Jogging Still Beats a Computer Game

Daily Mail (London), February 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Jogging Still Beats a Computer Game


Byline: Jenny Hope

BRAIN training games designed to give the grey matter a workout will not keep Alzheimer's at bay despite fuelling the growth of a multi-million pound industry, warn researchers.

The increasing popularity of handheld computer exercises comes after big advertising campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic by firms like Nintendo.

The persuasive promotions - featuring Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters and even Ronan Keating and his family - claim the brain training games can 'stimulate your brain' while improving bloodflow and 'practical intelligence'.

But they may be doing more harm than good if healthy older users are fooled into giving up the proven benefits of physical exercise, says a new study. It found 'no evidence... brain-exercise programmes delay or slow progression of cognitive changes in healthy elderly.'

Commissioned by U.S. health organisation Lifespan, the study looked at trials undertaken since 1992 on the impact of brain exercises - known as 'cognitive training' - on old people.

The study, published in the health journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, found few trials met their criteria and those that did were often limited or lacking in follow-up. It concludes more research is needed into the medium and long-term impact of brain training.

Lead researcher Peter Snyder, professor of clinical neurosciences, said a global business had developed in brain-training products without robust proof that they worked. …

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