Brain games are big business today. Over the past five years, brain training games, or CT (cognitive training) programs have become a hot commodity in the digital market. In fact, the market is so hot that some investors are seeking to develop the world’s first prescription brain game. While some research shows that the games are beneficial to neuroplasticity in the brain, but the research has been uneven. While the games are showing promise as a way to keep up brain health and stave off diseases such as Alzheimer’s, there is the obvious motive of profit for the companies that develop and promote brain games. So what is the truth behind this new technological wave? We’ll take a closer look at the science behind the games.
While the brain training games are becoming more and more popular, the idea behind brain training has been around since Socrates. Studies have shown that those who remain active physically, mentally and socially age more successfully. The transition to more sedentary brain games occurred in the 1990’s, led by video game giant Nintendo. Today, computerized CT games test memory, attention, problem solving skills, math and language. Brain game websites promise things like better mental stamina, higher rate of concentration, improved memory and even mood elevation.
The science behind the newest brain games varies. While some companies are associated with top notch neuroscientists who have spent years developing the games with the goal of enhancing the cognitive process, others appear almost immediately, leaving one to wonder how much research actually went into the product. Multiple studies in older adults have shown that these games have the ability to slow age-related cognitive decline and more recent findings suggest that healthy younger adults can improve their mental skills as well.
While the science behind the games continues, and the market continues to grow, it is wise not to rely on brain training games to completely turn around a person’s cognitive health or replace medical treatments, but if brain games replace non-active things like watching TV, it may be worth the time. And if brain training games are enjoyable to you, then they are definitely worth the time. Improving any skills and activities that have meaning to one’s life is always a positive.