Health Putting brain training to the test

Putting brain training to the test

Some brain training programs can help slow brain ageing linked to an increase risk of dementia, a new review of research into commercially-available products has found.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University took a closer look at 26 peer-reviewed studies examining the effectiveness of seven brain training programs for people aged over 50.

Lead researcher Professor Ralph Martins from the School of Medical and Health Sciences said the review was conducted to help give clinicians guidance when advising their patients.

“We found that the current evidence indicates that at least some of the commercially available brain training programs can assist in promoting healthy brain ageing,” he said.

The researchers found that of 18 companies that had made scientific claims for their brain training programs, only seven had clinical trials or empirical evidence indicating they were effective.

The reviewers classified those seven into Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories based on the strength of the evidence of their effectiveness.

Only two, BrainHQ and Cognifit, met the study’s criteria for Level 1, having at least two well-designed randomised trials, with one being of high quality.

One program was classified as Level 2, with one high quality study, while the remaining programs had only one moderate or poorly designed randomised controlled trial and were categorised as Level 3.

“The publication of high quality studies of commercially available programs has really accelerated over the past five years,” Professor Martins said.

“The evidence now supports the notion that the human brain is plastic in later life and can benefit from properly designed brain training programs.”

Read more about the brain-training study here. Story credit: Edith Cowan University newsroom.

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