Games for Life: Paving the Way for Brain Training
The subject of brain training is undoubtedly one of the hottest topics in modern science. The idea that the brain can be trained like a muscle in our body is a fascinating one and it is an idea that could potentially revolutionize the future of brain science and health care.
Since the first studies on brain training began emerging, scientists within the field have called upon game developers and researchers to cooperate in creating a scientifically sound brain training game. This milestone for the science has now been reached, as Brain+ has taken up the challenge in cooperation with scientists from the University of Copenhagen. This means that a brain training program is currently being developed by a genuine game developer based on simultaneous research from professional neuroscientists. We call this collaborative venture Games for Life.
Seeking the Scientific Foundation for Brain Training
Recent scientific studies on the effect of brain training, particularly through video games, have had varied outcomes to say the least.
The reason for the many contradictory outcomes can be attributed to the difficulty and sheer cost of conducting a scientific study on brain training. One of the biggest problems is that there is no common definition as to how ‘brain power’ should be measured. This is because the idea of the brain being able to improve is relatively new, meaning that all the standardized tests are designed to measure deterioration in the brain and not improvement. As such, test results may vary largely depending on the success criteria for each individual study.
In addition, a brain training study will likely have to go on for at least a few months and will be time-consuming every single day of the study for both test subjects and the researchers themselves. All these factors amount to the simple conclusion that conducting a brain training study is very expensive and very heavy on resources.
Subsequently, most scientific studies on brain training through video games have been focused largely on short bursts of training to save time and resources. For that reason, there is plenty of data to suggest that too little brain training will result in no valuable improvement. However, this neither proves nor disproves much about brain training in its entirety.
This brings us to Brain+ and our vision.
The Brain+ Vision
From the very beginning, before the brain training app was even developed, Brain+ has made it a top priority to solidify the effect of brain training programs and to adjust its product development based on concrete scientific evidence. Because of the many contradictory studies on brain training, it quickly became clear that the only way to certify exactly how the app should be shaped and formed was to somehow conduct an entire study based solely on the Brain+ app.
For that reason, Brain+ have contacted neuroscientists from the Department of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen and have proposed a collaboration. It has been decided that Brain+ will provide a customized application for use in their study and that in return, the scientists will make the results readily available for Brain+ to base our product development on. This provides a unique opportunity for Brain+ and a unique experience for you. For the first time ever, we are able to develop and adjust your brain training experience based on a constant stream of the very latest scientific results. Because the research uses the Brain+ app, we will receive direct feedback on how our brain training program can become even more effective literally as the scientific project progresses.
Two scientists are in charge of the project, Simon Nielsen and Inge Wilms, both Ph.D. and both post.docs at the University of Copenhagen. The current Games for Life study involves 100 test participants aged 60 to 75 who have agreed to train 30 minutes a day for two months using the Brain+ brain training games. The participants will be measured on their cognitive ability before the study commences and will subsequently be measured immediately after the two-month training period as well as three months after the training period has ended. The latter test is performed in order to measure how durable any cognitive improvements might be.
While Brain+ expects to develop our business and products based on the results of the project, the scientists hope that the study can provide technical insight into what sort of brain training is most effective. In addition, the scientists hope to provide an indication on the accuracy of current scientific models for how the brain works. “If we can measure changes in, for example, visual short-term memory, then those findings will strengthen our understanding of how that particular functionality actually works and perhaps is influenced” says Inge Wilms.
Furthermore, it is no coincidence that the test subjects all are above the age of 60. First of all, a recent study from the United States involving 80-year-olds resulted in significant improvements which indicated that seniors may see improvement in brain functionalities slightly quicker than younger individuals. However, as brain training aims to improve the brain power of people of all ages, this was not the decisive factor. Instead, the neuroscientists are hoping to use this unique occasion of having 100 brain-injury-free 60-year-olds to gather data on how a healthy 60-year-old brain performs. This data will be used to better detect and treat brain injuries for people at around this age. As such, Brain+ actually enables scientific projects at the University of Copenhagen in our endeavour to bring you the best possible brain training.
In addition to this, Brain+ hopes that the brain training app can become usable as a diagnostics tool. While this is mostly a long-term plan, the structure of the brain training app makes it possible to map which parts of the brain are performing and which are not. This feature was developed primarily for healthy people to measure their progress on brain training, but it could be even more valuable for measuring deficiencies caused by a brain injury. Such a tool would be extremely helpful for neurologists, as individual brain injuries very rarely have the same impact on the brain.
It’s not just about brain training
For us at Brain+, Games for Life is all about you and your potential. Brain training benefits everyone and we want to bring you an unrivaled training experience based on scientific evidence, so you can see the results and benefits from brain training that you want and expect.
We cannot wait to see where Games for Life will guide us next – and we sure hope to see you there as well.