Our fellow blogger Jeremy over at PsyBlog has written a thoughtful post comparing the value of a number of cognitive enhancing tools. His overall verdict?
“The evidence for exercise boosting cognitive function is head-and-shoulders above that for brain training, drugs, nutritional supplements and meditation. Scientifically, on the current evidence, exercise is the best way to enhance your cognitive function. And as for its side-effects: yes there is the chance of an injury but exercise can also reduce weight, lower the chance of dementia, improve mood and lead to a longer life-span. Damn those side-effects!”
Jeremy, I started writing this as a comment to your post in your blog, but then it got too long. Let me write my reaction to your post here.
While I appreciate your analysis and share most of your points, I think the “ranking” effort (this type of intervention is better than that one) is ultimately misleading. It is based on a faulty search for a general solution/ magic pill for everyone and everything.
If only things were so simple. Perhaps one day there will be research to support that view, but certainly not today. A number of interventions have shown their value. In different populations, and contexts. For “exercise is the best way to enhance your cognitive function” to be true, one needs to have a pretty specific understanding of “best”, “your” and “cognitive function”.