A couple of good recent articles:
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Baltimore Sun, MD. Mar 22, 2007.The reporter provides a great survey of products. The only parts I find missing are:
1) what specific cognitive skill/s is/are being trained by each product? if we understand that the brain has a variety of structural and functional areas, it becomes evident that different programs may be training different “mental muscles”.
2) How does each program enable the user measure progress in an objective way? I’d say this is the main difference between “games” and brain fitness programs. If you have a wildly different brain age everytime you try…that so-called brain age is not very credible.
Does brain exercise fight dementia?
Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription), MN. Mar 18, 2007.As the article mentions, no program can claim to “prevent Alzheimer’s”. And I haven’t seen Posit Science (or us) claim such a thing, or imply it. But what can be claimed is meaningful:
First, targeted mental exercise can help us improve our short-term quality of life. When many of our clients do regular brain exercise, they most often are interested in improving memory and other mental functions for the here and now; what may or may not happen in 30 years is not the only reason to learn more about brain fitness.
Second, regular brain exercise can slow the appearance of disease related symptoms. Studies have shown that particularly in the early stages of these diseases, the brain is still able to learn and change.
Learning is neuroprotective by increasing neuronal connections between neurons, increasing cellular metabolism, and increasing the production of nerve growth factor, a substance produced by your body to help maintain and repair neurons.
Unfortunately, nothing available today can fully prevent these diseases from occurring. However, regular training with a cognitive fitness program can postpone the appearance of the cognitive symptoms and build up your cognitive reserve.