No doubt many of you remember Nintendo's popular Brain Age series on the Nintendo DS, technically the first in its 'Touch! Generations' line of games. The title sold itself on the concept of doing simple cognitive tasks and games in order to slow mental decline and keep cognitive performance. Whether or not this was actually scientifically backed was always something of a blurry area, but it seems that this has now been cleared up.
Some of you may have heard of Lumosity, a site run by Lumos Labs that bears plenty of similarities to Brain Age. Subscribing to the service would allow members to play through various mental games in order to keep mental health at a sufficient level. As it would turn out, Lumos Labs recently had to pay a $2 million settlement to the Federal Trade Commision over false advertising and misleading its consumers. Jessica Rich - director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection - had this to say on the matter:
Lumosity preyed on consumers' fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer's disease, but Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.
Nintendo always stopped short of claiming that its Brain Age series was scientifically proven and it appears that this was the right move. While the games are no doubt entertaining and require different thought processes than your average video game, they do not actually improve mental performance.
What do you think? Did you feel like you gained any benefits from playing Brain Age? Share your thoughts in the comments below.