Brain-Training Companies Get Advice From Some Academics, Criticism From Others
Prominent researchers have raised ethical concerns about university scientists’ work for the companies. But some of those scientists reject the criticism as too broad. The Chronicle discloses helpful information you should know when you choose a brain training program
The topic of brain training and its effectiveness has been a question for years. As a new part of the health field, many people are skeptical of its claims and wonder if it really can do what it says.
There are really two sides to this debate. Some researchers, doctors, psychologists, neurologists, etc. claim that it many brain training companies do not have the scientific evidence that they need in order to make the claims that they do. Many professors have refused to take part in the research, and others have signed a document asking for the scientific proof that these activities work.
One professor, Adam Gazzaley is cited on one of the research materials, his name marked with an asterisk. This asterisk shows that there is a conflict of interest, as he is a paid consultant for a company that helped found one of these brain training programs.
Many people do not believe that these companies are deceitful or disingenuous, but when it comes to a question of clients’ money, caution must be taken in order to ensure that they are not being taken advantage of. It is important that the client understand the claims that the company is making, and the fine line between “scientifically based”, and “scientifically validated”.
The latter of these, scientifically based brain training programs, have the scientific research to support their claims and are transparent with their research. CogniFit, a company with 15 years of experience in the brain training field, is one of these companies that has real scientific validation. Tommy Sagroun, CEO of CogniFit, says “[‘based on science’ is] simply a marketing term that is very misleading. It’s not hard to ‘base things on science’”.
Even then, there are some people who say that training with brain training games does not actually help cognition. One user used a brain training program for 9 months and took a 7 month break. When he went back to use the games, he noticed that his scores for all of the games had fallen, proving to him that the games were not effective.
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