Brain Training doesn't help old brains after all

Ludwig Kietzmann
L. Kietzmann|04.24.06

Sponsored Links

Brain Training doesn't help old brains after all
For those of us hoping to clutch onto a DS and listen to the sage advice of Brain Age's Dr. Floaty Head (his real name's so hard to remember these days) in order to lessen the rate of our inevitable mental decline, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal's science journal is sure to come as bad news. According to a recent study, constant mental exercise does nothing to slow down the rate of cognitive decline.

Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia notes that "there is no convincing empirical evidence that mental activity slows the rate of cognitive decline," a message that stands somewhat opposed to Nintendo's Brain Age campaign. "The research I reviewed is just not consistent with the idea that engaging in mentally stimulating activities as you age prevents or slows cognitive decline." While the rate of mental erosion is labeled as constant by the study, it suggests that the minds that remain sharp are merely dropping from a higher point. The higher you start, the longer it takes you to hit bottom.

The mental usefulness of the innocent crossword puzzle also comes under attack assault fire, with Salthouse concluding that there is no evidence that habitual puzzle players experience "a slower rate of age-related decline in reasoning." What's a five-letter word for bummer?

Still, the article points out (perhaps obviously so) that the greatest benefit of games like Brain Age is that the constant training improves an adult's ability to perform the given task well. One thing's for sure--we'll soon be glorified experts at saying "Blue!"

[Thanks Vlad! Linked article requires membership to access.]
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget