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What to look for in worthwhile brain-training apps


  • Tech News
  • Saturday, 13 Jan 2018

Puzzle apps like Fixpoint, in which players have to use logic to fight the spread of germs in a body, often describe themselves as helpful for training mental skills. — Fixpoint/dpa

Puzzle apps like Fixpoint, in which players have to use logic to fight the spread of germs in a body, often describe themselves as helpful for training mental skills. — Fixpoint/dpa

Apple's App Store and Google's Playstore are full of apps that are designed to keep the brain busy. But figuring out which are worthwhile and which are junk can be tricky, explains Urs-Vito Albrecht of the Hanover Medical School in Germany.

Albrecht, who studies the health benefits of apps, recommends searching online for the app creator or publisher to find out if the creator has written a lot on the subject.

He recommends users be sceptical if the app guarantees quick success or has a high price tag. "When it comes to health apps, you cannot determine the quality of the app by looking at the price tag," Albrecht explains.

If the app needs to be purchased, the makers of the app usually work directly with the store operator – meaning they have no reason to store a user's personal data.

But if the app creator is asking for that information, there should be a reason why they need it. Looking at the privacy statement might offer some clarifications. "If there is no explanation, I wouldn't even use the app," Albrecht says.

The app's capabilities are entirely dependent on the user's needs: Are they wanting to train logical thinking or memory?

Many apps offer varying methods of training, but people respond uniquely to the different approaches, Albrecht says. The best thing to do is to try out the app for yourself. — dpa

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