|Slogan||Your brain, just brighter.|
Type of site
|Available in||English, Spanish, German|
Lumosity is an online brain training and neuroscience research company based in San Francisco, California. Lumosity offers a brain training program consisting of more than 40 games in the areas of memory, attention, flexibility, speed of processing, and problem solving. Per Forbes.com: Listed as #66 in America's Most Prominent Companies. 68 employees as of December 31, 2012.
Lumosity (also known as Lumos Labs) was founded in 2005 by Kunal Sarkar, Michael Scanlon, and David Drescher. Lumosity.com launched in 2007 and, as of November 2013, has over 50 million members. In January 2015, Lumosity announced 70 million users. Lumosity’s mobile app has been downloaded more than 10 million times and "is often at the top of the Apple iTunes Store’s educational-gaming category."
The company raised $400,000 in capital from angel investors in 2007, a Series A of $3 million from Harrison Metal Capital, FirstMark Capital and Norwest Venture Partners in 2008, a Series C of $32.5 million led by Menlo Ventures, and a Series D of $31.5 million led by Discovery Communications with participation from existing investors.
There is no scientific consensus on the benefits of brain training for medical conditions in the clinical environment. Studies of Lumosity's effectiveness have shown mixed results.
Some have shown benefits from the use of Lumos Labs cognitive training:
- Dr. Shelli Kesler and colleagues at Stanford University found improved cognitive performance and corresponding increases in brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex in survivors of childhood cancer following training with Lumosity. Participants who trained with Lumosity showed significantly improved processing speed, cognitive flexibility, verbal and visual declarative memory scores.
- Kesler et al. demonstrated enhanced math skills and cognitive performance with corresponding changes in brain activity in individuals with Turner syndrome following training with Lumosity.
- Kesler et al. found that women whose breast cancer had been treated with chemotherapy demonstrated improved executive function, such as cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency and processing speed after Lumosity training. This work is published in Clinical Breast Cancer.
- Psychologist Maurice Finn and Skye McDonald from the University of New South Wales found that patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who trained with Lumosity improved their sustained attention relative to controls. MCI is considered a precursor condition to Alzheimer’s disease, and this is the first report of cognitive enhancement with training in this population.
- Mayas and Colleagues found a significant reduction of distraction and an increase of alertness in elderly healthy adults after 20 one-hour training sessions using Lumosity in comparison to a control group. The authors conclude that these results suggest neurocognitive plasticity in the old human brain.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance in 2014 noted in their conclusion that Video Game Training enhanced players visual working memory performance. Visual working memory is the ability to remember specific acquired information and knowledge and then apply this to scenarios in a video game. The ability to utilize this memory can determine your success in the video game.
According to an article entitled, "Does Lumosity work?" published at MD Health.com there have been several studies conducted that lead scientists to believe that some of the activites or games found on the web site do affect the brain in several areas. A University of Michigan study found improvements in the areas of dual attention tasks and memory for subjects according to their test scores. Another study at Brown University found adults improving brain performance in the area of working memory after training was completed.^
A recent article entitled "Bilingualism may slow Alzheimer's Progression," published at Everyday Health.com shows that more than 648 people participated in a study after they were having symptoms of dementia. This study claims that bilingual subjects progressed slower than other subjects that were not bilingual and the average slowing was 4 years. The theory is that speaking another language forces the brain to work on concentration of different sounds, words, structures, and concepts.This study found the effect to be most prevalent with those who were diagnosed with frontotemporal lobe dementia.
Several considerations would be the time that subjects devoted to training and how functional the training completed could be applied to everyday tasks. If you can sort quite fast squares and triangles on the site, does that translate into any functional task improvment, or are you just better at sorting on the web site? For years nursing homes and senior citizen centers have stated that if you work crossword puzzles and play cards you will use your brain so you don't lose your brain. But are you just keeping skills for those particular activities sharp while other brain areas progress into cognitive decline?
However, other studies had mixed results. In one study, a panel of experts, including eminent neuroscientists, examined Dr Kawashima's Brain Training, Mindfit and Lumosity. They found there was no scientific evidence to support claims that the gadgets or brain games can help improve memory or stave off the risk of illnesses such as dementia. A careful attempt to replicate the preliminary experimental results on which this enterprise is based found no effect from the training. Some have noted that the clinical trials cited on their website show that studies conducted used a very small sample size and that the methodology section fails to clearly explain how control groups were handled. Other studies have failed to demonstrate generalizable benefits of brain training. In other words, improvements shown in one field of cognitive ability has not been found to be transferrable. (This is seen most commonly in successful improvement in working memory skills, and the inability to generalize to other skills such as verbal and nonverbal ability, attention, etc.)
Meanwhile, studies have only been able to show mild changes to cognitive abilities, and no studies have shown significant findings. It is unclear whether or not the improvements are at all caused by the brain trainings, or are simply a result of the training effect—one gets better at something with more experience. The changes that are observed are also short-lived, and it has been recommended that future studies look at the possible longevity that can be maintained from these brain trainings. This somewhat invalidates the company's claim to improve neurological plasticity, in that the only reliable improvements observed have only been short-term, while the mechanism of plasticity itself is to permanently alter the brain's neuronal transmission processes. This short-term effect can't completely disregard the possibility for long-term effects, for the studies themselves were only conducted for a specific amount of time. These cognitive improvements may find to be long-lasting with research done in longitudinal studies.
