Nicole Kidman (ex-BMX Bandit
) and Patrick Stewart (ex-Star Trek
) have been slammed by an organisation called 'Sense About Science' for their claims that Nintendo's Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training
improves your cognitive faculties.
The charitable organisation, which states its aims as "promoting good science and evidence in public debates", has looked into various scientific claims made by celebrities during 2007 and consulted experts to put the assertions to the proof.
Ms Kidman (ex-Young Talent Time
), who has fronted ads for Nintendo's More Brain Training
, has gone on the record about Nintendo's Dr. Kawashima
products to say "I've quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind feeling young".
Well, it might feel
young, but it sounds like Nicole might have been kidding herself. Dr Jason Braithwaite, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Birmingham, says, "There is no conclusive evidence showing that the continued use of these devices is linked to any measurable and general improvements in cognition.
"While practice at any task should lead to some form of improvement for that specific task, it is not clear that this improvement reflects anything other than a basic learned process for that specific task."
Gods but scientists can take the fun out of anything can't they? What with their wanting testing and proof and peer reviews and more proof!
Patrick Stewart (ex-Jackanory
) didn't come off quite so badly, having just told The Sun
'newspaper' that "getting my Brain Age down to 33 has become a fascinating and stimulating way to relax." Phew! After all a 'Brain Age' is provable science isn't it? After all Albert Einstein's 33 year-old brain was exactly the same as George W Bush's, right? Right?
Other celebrities who have endorsed Brain Training
include Julie Walters, Phillip Schofield, Fern Britton, Zoe Ball and Johnny Ball.
Other celebrities corrected by 'Sense About Science' for misinforming of the public include Gwyneth Paltrow for her claims about the cancer-preventing properties of 'biological' foods (but not for claims that Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
SPOnG, cynical bastards that we are, took a poke around Sense About Science's website to find out just what the organisation's agenda is. Having seen populist science writer Simon Singh on the board of trustees, and Richard Ayre, former head of BBC News, on the advisory board, however, we're reassured that these guys want nothing more than to promote truth and good research. If that involves taking on vapid celebrities, SPOnG says so be it!
Despite the claims put into the mouths of well-paid celebs regarding Brain Training
might have had more validity coming from people who actually know what they're talking about, SPOnG's really not too worried about the games' sales taking a hit.
The original Brain Training
kept popping in and out of the Top 10 in the Charts right through 2007. If you don't believe us, check out the number of Charts news stories under related editorial on SPOnG's dedicated game page
Frankly, SPOnG sees this whole thing as evolution taking its course. If you want to believe that Nicole Kidman and Patrick Stewart are authorities on neuroscience, then you deserve everything you get - and that'll be another series of Big Brother
. However, if you take the advertising with the truckfulls of salt that all advertising should be taken with, and simply want something more constructive than imagining babies
to do with your DS, then we applaud you.