People buying Nintendo DS consoles to give their grey matter a workout with brain training games are wasting their money, a new study shows.
Titles such as Brain Training, More Brain Training and Big Brain Academy, which cost $50 on top of the $200 DS handheld, are no better than a pen and paper at stimulating memory and improving brain power, a study of 10-year-old children by the University of Rennes in France has found.
Nintendo claims in its advertising for the games - which in Britain feature Nicole Kidman - that they "stimulate your brain and give it the workout it needs" to improve blood flow and "practical intelligence".
It also claims the games can improve memory and keep your mind young, reinforced by the fact that players are given a "brain age" when completing the tests, which lowers as performance improves.
In Australia, Nintendo furthered the perception that the games boost memory by announcing it would donate $1 to Alzheimer's Australia for every copy of Brain Training sold.
Market watcher GfK said Brain Training was the seventh best-selling console game in Australia last year, with more than 140,000 units sold.
But the study of 67 10-year-olds found that homework, reading, playing puzzles such as Sudoku and board games such as Scrabble were just as good as, if not better than, the brain training games.