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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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4. Making Informed Brain Training Decisions

High­lights from Sec­tion 4: Mak­ing Informed Brain Train­ing Deci­sions

  • Dif­fer­ent peo­ple face dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive demands, and have dif­fer­ent start­ing points, so there is no gen­er­al solu­tion for every­one and every­thing.
  • As in phys­i­cal fit­ness, informed con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als must ask them­selves: What are the goals we want to accom­plish? What spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive func­tions are we try­ing to improve on? In what time­frame? What bud­get can we spend on this?

The state of the research does not allow for strong “pre­scrip­tions” or rank­ings of prod­ucts: we want to offer you the best infor­ma­tion avail­able today so that you can make bet­ter informed deci­sions on what pro­gram, if any, may be worth try­ing for you, your client, patient or loved-one.

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The first question: which brain function/s do I want to improve and why?

The first ques­tion any­one inter­est­ed in eval­u­at­ing prod­ucts should ask is: Which brain func­tions do I (or my loved-one or my client) need to train? The answer to this ques­tion depends a lot on the sit­u­a­tion and goals of the per­son who will use the train­ing product.  Keep read­ing.

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10-Question Checklist to evaluate products making brain fitness and cognitive health claims

Eval­u­at­ing the use­ful­ness of com­put­er-based brain fit­ness pro­grams depends on many fac­tors such as the goals, pri­or­i­ties, start­ing point, bud­get, etc of the intend­ed user. There is no gen­er­al rank­ing of prod­ucts that would sat­is­fy every­body. This is why we have devel­oped a Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Eval­u­a­tion Check­list. Keep read­ing.

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Tips to navigate the brain training landscape

There is sig­nif­i­cant vari­a­tion around what prod­ucts are designed to do and around how much evi­dence there is to back them up. This wide vari­a­tion is often con­fus­ing for cus­tomers and even pro­fes­sion­als. Out of the hun­dreds of prod­ucts out there mak­ing brain train­ing claims we include in this guide the ones that have at the very least a well-artic­u­lat­ed sci­en­tif­ic ratio­nale, a basic lev­el of sci­en­tif­ic test­ing and con­sumer-usabil­i­ty, and are devel­oped by known orga­ni­za­tions which offer pro­fes­sion­al cus­tomer care. Keep read­ing.

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Description, highlights and validation of 21 brain training products

The first ques­tion to ask as a con­sumer or pro­fes­sion­al is, What are my goals or the goal of my client or loved-one? To help you choose prod­ucts based on your answers to that ques­tion we have cat­e­go­rized brain train­ing soft­ware based on their pur­pose: over­all brain main­te­nance, tar­get­ed improve­ment in one spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive domain, and stress man­age­ment. Keep read­ing.

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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About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.