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Wellness Tip

Do 'Brain Training' Programs Work?

by Berkeley Wellness  

Home-based computerized brain training does not improve memory or other mental skills in cognitively healthy older people, according to an analysis of 51 studies published in November 2014 in the online journal PLOS Medicine. In contrast, it found that supervised training done in a group setting has some small benefits—in short-term memory and processing speed, but not in attention or executive functions (such as planning and problem solving).

The studies measured cognitive function right after training sessions, so it isn’t known if the small benefits would persist (even until the next day), nor whether they would transfer into real-life mental performance or affect the risk of dementia. Despite these unknowns, such cognitive training programs are now a billion-dollar business.