On the Agenda - Brain training is of little benefit

In a nutshell Brain training games do not improve your 'brain power', according to a study devised by the BBC. The study, published in Nature, found that using the games does not improve a person's reasoning, memory, planning or visual spatial abilities.

Brain training: little benefit
Brain training: little benefit

- What was the method used?

In total, 11,430 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 60 participated, making it the largest scientific study of computer-based brain training. Participants were asked to train for at least ten minutes a day, three times a week for a minimum of six weeks.

- What was the conclusion?

The experiment showed that six weeks of practising a specific set of brain-training games made participants better at playing those specific games, but did not noticeably improve their brain power in a way that could be transferred to other everyday thinking tasks. The test was developed by the Medical Research Council and the Alzheimer's Society, in collaboration with the BBC's mass participation experiments website, Lab UK.

- PR support

The BBC press office sent a release to other media outlets. The Alzheimer's Society also provided PR support alongside the press team at the Medical Research Council.

- Media coverage

The results were broadcast in a one-hour special Can You Train Your Brain? A Bang Goes The Theory Special. The BBC also discussed the story on its Breakfast News programme and on its news website. The Guardian, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror also covered the story on their websites.

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