“Brain Games: Do They Work to Improve Memory ?”

Loss of our memory is a frightening possibility as we get older.  Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are increasing at an alarming rate.  About 5.3 million Americans currently have AD and a new case is diagnosed every 70 seconds.  In 1906, German physician, Alois Alzheimer identified this debilitating dementia, which will claim one in 10 baby boomers, create family nightmares and drain taxpayer coffers.  This results in annual costs of $148 billion and this is expected to sky rocket with the 70+ million baby boomer generation.  Women, African-Americans and Hispanics are at an increased risk, as are those with diabetes and heart disease.  Fear of these dreaded diseases has created a $2 billion per year industry and the internet is abuzz with advertisements claiming to improve your brain function.  But, is this hype or someone just trying to get your hard earned money?  A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society is entitled, “Why Cognitive Training and Brain Games Will Not Prevent or Forestall Dementia.”  The creators of on-line brain games have made many people believe that cognitive training will prevent or forestall dementia and this article describes the fallacy of that premise, because there is no reasonable theory or empirical evidence to support it. Further, leading experts in the field of neuroscience have reacted strongly against these efforts to mislead the public.  As understanding of neuroscience has grown, new diseases have been associated with dementia, such as human immunodeficiency virus infection and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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