Brain training is now a household expression for many families, courtesy of Nintendo. What is less visible than Nintendo’s success is the growing number of science-based companies that aim to train specific cognitive skills. Posit Science has been getting increasing levels of attention, including a PBS Special. Yet, consumers struggle to understand the potential value of this auditory processing intervention as opposed to doing one more crossword puzzle, or buying a Nintendo game.
A new generation of products include those by Posit Science (Brain Fitness Program Classic and Insight), CogniFit (MindFit), Lumos Labs (Lumosity.com),Scientific Brain Training (Happy-Neuron.com), and others, that add options to earlier attempts, such as those by MyBrainTrainer and BrainBuilder.
There needs to be a common taxonomy, perhaps similar to how food labels clarify the ingredients, to educate consumers on what cognitive benefits those products are aimed at and with what specific evidence.
We believe that over time consumers and healthcare professionals will become more sophisticated in their shopping habits. They will evaluate programs using criteria similar to the SharpBrains checklist presented in Chapter 4. They will also learn to make sure that the product they are considering has been validated via solid randomized, controlled, studies. Importantly, brain training users will also learn how to determine what cognitive enhancements they need and which program may help deliver those.
This new online resource is based on the content from the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness (May 2009, $19.95), by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.