Brain Balance

Brain Balance

Several people have emailed me about the original article in Science Based MEdicine that takes aim at "Brain Balance" and other computer based brain training programs. Well, SBM has finally started to allow these direct links, so here (above) is the article. I regret to inform you that there really is very little scientific proof that these easy and fun computer games (or even most of their big brother medical office versions you read about at drugs stores or on the web) have any effect at all on ADHD. Reading the literature that seems to go for "neuro-therapy" and biofeedback as well. Overall, there just isn't any evidence that these games and exercises have any real life effects for an individual with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). They teach little skills, particular skills, but there just isn't any real proof these translate into better living for anyone with ADHD.

One area of intervention that has shown some scientific promise is short-term or active memory. Holding something, like a set of numbers, in your hear for a moment, manipulating them in some way and expressing them again. Here, with training, and this includes computerized training (somewhat costly however, usually %1,500+ for 10-15 sessions!) we can make improvements. But there are also simple training books which can do the same thing, but not with as much fun, noises or bright lights. Improving you short term, active memory isn't a minor skill, it makes many of the other issues that people with ADHD suffer from easier. So, it might be a good idea IF active memory is your problem. Many people swear it is, but after testing find out that it's not actually a memory issue, but one of focus, attention and concentration. For that medical interventions are often best.

Back to the topic of the day, I suggest anyone who is considering spending time and money on computer programs or computerized training read the above article carefully, and then maybe follow it up with reading more by the same authors. It could save you a lot of money.

Oh, what does research say helps the most with improving our overall cognitive abilities, especially as we grow older? Hold on: Exercise, moderate, simple, not too difficult, exercise as you get older. Talk to your doctor.

For more information on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parenting, child behaviour, academic problems and relationship issues, please feel free to visit my website at I also have specific information on ADHD available at and information on my counselling and assessment services can be found at either the British Columbia Psychological Association (click here), Psychology Today (click here) or my AAMFT Family Therapist website (Click here). I am a registered Psychologist here in British Columbia, along with being a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and teacher of special education. There is also some specific information on treatment for aggression and anger in children on my webpage called "The Angry Child," (Click here)

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Jim Roche
Registered Psychologist
Offices in Burnaby and Vancouver, British Columbia