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Scientists chide DS endorsing celebs

Scientists chide DS endorsing celebs

Sure, she SAYS it tastes good, but can we really believe her?

Sense About Science, a charitable organisation which aims to promote "good science and evidence in public debates by promoting respect for evidence", has lashed out at celebrity endorsements for "scientific mumbo jumbo" in a recent report - specifically aiming at games like More Brain Training for the Nintendo DS.

The report, which is freely available online, suggests that games like More Brain Training aren't really as helpful as the celebs claim them to be. The game is currently being advertised and endorsed by the likes of Patrick Stewart and Nicole Kidman.

"I've quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind feeling young," said Kidman, who also claims to play the games regularly.

Dr. Jason Braithwaite, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Birmingham and an ally of the Sense About Science charity, reckons differently though. "While practice at any task should lead to some form of improvement for that specific task, it is not clear that this improvement reflects anything other than a basic learned process for that specific task," he said in the report.

The Brain Training games have been developed by Ryuta Kawahima, professor at Tohoku University in Japan. The fact that he is a neuroscientist too helps to make things extra ambiguous - which egghead should we trust? Braithwaite, Kawashima or Captain Picard?

Do games like Brain Training help you keep young and sprightly in your noggin', or is it all a load of hogwash and delusion? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

12 Comments

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Mister_X 4th January 2008, 12:38 Quote
Whist I doubt they will make your brain "younger" , Surely there is benefit to be had playing these logic, maths etc type puzzles...
DXR_13KE 4th January 2008, 12:50 Quote
it is bloody fun and it is good for the brain.... what else do you want?
TreeDude 4th January 2008, 13:26 Quote
Studies have shown that regularly doing puzzles like in these game can help prevent things like Alzheimer's when you get older. Keeping your brain actively thinking and problem solving keeps your brain sharp.
Mufasa 4th January 2008, 13:36 Quote
How much of their brain do you think the average American uses? It is at least causing those fat kids to think and learn a little... so the next time I go to McDonalds they can give me correct change.

Also... I hate you Bit-Tech... I'll be singing the damn Captain Picard song for the rest of the day...
Nexxo 4th January 2008, 13:42 Quote
I don't think there is any particular scientific basis to those games --apart from the "use it or lose it" factor. But I don't think neuro-scientists have to feel threatened by it. I mean, we know it's just a game, right? Right?
CardJoe 4th January 2008, 13:45 Quote
I think the arguement they failed to express was that it keeps your brain young. It doesn't. Your brain keeps aging. All the puzzles do is make you better and quicker at solving similar puzzles. Can't argue with that really, can you?

Wait, this is bit-tech. Of course you can! ;)
Redbeaver 4th January 2008, 14:03 Quote
mmmm.... Nicole.......
DougEdey 4th January 2008, 14:04 Quote
Quote:
feeling

IT'S THE FEELING DAMNIT NOT THE SCIENCE!

Why can't scientists read before commenting?

Also, it's Dr Kawashima ;)
Thacrudd 4th January 2008, 15:21 Quote
I think these brain games are great. Not only do they help younger kids in school (have you tried the speed multiplication in Brain Age?) I really believe it helps adults be more "mentally aware" . As DougEdey quoted, it keeps your mind FEELING youg. When's the last time you saw a successful learning game?
DougEdey 4th January 2008, 15:23 Quote
Actually, games used during lessons to improve awareness works really well, especially with languages. My mums site (I can provide the link if people want a look) gives kids games that she's found/produced and have been proven in a classroom environment to work.

I've seen rowdy kids actually enjoy answering questions.
Jordan Wise 4th January 2008, 18:33 Quote
how often do you find yourself saying after any kind of mentally tasking task (for want of a better word), and saying 'my brain feels younger'. In fact, other than headaches, when do you ever feel anything in your brain? Daft statement Nicky, sort it out!
sub routine 5th January 2008, 13:30 Quote
they do it `cause they get paid sh1t loads too. I know I would say it weather it worked or not if they gave me half the money she`s getting........... Man I could probably retire.
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