Brain Games or Mind Games?

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On the internet (where I believe everything I read except if I write it) I’m finding news stories about a new Brain Game study. They’re not fake news, more like flake news:

I’ve blabbered about this subject for years. Pet peeve. I dislike scams.

My list of blabs: Brain Game Posts

Culled from the news stories (italics) with my comments:

Those who did the speed of processing training were 29 per cent less likely to have developed dementia than people in the control group.


It is possible that any improvements seen in the processing speed training group may have been due to chance, and not directly caused by the training itself.

I’m having trouble directly speed processing the above information. It sounds to me like you could’ve had them all play tiddlywinks for ten years and had the same results – a chance that a certain percentage might or might not have developed dementia, but not necessarily because they played tiddlywinks.

There are limitations to the study, including the fact that dementia was determined by self-reporting or cognitive assessments, not a full clinical diagnosis.

So …. someone with or without dementia tells you if they’ve developed dementia or not, and that’s the final result of the study.

This isn’t to say that the findings of this study are wrong; they’re just weak. They still are enough to say that speed-training at a later age may ward off dementia, and it certainly doesn’t hurt (minus the few hours of your day lost). But realistically, the reasons we develop dementia are so poorly understood scientists can’t say for sure that lifestyle change—like staying active, eating well, or brain training—can actually protect against it. Even Nobel prize winners and life-time athletes develop dementia, after all.

I’m doing something just as creditable and conclusive. Every day for an hour, I try to forget everything I’ve ever known - so if I get Alzheimer’s no one will ever know.

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