Q&A: Do brain-training apps work?

Sep 23 8:31am | Marie Suszynski, Writer | @mariemayohecs | Comments (8)

 

 

 

Q: Do brain training memory apps for smartphones work as advertised? I’m looking to slow the memory loss that I feel I’ve been experiencing.

A: There’s some promising evidence that brain-training smartphone apps — with popular choices being Lumosity, BrainHQ, Elevate or Peak — may have a mild to moderate effect on improving memory and other types of thinking in older adults with age-related cognitive decline or those with mild cognitive impairment.

While brain-training apps may provide a boost, there’s no substantial evidence that they can prevent or slow cognitive decline. They also don’t seem to help people with cognitive decline that has progressed to dementia. There’s also considerable debate as to whether brain-training apps simply make you better at the brain-training exercises or tests, or whether the improved cognition extends into tasks of everyday life.

Potential benefits of brain-training apps require a fair amount of work. They must be used regularly and fairly intensively, and the effects fade quickly if you stop. In one study in which a brain-training app improved memory and thinking speed, study participants used the app for one hour a day, five days a week for eight to 10 weeks.

Brain-training apps have important positives, such as being portable and easy to use. Most have a variety of activities, and the difficulty level increases as you improve.

If you’re motivated to use brain-training apps — and don’t mind paying for them — they’re a reasonable way to try for a cognitive boost. However, you may prefer other forms of mental engagement and challenge — such as social activity, starting a new hobby or studying a foreign language — which may be just as effective in terms of maintaining mental sharpness.

 

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Ive used Elevate and enjoyed it, and i do other quizzes i come across. It probably raises my self esteem as much as my memory when i do well!!

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Confidence means everything

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Regarding memory apps; in comparison would general memorizing be a more effective way to boost or slow down memory loss?

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My speech therapist recommended Luminosity to improve my cognitive ability following bad side effects from the seizure medication I was on at the time and it helped a lot. I still use it.

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But is there an improvement in your memory? How do you know? Did you take a memory test before and after taking Luminosity?

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@rfherald

But is there an improvement in your memory? How do you know? Did you take a memory test before and after taking Luminosity?

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Yes, I was tested by neurologist and the speech therapist both before and after treatment. I continue to do the Luminosity exercises to maintain memory.

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@theprys

Confidence means everything

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A simple statement full of truth! ☺️

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@rfherald

But is there an improvement in your memory? How do you know? Did you take a memory test before and after taking Luminosity?

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@rfherald, At one time I used Luminosity. When you first sign-up they test you in several cognitive areas. Each month or so, your progress is compared to that initial test in each of those areas. It was a good program.

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