Are you the Tetris player, Sudoku lover, or trivia wiz? You may be playing these types of games without even realizing that you’re actually engaging in what is sometimes referred to as “brain training.” You may be familiar with sites such as lumosity.com or other brain training programs and apps that claim to help strengthen and improve cognitive health, but do they actually work? The industry for brain training programs has grown tremendously over the last few years, some even requiring a monthly or yearly subscription. While they advertise to improve memory, problem-solving skills, and even prevent some neurological diseases, research shows that this isn’t necessarily the case. The problem is that there is very little evidence in proving a lasting effect of these mental exercises. It is also argued that one may be improving performance only in that specific exercise, which doesn’t contribute to overall brain function. While they can be fun and sometimes addicting, there are other measures that are proven to be more beneficial than playing these brain games alone. Some of these measures include reading, physical fitness, and even playing a musical instrument. This is not to discount the potential for brain training exercises; there is still plenty of research being conducted and even some that shows that other skills can be gained such as the ability to multitask. At the very least, there is no harm in indulging in your favorite brain games! And that’s just it- they are viewed as more for fun rather than for “training.”
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