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Brain training games don't train your brain

A new study has shown that brain training games do little to exercise the grey matter.

Millions of people who have been prodding away at their Nintendo DS portable consoles, smug in the knowledge that they are giving their brains a proper work-out, might have to rethink how they are going to stop the contents of their skulls turning into mush.

If you've ever been on the end of a withering look from a middle-aged lady who thinks she's better than you because she is 'working' on Big Brain Academy while you are noisily 'playing' with some worthless game where large-breasted ladies in not much clothing chop up mutant dinosaurs with giant chain saws, then you can rest safe in the knowledge that you are probably doing yourself as much good as she is.

The experiment, which was conducted by that august scientific institution the BBC (OK, the study was led by Cambridge boffin and owner of a large and very juicy brain, Dr Richard Owen) saw more than 11,000 people using the games for six weeks as part of the broadcaster's annoyingly upbeat science slot Bang Goes the Theory.

The participants were subjected to a barrage of cognitive test before and after the experiment but the study found that they showed no improvement when compared to a control group which just buggered about on the Internet.

Clive Ballard, director of Alzheimer’s Society, told the BBC, "This evidence could change the way we look at brain training games and shows staying active, by taking a walk for example, is a better use of our time."

Nintendo, which has flogged the lion's share of the 100 million games sold to date, said "Nintendo does not make any claims that Brain Training or More Brain Training are scientifically proven to improve cognitive function."