banner ad
banner ad

This Brain Doctor Says Brain-Training is a Sham

Lumosity is a highly successful website with more than 70 million subscribers. Their marketing invites visitors to play its brain-boosting software games, saying they are “based on neuroscience.” People are drawn to the site in the hope of staving off cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Parent company Lumos Labs has engaged in a massive advertising campaign, promising customers will reach their “full potential in every aspect of life,” from school to work to sports. But the Federal Trade Commission has taken issue with the claims, saying, “Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.” The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection levied a $50 million judgment against Lumos Labs for deceptive advertising, although it ultimately paid only $2 million and had the rest suspended.

While the company said, “We transform science into delightful games,” a number of consulting neuroscientists found no evidence the software improved cognitive functioning or enabled users “to better navigate a complex realm of everyday life.”

Research published in the journal Computers & Education determined that Lumosity players “showed no gains on any measure”. Lumosity promoted its games as based on neuroplasticity, another way of saying the brain is flexible, and capable of rewiring itself even in adulthood.

Software-based games do improve performance in certain tasks, such as hand-eye coordination, but science has not shown that capability carries over into other tasks. According to brain doctor Richard E. Cytowic M.D., games cannot “alter neural function in lasting ways that improve general mental fitness in everyday life, or prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease.”

Dr. Cytowic suggests the best way to protect your brain and improve thinking is to eat a varied diet, get the sleep you need, engage in moderate exercise, and focus on one activity at a time. Sustained attention is key, so he recommends you avoid constantly checking screens. He also believes walking in nature is important.

He also challenges the idea that you use only ten percent of your brain, and he says the brain is not like muscle. You cannot build it up through exercise. So don’t spend good money chasing that illusion. Instead, aim for sustained focus in your daily activities. That is the best way to support your brain now and in the future.


Category: Wellness

Comments are closed.

banner ad