“Brain training” may not require high tech

The Star Tribune on 6-25-14 published an article that I found to be informative and thought provoking to mental health professionals, and it also could be a possibly helpful resources to pass on to people who might be interested in “brain health,” or who might need a nudge to make some behavioral changes.

The article summarizes some of the benefits of “brain training” games, but also notes that similar benefits can be optioned without having to purchase high tech tools. For example, ““Our findings suggest that if you want to keep your mind stronger as you get older, you can’t become a couch potato,” said George Rebok, professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of (a study of geriatric people who had some mental fitness training).”
And, “(A researcher’s” advice to patients? “I think it’s fine if you want to spend $200 on Lumosity or some other type of brain training,” he said. “But I think you can get the same benefits by being part of a Bible study or a book club or discussing current events with your family or reading and doing things that are actually more social than [playing] a computer game, which in some sense is socially isolating.” As for Lehmann, he’s simply added his digital brain games to his health regimen, which includes doing yoga, watching his diet and meeting regularly with friends. He’s not sure which activities are helping the most.”

The author also notes that the research on “brain training” games and programs is not conclusive, “Rebok said researchers were surprised by the longterm effects of brain training, adding that the results are promising. But he stopped short of saying the study is an endorsement for brain games on the market. “Some of these programs are created by well-respected scientists and have a good scientific base supporting them,” he said. “A lot of them don’t.”

FWIW, my take is that good comprehensive psychological services should probably include an assessment of the patient’s activity level and brain-stimulating activities, and helping patients to improve their self care in these areas.

The complete article is at:

http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/Olive/Tablet/StarTribune/SharedArticle.aspx?href=MST%2F2014%2F01%2F25&id=Ar00102


Richard Sethre, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist
www.mhconcierge.com

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