Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Nintendo BrainAge, Lumosity, Happy Neuron, MyBrainTrainer…

A col­lec­tion of recent announce­ment in the “brain games” or “brain train­ing games” space:

The Wii sets new gen­er­a­tional stan­dards for the videogame indus­try

  • “The age­ing of the Japan­ese pop­u­la­tion com­pelled gamemak­er Nin­ten­do to widen its audi­ence. Now, the Wii is lead­ing the indus­try stan­dards. But hard­core gamers are still too impor­tant to be neglect­ed.”

Strain your brain the smart way

  • George Har­ri­son, Nin­ten­do’s senior vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, has said that more than half of the com­pa­ny’s mar­ket­ing for Wii is aimed at adults. And the sys­tem has been pre­sent­ed at con­ven­tions for the aging “gray gamer” pop­u­la­tion.” and talks about sudoku, Brain Age, Big Brain Acad­e­my, and more.

SBT Announces the Acqui­si­tion of Quix­it

  • Sci­en­tif­ic Brain Train­ing (“SBT”), based in Lyon, France, today has announced that it has acquired all of the out­stand­ing shares of pri­vate­ly held Quix­it, Inc. SBT was pre­vi­ous­ly a minor­i­ty share­hold­er of Quix­it. Effec­tive today, Quix­it will be renamed HAP­PYneu­ron, Inc.”

Lumos Labs just announced the release of lumos­i­ty. MyBrain­Train­er and Brain­Builder are still around.

Let me add our 2 cents to the con­ver­sa­tion:

- Life­long learn­ing and brain exercise/ men­tal stimulation have been shown to reduce the prob­a­bil­i­ty of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s-relat­ed symp­toms as we age. Now, no one spe­cif­ic pro­gram has shown so far that it is bet­ter than anoth­er one in this regard. Some pro­grams have shown good results at train­ing and improv­ing spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skills, which is dif­fer­ent. You can learn more at Alzheimer’s Dis­ease: too seri­ous to play with head­lines.

- How can one dis­tin­guish what is enter­tain­ment (which is not bad at all, but has unproven cog­ni­tive enhance­ment ben­e­fits) vs. real brain fit­ness pro­grams? We sug­gest that, before buy­ing any pro­gram, you get clear answers to the ques­tions in the Brain Fit­ness Check­list below. A very impor­tant ques­tion is num­ber 2: if you want pro­grams with sol­id sci­ence behind, look for the name of the sci­en­tist behind in the PubMed data­base, “a ser­vice of the U.S. Nation­al Library of Med­i­cine that includes over 17 mil­lion cita­tions from MEDLINE and oth­er life sci­ence jour­nals for bio­med­ical arti­cles back to the 1950s.” Good qual­i­ty peer-reviewed research will appear there.

10 Ques­tions to Choose the Right Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram for You



1. Are there sci­en­tists (ide­al­ly neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists) and a sci­en­tif­ic advi­so­ry board behind the pro­gram?
2. Are there pub­lished, peer-reviewed sci­en­tif­ic papers writ­ten by those sci­en­tists? How many?


3. What are the spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits claimed for using this pro­gram?
4. Does the pro­gram tell me what part of my brain or which cog­ni­tive skill I am exer­cis­ing, and is there an inde­pen­dent assess­ment to mea­sure my progress?
5. Is it a struc­tured pro­gram with guid­ance on how many hours per week and days per week to use it?


6. Do the exer­cis­es vary and teach me some­thing new?


7. Does the pro­gram chal­lenge and moti­vate me, or does it feel like it would become easy once I learned it?


8. Does the pro­gram fit my per­son­al goals?
9. Does the pro­gram fit my lifestyle?
10. Am I ready and will­ing to do the pro­gram, or would it be too stress­ful?

For more infor­ma­tion on each ques­tion, see:

SharpBrains Checklist 10 Ques­tions to Choose the Right Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram for You
SharpBrains Checklist Bookmark 10 Ques­tions to Choose the Right Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram for You (book­mark size)

You can find more infor­ma­tion in our Brain Fit­ness Top­ics sec­tion. Please let us know if you have any sug­ges­tions-thanks!     

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12 Responses

  1. Pat Washburn says:

    Thanks for this post, Alvaro! I’ve includ­ed it in the Med­i­cine 2.0 Blog Car­ni­val at The Health Wis­dom Blog.

  2. Hi, I am cur­rent­ly work­ing on an vr edu­ca­tion game focus­ing on ADHD. I am in search of paid game con­sul­tant that can guide me the right way.

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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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