Feb 13, 2008
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Over the last few days we have seen an engaging conversation going on. In a couple of posts, representatives from Posit Science brain fitness gym have left comments that have prompted me to ask a series of detailed questions. I will present those questions in a post, so they are easier to find.
Eric, Henry: please address these questions, so we all contribute to helping consumers and institutions navigate through this emerging landscape of “brain fitness gyms” and separate what is real today from what is promising and may be real tomorrow.
A) Questions posted in The Brain Fitness Program DVD post.
Hello Eric, thanks for stopping by. We recommend users check our 10-Question Evaluation Checklist, because there is no research enough today to “prescribe” any specific intervention for everyone. Each user must decide what may be the best tool for him or her.There are many important cognitive skills to take care of, so a very narrow intervention is not necessarily what every single person would benefit from, justifying time commitment and expense.Let me ask you
1- how you you know what benefits Arlene has in mind? if she is looking to reduce likelihood of potentially developing Alzheimer’s symptoms, for example, physical exercise or a variety of socially and mentally stimulating activities have more research support than any specific computer-based program
2- how many studies have been published as of today in peer-reviewed journals supporting the validity of your program
3- what is the median age for people in published studies? what may be relevant for people in their 70s may not be the top priority for people in their 40s or 50
4- What is the use protocol in published studies? hours of training per week?
5- Does published research show far transfer into non-trained domains such as visual memory and executive functions?
6- can you provide an overview of all major cognitive skills and where auditory processing fits in
7- Have you seen the published research backing other programs such as Cogmed, SpaceFortress, cognitive therapy, biofeedback? I find it surprising that (despite the apparent great quality of the IMPACT study, not published yet), you can make claims like the ones you make in your comment.
Looking forward your response.
B) Questions posted in the Interview with ACTIVE’s Jerri Edwards post.
Henry, thank you for your comment. It adds good context, and does well in encouraging more companies invest in good research. It also raises several questions that I’d love you to address:
1- Computerized cognitive training has been around for a while, with a variety of approaches. You may also have read my interviews with Daniel Gopher and Torkel Klingberg, for example. It would be highly surprising to learn that some of the requirements to make it work have been patented, as you seem to imply.
2- It is public information that Posit Science has been working on a visual processing program for over a year. And this acquisition just happened. So the obvious questions are a) how are you going to integrate 2 different products and approaches, b) and in such a short timeframe, by March?
3- In fact, more research will be needed to show the efficacy of whatever you launch in March, which is not the same that has been used in the ACTIVE and other trials.
4- May I suggest, to you and all other developers, that we need to see more solid controls? watching some educational DVDs is not the best high-quality control that will allow you to claim your cognitive training has been shown to be better than other cognitive training products, simply that cognitive training itself works.
For context, this is our 10-Question Program Evaluation Checklist