It's nice to hear this week that a large scale study has supported the use of brain training in older adults. Over 7000 individuals aged over 50 took part in the study led by researchers at King's College London. Non of these people had any issues with memory or cognition. The researchers found that after only modest levels of training, those who played "brain training" games for reasoning and problem-solving kept their broader cognitive skills better than those who did not.
We were pleased to see the study because it encourages awareness and interest in the various flavours of "brain training". It's clear to us that confusion exists over the approaches and methods used by the various systems.
RehaCom has always been focused as a tool for the health care professional to use with individuals dealing with cognition issues. Each of the training packages is designed to address specific types of deficits and automatically adapt the task to the user's performance. When used in this way, the therapist can blend the appropriate overall strategy for best results. RehaCom is not a replacement for a therapist but is a very powerful enabler of cognitive rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation generally involves recovering as much ability as possible and using compensation approaches when retraining seems to have peaked. It is an art as much as a science at this stage. RehaCom has been developed and used in clinical practice over many years and of course we have feelings for how often specific training programmes should be used and much of this is supported by research.
Of course, as with any research, there are always further questions to answer. With research methods we can only gain evidence to support something works in particular circumstances - it is never possible to have some kind of universal proof that covers all people in all circumstances.
In recent years there has been a lot of commercial interest and investment in brain training with widely different views on the efficacy of these various offerings. I don't expect clarity any time soon. It is extremely hard to unpick all the various influences and design a study that would be practical and even capable of attracting funding. At the end of it all there would still be strong advocates for training and equally strong views against it.
If we take a look at the history of physical training it has taken many twists and turns over the years and today there are still controversies about who should train and how. Why would brain training be any different? Sometimes people think that technology is everything. Actually it's better to think of the technology as a tool which we can use to make a process much more efficient and effective.