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Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brain games don’t reduce dementia risk

April 22, 2010

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— Playing memory, reasoning or other brain games won’t make you smarter or mentally stronger, researchers said.

A study involving 11,430 people from across Britain found the “training” failed to improve overall brain function better than answering general questions on the Internet. The results were the same regardless of how often the volunteers played the games, said lead researcher Adrian Owen.

“We have one of the largest public health experiences ever going on in society, because millions of people are using these games,” said Owen, a neuroscientist at the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England. “If people find these things fun to do, they should keep doing them. But if they are doing it to try to improve their mental function, that’s not going to happen.”

Dozens of companies sell brain-training software for baby boomers and the elderly in a bid to strengthen the mind and ward off dementia. The study results, published this week in the journal Nature, suggest users may be wasting their money, Owen said.

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