Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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January Update: The Federal Trade Commission orders Focus Education to stop making unsubstantiated brain training claims

brain-activity.

Time for Sharp­Brains’ Jan­u­ary e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing a wealth of brain health insights, neu­ro­science research reports, a land­mark action by the Fed­er­al Trade Commission…and some quick brain teasers. Enjoy!

New research:

New think­ing:

New tools:

Final­ly, when you have a few min­utes you may want to try these quick brain teasers to test your cog­ni­tive skills…and your cog­ni­tive bias­es.

Have a great month of Feb­ru­ary!

The Federal Trade Commission orders Focus Education to stop making unsubstantiated brain training claims

Federal-Trade-Commission.

Mak­ers of Jun­gle Rangers Com­put­er Game for Kids Set­tle FTC Charges that They Deceived Con­sumers with Base­less “Brain Train­ing” Claims (Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion):

A Texas com­pa­ny and its offi­cers must stop mak­ing unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims that their com­put­er game, Jun­gle Rangers, per­ma­nent­ly improves children’s focus, mem­o­ry, atten­tion, behav­ior, and school per­for­mance, includ­ing for chil­dren with atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der (ADHD), under a Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion set­tle­ment Read the rest of this entry »

Checklist to Evaluate Brain Training and Brain Health Claims

SharpBrains ChecklistTo assist those look­ing for ideas, prod­ucts and ser­vices in the brain training/ health area, either as hol­i­day gifts or New Year Res­o­lu­tions, let us share this resource: Sharp­Brains’ Check­list to eval­u­ate Brain Train­ing and Brain Health claims, includ­ing Ten Ques­tions to Choose the Right Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram— and a brief expla­na­tion of why each ques­tion is impor­tant.

10-Question Checklist to Assess Products Making Brain Fitness & Training Claims

To help con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als nav­i­gate through the grow­ing num­ber of pro­grams mak­ing “brain fit­ness” or “brain train­ing” claims, we have pub­lished this Sharp­Brains SharpBrains ChecklistCheck­list:

10 Ques­tions to Choose the Right Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram — and a brief expla­na­tion of why each ques­tion is impor­tant:

* 1. Are there sci­en­tists, ide­al­ly neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists, and a sci­en­tif­ic advi­so­ry board behind the pro­gram?

Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists spe­cial­ize in mea­sur­ing and under­stand­ing human cog­ni­tion and brain struc­ture and func­tion.

* 2. Are there pub­lished, peer-reviewed sci­en­tif­ic papers in PubMed writ­ten by those sci­en­tists? How many?

PubMed is a ser­vice of the U.S. Nation­al Library of Med­i­cine that includes mil­lions of cita­tions sci­ence jour­nals. If a sci­en­tist has not pub­lished a paper that appears in that data­base, he or she can­not make sci­en­tif­ic claims.

* 3. What are the spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits claimed for using this pro­gram? What spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skill is the pro­gram train­ing?

Some pro­grams present the ben­e­fits in such a neb­u­lous way that it is impos­si­ble to tell if they will have any results or not…“brain train­ing” itself is a lim­it­ed ben­e­fit, because activ­i­ties like gar­den­ing or learn­ing a new lan­guage pro­vide “brain train­ing too”…you need to see some­thing more spe­cif­ic, like what cog­ni­tive or emo­tion­al skill that pro­gram is aimed at.
* 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?

The ques­tion is whether the improve­ment expe­ri­enced in the pro­gram will trans­fer into real life. For that to hap­pen we need assess­ments that are dis­tinct from the exer­cis­es them­selves. Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

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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