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Study discredits the effectiveness of Brain Age

Researchers at the University of Rennes, Brittany, have concluded that Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training or Brain Age is no more effective at improving your cognitive abilities than playing Scrabble or completing Sudoku puzzles.

Brain Age is a puzzle video game published and developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS portable video game console. It has been marketed as a tool for improving your mental sharpness and is an example of a game that appealed to a very wide audience that reached beyond traditional gamers.

Alain Lieury professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Rennes stated, “The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel. As a game it’s fine, but it would be charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test.”

To back their claims with evidence the research team experimented on 67 10-year-old children. The first two groups undertook a seven-week memory course using the Nintendo DS; the third group completed puzzles using just a pencil and paper; the fourth group did no extra work outside of their regular school curriculum.

Logic, memory, and mathematical tests carried out before and after the study were compared and children who were trained on the Nintendo DS failed to show any significant improvements in memory tests.

According to the Telegraph, Nintendo defended its edutainment titles such as Brain Age, stating that it had never claimed the games were scientifically proven to improve cognitive function. In the words of a Nintendo spokes person, “The challenges in Brain Training and More Brain Training are inspired by the exercises developed by respected neurologist Dr Kawashima, who believes that the brain needs to be exercised to help stay fit in the same way that our bodies need exercise to stay in shape,”.
Brain Age has been a sales success that has been able to appeal to more than traditional gamers. Developing games that appeal to a wider audience has brought Nintendo incredible success both with the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii. Although this study may discredit the effectiveness of Brain Age, future Brain Age titles will most likely still see success thanks to Nintendo's clever marketing. 

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10 year olds?
By austinag on 1/28/2009 10:38:47 AM , Rating: 5
The study was done on 10 year olds, but I thought the games intended audience was older people who wanted to lower their "brain age".

RE: 10 year olds?
By JazzMang on 1/28/2009 10:40:46 AM , Rating: 5
haha yea slight oversight by the research party.

RE: 10 year olds?
By Chadder007 on 1/28/2009 11:05:33 AM , Rating: 5
Considering that 10 year olds are still going to school and are being subject to brain exercises most of the day anyway....
I would like to see a study done on adults in later age ranges.

RE: 10 year olds?
By KashGarinn on 1/29/2009 10:02:26 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly, children who actively go to school everyday are constantly using their brain.

Most 65+ aren't. If they really would have liked to see whether training the brain has an effect, they should have gotten retired people at oldsfolkshomes to participate, people who are more likely to not being stimulated everyday with brain training.

RE: 10 year olds?
By Dreifort on 1/28/2009 10:44:24 AM , Rating: 1
Isn't brain age just electronic flash cards?

RE: 10 year olds?
By jjunos on 1/28/2009 12:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, all the articles I read talked about how brain age was being used as an effective way to avoid dementia in older people.

As well, there's also the effort in getting kid's to do anything remotely educational...the DS simplifies that.

RE: 10 year olds?
By supergarr on 2/2/2009 5:53:47 AM , Rating: 2
You read my mind

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