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Brain fitness programs: why are so many appearing now?

Here is ques­tion ten of 25 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions. To down­load the com­plete ver­sion, please click here.

Ques­tion:
Why are so many brain fit­ness pro­grams appear­ing now?

Key Points:

  • 1) Research on cog­ni­tive exer­cise and its clin­i­cal appli­ca­tions and tools have been around for a long time in hos­pi­tals and the mil­i­tary.
  • 2) Gam­ing has become so pop­u­lar and wide­spread, that it is an easy and nat­ur­al medi­um to uti­lize for brain fit­ness.
  • 3) Sci­ence is being pub­lished that shows how brain exer­cise can lead to enhanced neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (growth of new neu­rons and con­nec­tions between them) through­out life.

Answer:

Although some knowl­edge about the brain has been around since the days of Ancient Greece and Rome, it real­ly got a boost in the 19th cen­tu­ry with some major dis­cov­er­ies in brain local­iza­tion. Since then, the field has been grow­ing with the amount of knowl­edge increas­ing steadi­ly. Yet, due to tech­ni­cal and eco­nom­ic con­straints, many of the tools to under­stand cog­ni­tion stayed with­in uni­ver­si­ty, med­ical, and mil­i­tary research labs where they were inac­ces­si­ble to most peo­ple.

With recent sci­en­tif­ic devel­op­ments, it has become much eas­i­er and cheap­er to learn more. Research on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis is increas­ing all the time. With these tools came the sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence that cog­ni­tive train­ing is neu­ro­pro­tec­tive.

As our pop­u­la­tion ages and faces some of the chal­lenges of get­ting old­er, more peo­ple are inter­est­ed in pro­tect­ing their qual­i­ty of life. Now that we know there is some­thing we can do about it, the pro­grams are start­ing to pop up on the mar­ket. More and more pro­grams will appear, and Sharp­Brains will always be on the fore­front look­ing for proven sci­ence-based pro­grams that are also fun. Come back and look for rec­om­men­da­tions. If we don’t talk about a pro­gram you’ve seen, send us a note.

Fur­ther Read­ing

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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