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Neuroethics in Practice$
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Anjan Chatterjee and Martha J. Farah

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195389784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389784.001.0001

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Brain Training

Brain Training

Chapter:
(p.57) 5 Brain Training
Source:
Neuroethics in Practice
Author(s):

Breehan Chancellor

Anjan Chatterjee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389784.003.0005

This chapter evaluates the science and business of brain training: programs intended to bolster brain performance in the face of oncoming Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairment. On the one hand, brain training programs can be a positive force for both patients and neuroscientists, as the games and treatments increasingly employ new neuroscience research and have the potential to funnel money back into commercial neuroscience. On the other hand, there is reason for concern about this burgeoning business. Industry and commercial gain often compromise scientific and clinical standards, and brain training programs are certainly susceptible to these adverse effects, especially when marketers promise results that studies cannot yet deliver. There is little oversight governing non-pharmaceutical health-care products in the marketplace, and as a result, rigorous scrutiny is not always enforced. To complicate matters, most research reports on the effectiveness of brain training programs are sponsored by the companies involved. This chapter examines those studies, the biases behind them, and the marketing tools used to circumvent lack of scientific support, all in an effort to offer a fair review of the often exaggerated claims and promises behind these programs and to counsel caution to vulnerable patients lured by the hope of neuroscientific progress.

Keywords:   brain training, program, cognitive decline, memory training, neuroscience, industry, marketing, software, games, brain branding

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