Very frequently, I am asked “what exactly we do at Memory Matters” and some people seem a little perplexed when I respond that it depends on the person and their situation. It seems some people would be more comfortable if I could suggest buying a bag of tricks, a supplement or an app. People have a hunger for simple fixes but I can tell you that there are none when it comes to cognitive change. The simplest fixes that I have ever encountered had to do with things that could easily be undone, such as a medication interaction or an underlying condition or illness that could be addressed. It is interesting to note that playing games or “brain training” nor the unfit minds promoting them, would have been of little use in identifying the medication interaction or the underlying condition. Below you will see an excerpt by Benjamin Radford from Discovery.com – very interesting. Seems that there are scores of professionals who put ethics ahead of sales! We now live in a “Buyer Beware” culture when it comes to cognitive care.
Take it away Benjamin….
In late October the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development gathered many of the world’s leading cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists to examine these brain games and programs. It then issued a statement that read in part:
Computer-based “brain-games” claim a growing share of the marketplace in aging societies. Consumers are told that playing the games will make them smarter, more alert, and able to learn faster and better. The implied and often explicit promise is that adherence to prescribed regimens of cognitive exercise will reduce and potentially reverse creeping cognitive slowing and forgetfulness, improve everyday functioning, and help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. … Advertisements also assure consumers that claims and promises are based on solid scientific evidence, as the games are “designed by neuroscientists” at top universities and research centers.
We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles.