The Great Brain Training Debate

After storm, recovery, holidays and vacation, I’m back!  My apologies for not announcing the break at the start.

Erin Hoffman’s article in the new issue of The Escapist is a highly recommended read: Shark Bone or Snake Oil: Noah Falstein and the Great Brain Training Debate.

Noah is a well-known designer of well-loved games (Secret of Monkey Island), and is part of a new serious games startup called Quixit, which has an explicit goal of creating games that are not only fun, but have a demonstrable benefit on increasing and maintaining mental acuity.  In case that’s a yawner, consider the following stats and quote from the article.  Consider them from these three perspectives: medical significance, business opportunity, and deeper future game design.

4.5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, a number that has doubled since 1980 and is projected to reach 11.3-16 million by 2050. One in 10 Americans have a family member that suffers dementia; one in three knows someone who has the disease. It is referred to by medical professionals as “a demographic time bomb” and an escalating epidemic that the American health care infrastructure is not prepared to face.

if Quixit can, through methods that doctors agree assist in the prevention of cognitive atrophy, delay the onset of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association would agree that its contribution to the solution would be major; 50 percent of Alzheimer’s patients, according to its estimates, could avoid the disease entirely if symptoms could be delayed by five years.

Yes, the article is worth a read, and the health, business AND gaming implications of this are worth a lot of thought.

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4 thoughts on “The Great Brain Training Debate

  1. Indra says:

    I’m still sceptical to positive impact of using game as brain training tool. Of course using the correct game may affect brain alertness and ‘forcing’ it to do what it suppose to do. Thinking. However, I’ve seen that addiction takes over that benefit to eventually degrade the result at first place.

  2. theschwartz says:

    Thanks for the comment, Indra. I certainly agree research needs to be done both on the benefits and the hazards of gaming, and am just glad that research is actually being done. If you happen to have links, research, or other places we could find information and research about this, please do post them. Would be glad to review!

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the links. This is the best online resource i have found on brain exercise, a very high quality blog

    http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

  4. comments are somewhat hard to follow, but i like them….

    […]The Great Brain Training Debate « Got Schwartz?[…]…

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