No Evidence that “Brain-Training” Games Work to Improve Concentration or Memory

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A number of the country’s top scientists have concluded in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest that “brain-training” programs like Lumosity have not been shown to work.  They say in their paper that “there does not yet appear to be sufficient evidence to justify the claim that brain training is an effective tool for enhancing real-world cognition.”  You may remember the Federal Trade Commission punishing brain training company Lumosity with a fine of nearly $2 million dollars for false claims about the effectiveness of their product and a failure to provide supporting evidence.

The take away of the paper is that while these sorts of online games and programs can help you improve at the games themselves, this has not been shown to translate to real world improvement.  While it is true that there are some examples “brain-training” success stories like driving simulators helping with actual driving, this is a far cry from what has been promised from a number of these training programs.  The public should be wary of any sort of program that does not provide peer-reviewed evidence for their product.

A Begginer’s Guide to Nootropics

Reddit has you covered on nootropics
Reddit has you covered on nootropics

As an inventor of a “Nootropic Stack” in chewing gum form aka Think Gum, I get many question like “What is a nootropic?” and “what do I need to know about taking nootropics?” and even the occasional “Will nootropics make me a genius?”.  Instead of answering these questions partially on the blog, I thought I would call attention the nootropic subreddit and the associated Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics.  If you can’t find the answer to your nootropic questions on the subreddit, just ask and a happy redditor should help you out in hours.

Is Biohacking the Next Big Thing?

Is biohacking your brain with nootropics like Think Gum the next big trend?
Is biohacking your brain with nootropics like Think Gum the next big trend?

There is an interesting piece on smart drugs and biohacking in CNN Money.  The point of the article is that there is intense pressure in Silicon Valley to succeed and entrepreneurs are turning to Smart Drugs better known as nootropics like coffee, pills and even Think Gum.  I’ve been in Silicon Valley for over 10 years now at the top institutions in the country earning degrees and doing the entrepreneur thing and I agree it is a growing trend.  Not a large trend yet, but people are craving ways to maximize their brain power and are turning to smart drugs like Think Gum.  CNN says that taking smart drugs is part of the larger trend of biohacking or more clearly put, people want to optimize how their minds and bodies work.  This is nothing new.  People have desired fit bodies and more intelligence for centuries.  What has changed is there are more and more products offering to help achieve these biological goals.  When most people think of biohacking, they are thinking of genetic engineering or electrical devices like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, I suppose that smart drugs count too.

While I certainly wouldn’t recommend popping hundreds of pills a day like Dave Asprey.  There is certainly data to support the use of some brain enhancing ingredients and technologies.  Nootropics are drugs and like all drugs they can have side effects.  The ingredients in Think Gum were specifically chosen because they deliver the maximum benefits and based on published peer-reviewed research are overwhelmingly safe.  In fact we’ve sold over 2,000,000 pieces of gum without incident.  Not only this, but many new ingredients have no data to support they work.  Think Gum on the other hand has been extensively tested and in a 2011 study was shown to increase memory by over 25%.

I hope the biohacking and nootropic trends continue.  I’d love to make a Think Gum Extra Strength Product at some point if we have safe proven ingredients that deliver.

“Smart Drug” Modafinil Slows Reaction Time in Cognitive Test

Provigil Does NOT Improve Cognitive Performance
Attention Late Night Crammers: Provigil Does NOT Improve Cognitive Performance

Modfinil, a drug used by narcoleptics, is sometimes used by college students as a study aid.  While the drug certainly helps prevent drowsiness, it does not appear to boost cognitive performance.  In fact, a study just published in PLOS ONE showed that health volunteers who completed a sentence completion test had a similar self-reported mood and equal number of errors as the control group.  Unexpectedly, the modafinil group was significantly slower than that control group to complete the test.  The lead researcher commented “Our research showed that when a task required instant reactions the drug just increased reaction times with no improvement to cognitive performance.”

This research is in contrast to a study published in the Journal of Appetite on Think Gum® that demonstrated that Think Gum® can be used to improve aspects of memory.  In this study,  students who chewed Think Gum® performed significantly better in multiple types of word recall tests.  The magnitude of memory improvement was dramatic.  Students in the Think Gum® group remembered over 25% more than either control group.  Additionally, those students in the Think Gum® group felt significantly more alert, felt that they could better concentrate and felt they had enhanced performance as compared to the other groups.

While Provigil (Modafinil) might help you stay awake, it certainly won’t help you do better work.  So although Modafinil may be useful to keep you awake during your all night study session, it isn’t such a great idea to take it during your math test when both time and accuracy count.  For exams where answers matter, you will want to buy some Think Gum.

Peer-Reviewed Study Shows Think Gum Improves Memory by Over 25%

We have BIG news to report today.  As some people may know, over the past 2 years we at Think Gum LLC have been conducting a study to determine if Think Gum® really works and, if so, how well it can improve memory.

The study was just published in the peer reviewed Journal of Appetite and demonstrates that Think Gum® can be used to improve aspects of memory.  In the study, 62 students chewed either no chewing gum, regular bubble gum or Think Gum® during a series of paper-based and online tests used to measure concentration and memory.  For example, one test asked the chewers to memorize a list of 15 random words.  After taking the tests, students were asked to rate their alertness, concentration and performance.  The following day the same students chewed no chewing gum, regular bubble gum or Think Gum® and completed additional follow-up memory tests to measure long-term memory.

The students who chewed Think Gum® performed significantly better in the memory tests.  The magnitude of memory improvement was dramatic.  On average, the students in the Think Gum® group remembered over 25% more than those students who chewed regular chewing gum.  Additionally, those students in the Think Gum® group felt significantly more alert, felt that they could better concentrate and felt enhanced performance as compared to the other groups.

This study suggests that Think Gum® “would also improve information recall in real-world situations, such as during standardized testing, and would therefore be a beneficial study aid.”

The full study can be read online or in the Journal of Appetite:

Davidson, M. G. Herbal-caffeinated chewing gum, but not bubble gum, improves aspects of memory. Appetite (2011), doi:10.1016/j.appet.2011.04.019

We are thrilled by the results of this study and want to tell the world about it!  If you would like more information about the study or want a quote or interview please send an e-mail to Press@ThinkGum.com