Brain fitness is a controversial topic. Can you really prevent or slow memory loss by "training your brain?" Do improved scores on brain fitness programs translate to improved functionality in everyday life?
There's not enough evidence to answer these questions. But scientists will have some data to analyze when the results of Brain Test Britain are announced next March. The study aims to test whether a specific program of brain training can improve performance on unrelated tests of brain function.
The study is being conducted online, so anyone can participate. I signed up, but have had a hard time finding the 10 minutes, three times per week that is required. My inbox is full of messages like this one: "You haven't done a Brain Test Britain training session for ages. This is your last reminder!"
Each 10 minute session has three exercises, which require you to look up information online (the length of a particular river, for example) and then put the information you find in order from highest to lowest. The first few sessions were easy for me, but now they've gotten a bit "tricky." Today, the program timed out as I was trying to compare the number of months the Spanish Civil War lasted to the number of months it takes the average London cabbie to learn "The Knowledge." A low score for me today!
But my score isn't the point - it's whether participants as a group do better on the brain function tests after the six week training period.
You can sign up to take part in this study on the Brain Test Britain home page.