Research: Does Nintendo Brain Age work as a brain training game?
A new study tries to, but unfortunately doesn’t, answer that question. Study: Brain Training Game Improves Executive Functions and Processing Speed in the Elderly: A Randomized Controlled Trial (PLoS ONE).
“Conclusions: Our results showed that playing Brain Age for 4 weeks could lead to improve cognitive functions (executive functions and processing speed) in the elderly. This result indicated that there is a possibility which the elderly could improve executive functions and processing speed in short term training. The results need replication in large samples. Long-term effects and relevance for every-day functioning remain uncertain as yet.”
We were quite critical of the “BBC brain training” paper published in 2010, because, contrary to what it claimed to do, it didn’t answer the question, “does brain training work”. We need to be equally critical of this new study, given its very small size (only 30 people), the fact it was not run in a completely independent manner (Dr. Ryuta Kawashima is one of the co-authors), the selection of control (Tetris), among other factors. We share the study here because it is indeed an interesting study, but it should be seen as a “small dot”, not as a definitive study to “connect the dots”.
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