This week, a friend brought to my attention an article from Tuesday’s WSJ called “A Speed-Training Brain Exercise Puts off Dementia”. With so many remedies out claiming to slow dementia in older adults, it’s hard to weed out which are useful. I think it’s great that people are taking the initiative on their own brain health, and because I use a similar sort of video game in my office to help assess brain health, I decided to look into the new game.
The article data looked good at first blush, promising enough that, as a professional, I wanted to read the actual journal article. In this, I saw “the data is considered preliminary because it hasn’t yet been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.” Shocked, this made me stop and consider waiting for the research to emerge. However, I decided to try the game anyway.
To play the game, you must pay $14 a month and login on www.brainhq.com. I logged in and started off with “Double Decision” in the “Attention” section. I was frustrated at first because the screen kept freezing. I wanted to give up. Then, Evan in the office suggested switching browsers. It worked! Now on Chrome, I was off and rolling. The game was set in a desert scene and required me to look and try to remember each automobile and speed sign that appeared on the horizon. I finished only earning three out of five stars set at a baseline speed. To be honest, I was disappointed. So I played again, this time feeling worse because I analyzed my performance as I went along. But lo and behold, I improved my speed by 45 milliseconds and had now earned four stars! Luckily my inner critic didn’t slow me down.
In the end, the game was easy to play and gave instant feedback about your improvement so I would play it again and recommend it to others. However, I would like to keep updated on when the research comes out to see if it does help slow the effects of dementia. Check out www.brainhq.com and let me know what you think about this new game!