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Debunking 10 Brain Fitness and Brain Training Myths during Brain Awareness Week 2013

Posted Mar 11 2013 9:53am

Brain ThinkerIn honor of Brain Awareness Week 2013 , which starts today, let’s debunk ten myths about brain fitness and brain training that remain surprisingly popular.

Top 10 brain fitness and brain training myths, debunked:

Myth 1. Genes deter­mine the fate of our brains.
Fact: Life­long brain plas­tic­ity means that our lifestyles and behaviors play a significant role in how our brains (and therefore our minds) phys­i­cally evolve.

Myth 2. We are what we eat.
Fact: We are what we do, think, and feel, more than what we eat.

Myth 3. Med­ica­tion is the main hope for cog­ni­tive health and enhance­ment.
Fact: Non-invasive inter­ven­tions can have com­pa­ra­ble and more durable benefits, and are also free of side effects.

Myth 4. There’s nothing we can do to beat Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
Fact: While nothing has been shown to prevent the pathology of Alzheimer ’s disease, there is abundant research showing we can delay the onset of symptoms for years –a very meaningful outcome which is often overlooked.

Myth 5. There is only one “it” in “Use it or Lose it”.
Fact: The brain is com­posed of a num­ber of neural circuits supporting a variety of cognitive, emotional, and executive functions. Using or exercising just one (like “memory”) is unlikely to be of much help.

Myth 6. Brain training can help reverse your brain age 10, 20, or 30 years.
Fact: “Brain age” is a fic­tion. Some brain functions tend to improve, and some decline, as we get older. And there is considerable variability across individuals, which only grows as people get older.

Myth 7. Brain training doesn’t work.
Fact: Brain training, when it meets certain conditions, has been shown to improve brain functions in ways that enhance real-world outcomes.

Myth 8. Brain training is primarily about videogames.
Fact: Real, evidence-based brain training includes some forms of med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive ther­apy, cog­ni­tive training, and biofeedback. Interactive media such as videogames can make those interventions more engaging and scalable, but it is important to distinguish the means from the end, as obviously not all videogames are the same.

Myth 9. Heart health is brain health.
Fact: While heart health contributes significantly to brain health, and vice versa, the heart and the brain are each crucial organs with their own set of functions and preventive and therapeutic interventions. What we need now is for brain health to advance in a decade as much as cardiovascular health has advanced over the last several decades. 

Myth 10. As long as my brain is working fine, why should I even pay attention to it?
Fact: For the same reasons you should add gas to your car and change the oil regularly – so that it works better and performs longer.

Pic source: BigStockPhoto .

These insights come from the 2012 SharpBrains Virtual Summit, a gathering of close to 200 top scientists, innovators and practitioners advancing the brain health field which took place in June 2012.

–> You can now  ORDER A $15 PASS  to gain two-month log-in access to all online recordings from the 2012 SharpBrains Summit (regular price is $295). Each blue dot in the map below rep­re­sents one of the 227 peo­ple reg­is­tered so far to watch the lat­est on neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and brain health, rep­re­sent­ing over 25 coun­tries.


We encour­age par­tic­i­pants to dis­cuss impres­sions via:

Neuroplasticity and Brain Health Talks

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