Computerized cognitive training as brain training

sFor many years, neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists have helped indi­vid­u­als suf­fer­ing from trau­mat­ic brain injuries relearn how to talk, walk or make deci­sions, etc.  Among oth­er tools, cog­ni­tive exer­cis­es (includ­ing com­put­er-assist­ed strate­gies) have been used to retrain abil­i­ties. How­ev­er these tools are not avail­able to the pub­lic and not every­body can afford a neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist or needs to see one. Things are chang­ing as a vari­ety of com­mer­cial pro­grams is now mak­ing brain train­ing avail­able to the pub­lic. The chal­lenge is to make informed deci­sions on which tools may be appro­pri­ate for spe­cif­ic needs and goals.

Since the launch of the orig­i­nal brain exer­cise hand-held com­put­er game Brain Age (2005 in Japan, 2006 in the USA and Europe), Nin­ten­do has proven that there is a large demand for men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing video games. These games can be seen as the next step in the chain after the tra­di­tion­al paper-based games such as cross­words and sudoku puzzles.

As of the end of Jan­u­ary 2008, Nin­ten­do has sold 17 mil­lion copies of brain exer­cise games world­wide since the launch of Brain Age in June 2005, with sales in the US trail­ing those in Japan and Europe. This suc­cess has attract­ed many imi­ta­tion prod­ucts from oth­er gam­ing com­pa­nies such as Sega (which released their own brain game in Japan before Nin­ten­do, with­out com­pa­ra­ble suc­cess), Majesco and Ubisoft.

Keep learn­ing by read­ing more arti­cles in the Resources sec­tion, and also please con­sid­er join­ing our free month­ly Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter

This new online resource is based on the con­tent from the book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness (May 2009, $19.95), by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.

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