Clinician's Digest

Clinician's Digest

Do Brain Games Build Cognitive Muscle? * Grim Job Prospects for Mental Health Grad

By Tori Rodriguez and Kathleen Smith

May/June 2014

Having trouble remembering to feed the dog, recall where you left your appointment book, or conjure up the name of the fourth Beatle on trivia night? And what about your clients? Are they suffering from cognitive impairment or decline? The solution may lie with a concept that’s garnered increased attention—and skepticism—in recent years: computerized brain games.

The idea that these games could play a role in preserving and enhancing cognitive function is being backed by advances in the study of neuroplasticity, overturning the notion that human brainpower is set on an inevitable, irreversible course of progressive decline. Indeed, many studies show that computerized brain training designed to sharpen the mind can yield benefits that range from strengthening memory to boosting intelligence and reasoning skills. But, of course, the rapid ascension of these games—made possible by the ubiquity of portable electronic devices such as mobile phones—has also raised questions about how fully they live up to their claims.

Enter Dan Hurley, a science journalist and author of the recently published book Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power. After interviewing several hundred researchers and study participants and reviewing countless peer-reviewed trials published on the subject, Hurley reached a conclusion: “It is absolutely possible to move the needle on improving various kinds of cognitive abilities,” he says. Although four of the studies he…

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1 Comment

Sunday, May 25, 2014 12:54:25 AM | posted by Paul Velen
I facilitate a support group in residence for seniors and disabled adults in a supported housing facility in Riverside, CA;. I suspect this article will be of interest to group participants. It speaks to members' concerns and gives doable recommendations for reparative action.

Thank you so much.

Paul Velen, MS, LMFT