benefits. When we go to the gym, and we tell the coach what our objectives are, we typically get a good structure and program to follow.
  2. What research has been published, or has been submitted to publication, that supports that if a person follows that precise program he or she will likely obtain those promised benefit?
  3. How do any benefits transfer to real life and to our cognitive abilities/ skills? by definition, by playing a game we get better at a game. Which is great in itself, because we learn something new, and it builds self-confidence. Now, how do I know that transfers into an expanded “mental muscle” or cognitive ability, that will also help me in domains outside the game itself?

You can read more details at Brain Fitness Programs, “Brain Gyms”…Explained

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2 Responses

  1. Flybeers says:

    Hi there,
    finally a breath of fresh air here. I was hoping someone here can point me in the right direction of some kind of good quality live development, motivational seminar? The ones I have seen are just way to expensive, so maybe you have some alternative suggestions. Thanks
    Flybeers

  2. Alvaro says:

    Hello Flybeers,

    We are not experts in motivational seminars, ours are more educational/ work oriented. Sorry not to be of more help.

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