Brain Training Apps and Reality

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Most of us have a phone.

Even more of us have an app store on our phone, and every single app is designed for a single purpose- whether it be pleasure or the cure to boredom. However, not many of us have heard the term “Brain-training.” What exactly is brain-training, and what is its purpose?

It’s quite simple. Its purpose is to train the brain, and delay several cognitive impairments. A well known app, Lumosity has been making the top charts in several app stores. I myself believed the app’s claims and downloaded it for a trial. Personally, I found it boring as there was payment required to do a lot more training functions. I had thought that this was not the app for me, at least for now considering my age. With those kind of claims, the app was obviously aimed at adults and the older population to preserve their cognitive abilities. The interface of the app seemed professional and the games themselves weren’t too shabby- it seemed promising.

False. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a complaint about Lumosity and its false advertising when the app claimed that playing their games could delay dementia, memory loss, and even Alzheimer’s. The app’s developer company has agreed to pay 2 million dollars for their doings, although the company still wants to research how brain-training can be beneficial to the brain. Lumosity agreed to give subscribers a quick way to opt out. Although Lumosity still hasn’t proven their claims, many praise Lumosity for finding a new market.

Due to the sudden uproar caused by Lumosity, people and scientists alike are growing interested in the new category of brain-training games and apps. If brain-training could actually work, it could be the “holy grail” of neuroscience, says Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, director of the neurocognitive disorders program at Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. (Source quoted from this link.) He is one of the few scientists that believe that brain-training could be a miraculous breakthrough in technology and science. Personally, I also believe that further research on these apps could really make an impact. Science to me, is like trying to find the right key to the door of discovery. There may be millions of keys that may fit in the key hole, but only one will turn and click.

Although Lumosity has disappointed many users with its promises, other apps seems to show a glimpse of hope. An article from the journal, Nature, proves otherwise. A driving game seemed to improve short-term memory and long-term focus in older adults. Its findings are significant and promising as after training, subjects had improved so much that they achieved higher scores than untrained 20-year-olds, with the skill remaining for around 6 months without practice.

With many opinions centered around brain training games and apps, there is only one thing to say for sure. Brain training can seriously change the world, if it’s proven beneficial.




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