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A study commissioned by US health organization Lifespan showed that brain-training computer games could do more harm than good.

In America the cognitive training industry is worth around £55 million a year, compared to less than £1.5 million in 2005, including sales of over 100 million Nintendo DS consoles which feature number and word puzzles. These products are advertised in high profile campaigns fronted by Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters and Patrick Stewart among others.

Researchers warn that if healthy older users neglect the proven benefits of physical exercise in favour of the games, then they could be harming their health.

No evidence was found that brain exercise programmes delay or slow progression of cognitive changes in healthy elderly. More research was needed into the long-term impact of brain training games although a global business had already developed in brain training products without robust proof that they worked.

Brain aging products sold today could actually be a financial drain, decrease participation in more proven effective lifestyle interventions, like exercise. They could additionally offer false hope to the "worried well" about the chances of holding back the onset of mental decline.
Some of the products are being marketed as weapons in the fight against Alzheimer's disease although there is little real proof of this.

In the next 10 years, one million people will develop dementia so yes, there is a desperate need to find ways to prevent it. It is an attractive thought that 'brain training' could prevent cognitive decline, however, there is very limited evidence to support this claim.

It is still the best evidence that what is good for your heart is good for your head so eating plenty of fruit and vegetables; taking regular exercise and checking your cholesterol will all help reduce risk of dementia.

A spokesman for Nintendo said that the company does not make any claims that 'Brain Training' was scientifically proven to improve cognitive functioning.

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I never played Nintendo DS, so I am not familiar with the brain training games that the console has to offer. But I have played the Nintendo Wii, and I highly recommend this to seniors. I got quite a workout playing the Nintendo Wii. You have to play it to believe it.
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HEIDI, Please cite your source for these figures:
"In America the cognitive training industry is worth around £55 million a year, compared to less than £1.5 million in 2005..."
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User avatar
Health Advisor
588 posts
Hi Kuskak, any website that wrote about this topic, reported these figures. Here is one:

telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/4586419/Brain-training-games-do-more-harm-than-good.html
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