Mind games: do they work?
James Butcher investigates whether programs that claim to improve cognitive function, could help elderly users
For millions of people who are approaching old age, developing dementia, particularly if there is a family history of the disease, is a frightening prospect. A government report highlighted that the number of people in England with dementia is set to rise by 30% over the next 15 years. Many older people are asking their doctors for advice on how to slow memory loss, as well as searching the internet for preventive strategies. As a result, over the past two years, the “grey gamer” has become a powerful market force and computer games like Nintendo's Brain Age, which claim to improve users' cognitive performance with repeated use, have sold tens of millions of units.
Celebrity endorsements have been a major part of the marketing campaigns, with stars such as actress Nicole Kidman and quiz show host Chris Tarrant appearing in television adverts to promote Nintendo's brain training programs. But the