Celebrities unmasked for inaccurate claims of brain training benefits in advertising campaign

Celebrities have been telling ‘porkies’ about a brain training product claims a recent study.

The Sense About Science (SAS) annual review of advertisements about scientific products said Nicole Kidman’s endorsement of Doctor Kawashima’s Brain Training on Nintendo DS package was flawed. Kidman said, in a TV advert, “I have quickly found that training my brain [with Dr Kawashima’s game] is a great way to keep my mind feeling young.”

Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart also backed the game: “Getting my brain age down to 33 has become a fascinating and stimulating way to relax.” He’s 67.

But University of Birmingham cognitive neuroscientist Dr Jason Braithwaite said: “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.”

Other celebrities who have backed Brain Training include Zoe Ball, Fern Britton and Julie Walters.

SAS said it sent out a leaflet last year to celebrities who endorsed products telling them “before making scientific claims check your facts – all it takes is a phone call”. It is a charitable organisation which points out inaccuracies in claims about scientific and medical products.

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