CogniFit

CogniFit is a training application for adults and the geriatric population to enhance cognitive skills via training sessions that you can choose or that are chosen by the program. The program offers performance feedback in order to monitor progress in the form of graphs and progress bars. It targets cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, memory, response time, etc via games and other retraining activities.
My (short) trial went like this After registering my email online and filling in details like my birthdate, the program asked me to take an initial assessment and discover how my cognitive skills stack up against others. The estimated time it would take was 20 minutes. The program then took me to a screen which was labelled task one of seven and it tested my response time. (Tasks will seem familiar to all those who administer neuropsychological batteries). In the first task given to me, I was supposed to press down on the rectangle as many times and as fast as I could until the time ran out. I expected the rectangles to be coming at me like missiles, but instead there was just one big block in the centre of the page that I was supposed to click repeatedly. The second task was harder. I had to click on a circle and not the hexagon both of which appeared across the screen in random order. For the third task circles on the screen lit up in a specific order and I had to memorise the order. Next, I was asked to memorise a pattern, given a purposeful distraction and then asked to retrace this pattern. The fourth task was actually having to do two tasks at the same time. (a) I had to track a ball with my finger/ mouse (b) At the same time, I had to press down (click) on words that corresponded to the color names they were shown in i.e. click down when presented with the word “green” when it is written in green ink but not in red ink. For the fifth task I was asked to click on the bigger shape as quickly as possible. However, if and when prompted, I had to choose the bigger number. For the second part of the task, I had to press on the highest number as fast as I could. For the sixth task the computer would present a series of numbers. I had to pay attention to the order of the numbers and repeat them, to test short-term memory. My last and seventh task was to test spatial perception -I would see three shapes for a short period of time, pay close attention and memorise a sequence. I was then shown several possible sequences and had to choose the exact same sequence as was first shown. My final score meant nothing in absolute terms, but might be relatively useful to compare me to me, before and after the training schedule.
Tech Specs
Where Web-based, iphone
(11 or later) & android (6.0)
By whom
CogniFit Ltd. A venture capital backed privately held start-up founded in 1999 by Shlomo Breznitz who is an Israeli psychologist and author of Maximum Brainpower : Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom.
Language
English, Arabic, Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, simplified Chinese, Spanish, Turkish
Costs
Following a free trial personalised training is divided into basic and premium. The basic training plan includes video coaching sessions, 20+ games, assessments and access to your ranking. This plan costs approx. INR 1,861 every month or 11,166 per annum. If you choose a premium plan you get access to all training programs and 60+ games for INR approx. 2,791 month or 11,865 a year or 17,448 for three years. There are additional plans for professionals, schools and researchers.
Other cool stuff I thought the visual presentation i.e. aesthetic and usability features of the program were pretty good (If only they could only come up with an Indian English, Hindi and culturally relevant version). I also liked the neat and instant report that came alongside a weekly plan. I read in one peer-reviewed study that 8-10 weeks of personalised brain training with this program improved attention and executive functions in healthy older adults (but not necessarily other populations). So there’s published data that you can find that use this program, which is better than “no data.”
My concerns I do feel there’s not enough research done to validate this program as effective or efficacious. It is too expensive for the Indian client. It is also culturally irrelevant and of little use. For instance, in one naming paradigm I could not identify the first alphabet from drawings of most of the objects that they presented because they were culturally unfamiliar – raccoons, pitayas, maracas, yams, larks, toucans, hedgehogs, oryx, lovebirds, eggplants, anthuriums, vriesea – although I did know some of these words in Marathi. Also, in its recommendation it asked me to get personalised training on certain tasks, by giving me my cognitive age and cognitive strengths – the norms (cut-offs) for which can be arbitrary. This might give people the idea that they need help when they don’t causing significant distress.
Disclaimers There is a disclaimer at the end of the program which says that CogniFit is intended to be used for assessing cognitive well-being and the results when interpreted by a qualified healthcare provider, may be used in determining whether further tests are required. The program is not meant to offer medical diagnosis or treatment. The products can be used for research purposes provided the research is in compliance with ethical guidelines and regulations of the country where it is being used.

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