Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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.