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.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.