Want a swole mind? Don’t train your brain

Want a swole mind? Don't train your brain

Ariel Hartzy

Above- An image found on luminosity’s website, a brain training site, promises improved brain flexibility, memory, attention, focus and speed.

Improved memory, attention, brain speed, focus and creativity are all things brain training sites claim that their programs provide. But can a couple hours a day in front of a computer really give you all that?

Common brain training sites include Fit Brains, CogniFit and Lumosity. Over the years, brain training has grown into a billion dollar industry. Common sites often charge around $15 per month to receive access to these sites.

In 2014, a group of neuroscientists from Stanford University released a statement claiming that these brain training sites were providing unrealistic goals. They stated that the companies use fear to influence the senior population in spending money.

“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.” said the group of 73 neuroscientists.

They claimed that more research was required before making the assumption that the sites would significantly improve your brain function.

Two months later, however, a group of over a hundred neuroscientists conducted a study that suggested that the brain training sites do work to an extent. They found that the sites do not improve memory and other brain skills, but do reduce the rate of cognitive decline.

Both groups concluded that brain training companies exaggerate benefits that their sites provide and more research is needed to prove their claims.

The studies that have been done testing the benefits of brain training are performed on people with brain disabilities such as schizophrenia. Brain training was found beneficial when concentrated on improving one area of the brain in subjects with brain disabilities.

However, neurologist Dr. Steven Novella explains that these results benefits will not extend to  healthy individuals.

In 2015 such false claims lead the United States Federal Trade Commission to order these companies to stop making false claims. Lumosity was then fined $2 million for false claims.

Before spending $15 a month to improve your memory, try methods that are proven to work. Exercise regularly to improve oxygen flow to the brain and maintaining a regular sleep pattern can benefit memory.