Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, which are connections between brain cells, in response to learning and experiences. Brain training is done with the intention to improve neuroplasticity. There is opposing research regarding brain training, with some supporting its impact and others concluding, based on the same data, that training results in minimal effects.
A study done in 2013 found that young adults demonstrated better brain functions, such as improved memory and processing speeds. A more significant study pointed out that older folks who undertook consistent brain training were less likely to develop dementia and cognitive decline.
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Some of the top-performing brain training apps available
With more than 25 million downloads, Elevate has been voted Apple’s App of the Year (2014). Elevate aims to build communication and analytical skills with more than 40 games. You can measure performance with other players and work on customized training programs. The games are relatively more “serious” compared to most on this list. Elevate gives you a reading of performance in 5 key areas: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics. It’s a free install with premium features available for US$4.99 a month or US$39.99 a year. Available on iOS and Android.
One of the most popular brain games available, Lumosity was one of the first brain training apps that started the phenomenon. The fun and often addictive games are said to help a person’s cognitive function more than through solving crosswords. Created with the help of more than 100 researchers from around the world, Lumosity has a user base of more than 85 million and helps a person in improving their memory, focus, and problem-solving. When you complete a task, you are shown results compared to others in your age group. The 50 games that come in Lumosity cost US$11.99 per month or US$59.99 for 1 year.
One of the most advanced brain training apps available in the market now is CogniFit. Researchers from the University of Washington and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have apparently validated the tools used in the games. Also note that healthcare professionals can use the tools available in the game to assess the cognitive functions of real-life patients. You can compare performances with other players. There are minigames that test more than 20 cognitive abilities like hand-eye coordination and planning. Free to download, CogniFit costs almost US$20 a month, or US$190 a year.
Eidetic is known as a memory enhancer app. This is especially useful in today’s hectic circumstances. It does more than help you remember where you placed the keys to recollect important phone numbers, credit card details, and passwords. Now, that’s important. Passwords are ubiquitous nowadays for access to information, and you need a good memory to keep a record of all the complex passwords. Eidetic notifies you when it’s time to take a test and analyses how long you can retain critical info. Eidetic — Spaced Repetition comes in 3 intensity levels and is free to download.
Besides the apps given above, there are Peak; Geist; Not The Hole Story, which comes with exclusive riddles; ReliefLink for suicide prevention; Happify, which aims to make and keep you happy; and Personal Zen, which relieves anxiety.
Keep in mind that there are other offline brain training options for improving brain functions that you could try out, including playing Go or chess, qigong, music, and calligraphy.
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