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In recent years the popularity of digital brain training devices has rocketed.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are affecting more and more people each year. Accordingly there is increasing demand for better awareness and scientific understanding of the causes and preventatives for these terrible degenerative diseases.

There is plenty of evidence to support the claim that you can do things to change your brain, but how do you know which ones are worth their salt? Here are 5 top tips for getting the right training for you…

  1. Every product, or at least the ones that are worth looking into, will involve some clinical trials beforehand. When looking at the results of these you need to be sure that they include the magic 3: transfer effects, a control group and randomised samples.
  2. The internet is full of savvy reviews on products these days, so take the time to scan a few of and it will give you a much better idea of what you’re buying into before putting your money where your mind is. Furthermore results aren’t everything-check to see if people actually enjoyed using the product.  If it is boring and monotonous you won’t find yourself coming back to it each day, no matter how scientifically sound the findings are.
  3. There are programmes available which offer an adaptive training approach, the idea being that the nature of the training adjusts in accordance with your needs and ability. As such it is providing your brain with new challenges all the time- something which makes it much more valuable.
  4. Remember that there are alternatives to the many sophisticated and often expensive digital dongles out there. Straightforward problem-solving games like Sudoku and crosswords can work just as effectively.

But whether the task you are setting yourself is computer based or plain old pen and paper, a great way of training your brain to work faster is by timing yourself. Studies have found that programmes which employ a timed approach work much more effectively.

Just like the exercise that you do for physical fitness, training your brain regularly is important. Without a doubt 10 minutes a day is more valuable than slogging at it for an hour on a Sunday afternoon.

Now there’s nothing else for it but to go out there and start getting those neurons firing! Oh and don’t forget…have fun!

Laura O’Sullivan works as a Literacy Coach for Oxford Learning Solutions, creators of the Easyread System. Easyread helps struggling children improve their reading through short, daily online lessons for dyslexia.