To help consumers and professionals navigate through the growing number of programs making “brain fitness” or “brain training” claims, we have published this SharpBrains Checklist:
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 more…] about 10-Question Checklist to Assess Products Making Brain Fitness & Training Claims