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Joystiq presents

Brain Training used to defeat dementia

According to a BBC report, Nintendo's hugely popular Brain Training titles are invading Japanese classrooms in an effort to help the older population get their minds in motion and running swiftly from encroaching dementia. How effective Dr. Kawashima's unnervingly polite floating head is at preventing or combating the condition (of which hallucination is a symptom) still hasn't been conclusively established, but for some people, keeping their minds active is enough.

After demonstrating how to turn on the Nintendo DS and how to insert a game cartridge, the teacher has his elderly students engage in several different activities, not all of which are limited to Brain Training's repertoire of challenges. A golf game is used to train hand-eye coordination which, thanks to the DS' intuitive control scheme, seems to be quite easy to grasp. "It's not difficult to learn how to play them," says Atsuo Umetsu, one of the teachers. "After all I learnt, so everyone can do it."  Though one of the students admits that she joined the class in order to better compete with her gamer sons, most are joining in the hopes of doing everything they can to avoid mental problems in a society where a large percentage of the population is older.

Dr. Takao Suzuki, an expert when it comes to elderly affairs, points out that "nobody wants to get dementia so even if there is a very small possibility that it might work, most elderly people will want to do something in order to prevent dementia." And it's not just Nintendo that's reaching out to an older generation -- Namco has set up a day-care center allowing older people to bash drums and clobber cartoon crocodiles to their heart's content. Is this the key to defeating dementia? We don't know, but it sure sounds like fun, doesn't it?

[Thanks Jon!]

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. "How effective Dr. Kawashima's unnervingly polite floating head is at preventing or combating the condition still hasn't been conclusively established"

It's not "floating head". He's "The Pocket Asian"!

Posted at 9:16PM on Jun 5th 2006 by Marc 0 stars

2. It's obvious we're going to be dominated by people over the age of 60 from now on. They want to have fun in their lives.

Posted at 7:58AM on Jun 6th 2006 by Fashion 0 stars

3. Hey, I've got an idea! Why don't we scare old people into thinking that maybe our game will help prevent dementia even though we have exactly zero proof that this is so! We sell games and if it doesn't work -- and no one credible believes it will -- the dementia will ensure that they don't remember that we knowingly sold them low-rent snake oil. It's win-win!

This is one of the most disgustingly cyncical things I've ever seen a company do. What's next for Big-N, selling the Wii to desperate cancer victims as a "possible" cure?

Posted at 9:32AM on Jun 6th 2006 by Myria 0 stars

4. Myria many of the comments about Brain Age preventing Dementia coem from Medical Associations after doing tests on patients playing the game. So take your crap somewhere else.

Posted at 8:02PM on Jun 6th 2006 by idioteraser 0 stars

5. Myria

What the hell do you think the words "TEST" mean?
geez, how do you think Medicine, or treatments are made?


Geez, lack of common sense at its finest

Posted at 3:55AM on Jun 7th 2006 by --MRED-- 0 stars

6. And besides

These "ELDERLY" Folks ALREADY KNOW, that the chance is minimal, and that it isn't proven, And in that article never once did i see the words "LAWLS ITS PROVEN SO U SHOULD BUY DIS GAEMZorS LLOLOLOLOLOLOL"

im pretty sure "CHOICE" is still invovled...

Posted at 4:01AM on Jun 7th 2006 by --MRED-- 0 stars

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