Here is question ten of 25 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions. To download the complete version, please click here.
Why are so many brain fitness programs appearing now?
- 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.
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.
- Tarraga L, Boada M, Modinos G, et al. A randomised pilot study to assess the efficacy of an interactive, multimedia tool of cognitive stimulation in Alzheimer’s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2006;77:1116–21.
- Weiner, S. “Pumping Neurons”. Washington Post. 2006;October 17:HE01.
- Willis SL, Tennstedt SL, Marsiske M, et al. Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults. JAMA. 2006;296:2805–14.