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BrainHQ Crushes Competition in First Review of Science Behind Brain Apps

Science Behind Brain Apps

The first systematic review of study evidence that commercially-available,
brain-training programs might help with healthy aging just published in
Neuropsychological Review. The reviewers found that BrainHQ from Posit Science
had by far the most and the highest quality studies.

The authors of this first systematic review conclude “current evidence supports
that at least some commercially available computerized brain training products
can assist in promoting healthy brain aging.”

The reviewers surveyed the brain training market and the academic literature to
categorize the quantity and quality of peer-reviewed studies showing effects of
brain training in healthy aging.

They looked at 18 commercially-available, brain-training programs, and found
that 11 had no clinical trials or empirical evidence for review.

The reviewers found seven companies had studies that were relevant, and met the
review criteria of being peer-reviewed clinical trials of computerized
exercises with formal cognitive outcome measures for healthy adults aged 50 and
older. This methodology resulted in 26 studies for review.

Of those 26 studies, 10 were trials of Posit Science exercises. Eight of those
10 studies were judged to be of the highest quality. Posit Science far outpaced
its nearest competitor, which had three studies of which only one was
considered high quality.

The reviewers wrote: “Multiple peer-reviewed articles evaluating Posit Science
programs have fulfilled the gold standard for clinical trials.”

Of the seven companies that the reviewers found had any relevant evidence from
trials, Lumosity was found to anchor the lower-end, with what the reviewers
described as one randomized controlled trial of “moderate quality.”

The reviewers noted that until five years ago there were relatively few studies
of brain-training programs. Even now, the lack of a systematic review has left
“clinicians with inadequate information from which to base recommendations for
their patients at risk of cognitive decline.”

However, with this review the authors conclude that the evidence behind a
majority of the programs evaluated supports “the notion that the human brain is
plastic in later life, and can benefit from specifically designed brain
training programs.”

“There’s been a lot of conflicting reports on whether or not brain training
works,” said Dr. Ralph Martins, who led the review team. “This systematic
review shows that some brain training has lots of evidence of efficacy, which
may surprise some health professionals. Personally, I was more surprised by the
amount of brain training on the market with no evidence at all.”

“This review performs an overdue public service by differentiating between what
has been shown to work and what has little or no evidence,” said Dr. Henry
Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science, which makes BrainHQ. “It's a strong response to
those who have said that the evidence for brain training is 'mixed' - what's
mixed is the scientific quality of different brain training programs, some of
which have strong evidence for efficacy and some of which have none.”

“This review marks a first step of treating brain training programs like we
treat new pharmaceuticals - carefully evaluating which ones work, and then
putting those to work to help people,” Dr. Mahncke concluded.

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