- "About Us". Lumosity.
- Roubein, Rachel (August 24, 2011). "Brain-Training Games Are New Exercise Craze". USA Today.
- Sherr, Ian (November 5, 2013). "Small Brain-Training Game Maker Getting Bigger". Wall Street Journal.
- "Let's celebrate — this month Lumosity added our 70 millionth member!". Lumosity on Google+.
- Popescu, Adam (September 25, 2012). "Brain Training: Taking A Look At Lumosity". ReadWrite.
- Kaplan, Dan (June 11, 2007). "Lumosity Raises $400,000 for Fames to Improve Brain". VentureBeat.
- Glazowski, Paul (June 3, 2008). "Lumosity Nets $3m For Brain Gaming". Mashable.
- Rao, Leena (June 16, 2011). "Lumosity Raises $32.5 Million For Brain Fitness Games". TechCrunch.
- Rao, Leena (August 22, 2012). "Lumosity Raises $31.5M from Discovery Communications for Brain Fitness Games". TechCrunch.
- Kesler, S.; Lacayo & Booil, J. (2011). "A Pilot Study of an Online Cognitive Rehabilitation Program for Executive Function Skills in Children with Cancer-Related Brain Injury". Brain Injury 25 (1): 101–112. doi:10.3109/02699052.2010.536194. PMC 3050575. PMID 21142826.
- Kesler, S. R.; Sheau, K.; Koovakkattu, D. & Reiss, A. L. (August 2011). "Changes in Frontal–Parietal Activation and Math Skills Performance Following Adaptive Number Sense Training: Preliminary Results from a Pilot". Neuropsychology Rehabilitation 21 (4): 433–454. doi:10.1080/09602011.2011.578446. PMC 3152634. PMID 21714745.
- Kesler, S.; Hadi Hosseini, S.M.; Heckler, C.; Janelsins, M.; Palesh, O. & Mustian, K. G. (August 2013). "Cognitive Training for Improving Executive Function in Chemotherapy-Treated Breast Cancer Survivors". Clinical Breast Cancer 13 (4): 299–306. doi:10.1016/j.clbc.2013.02.004. PMC 3726272. PMID 23647804.
- Finn, M. & McDonald, S. (December 2011). "Computerised Cognitive Training for Older Persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Study Using a Randomised Controlled Trial Design". Brain Impairment 12 (3): 187–199. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092269.
- Mayas, J. & Parmentier, F. (March 2014). "Plasticity of Attentional Functions in Older Adults after Non-Action Video Game Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial". PLoS ONE 9 (3): 187–199. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092269.
- Smithers, Rebecca (February 26, 2009). "Brain Training? Think Again, Says Study". The Guardian.
- Jaeggi, S. M.; Buschkuehl, M.; Jonides, J. & Perrig, W. J. (May 2008). "Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105 (19): 6829–6833. doi:10.1073/pnas.0801268105. PMC 2383929. PMID 18443283.
- Nicholson, Christie (May 28, 2012). "Q&A: New Evidence Shows Brain-Training Games Don’t Work". Smart Planet.
- Redick, T. S.; Shipstead, Z.; Harrison, T. L.; Hicks, K. L.; Fried, D.; Hambrick, D. Z.; Kane, M. J. & Engle, R. W. (May 2013). "No Evidence of Intelligence Improvement After Working Memory Training: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142: 359–379. doi:10.1037/a0029082. PMID 22708717.
- Owen, A.M.; Hampshire, A.; Grahn, J.A.; Stenton, R.; Dajani, S.; Burns, A.S.; Howard, R.J. & Ballard, G.C. (June 2010). "Putting Brain Training to the Test". Nature 465 (7299): 775–8. doi:10.1038/nature09042. PMC 2884087. PMID 20407435.
- Dunning, D. L.; Holmes, J. & Gathercole, S. E. (November 2013). "Does Working Memory Training Lead to Generalized Improvements in Children with Low Working Memory? A Randomized Controlled Trial". Developmental Science 16 (6): 915–25. doi:10.1111/desc.12068. PMID 24093880.
- Chooi, W. T. & Thompson, L. A. (November–December 2012). "Working Memory Training Does Not Improve Intelligence in Healthy Young Adults". Intelligence 40: 531–542. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2012.07.004.
- Harrison, T. L.; Shipstead, Z.; Hicks, K. L.; Hambrick, D. Z.; Redick, T. S. & Engle, R. W. (December 2013). "Working Memory Training May Increase Working Memory Capacity but not Fluid Intelligence". Psychological Science 24 (12): 2409–19. doi:10.1177/0956797613492984. PMID 24091548.
- Melby-Verlag, M. & Hulme, C. (February 2013). "Is Working Memory Training Effective? A Meta-Analytic Review". Developmental Psychology 49: 270–291. doi:10.1037/a0028228. PMID 22612437.
- Smith, S. P.; Stibric, M. & Smithson, D. (November 2013). "Exploring the Effectiveness of Commercial and Custom-Built Games for Cognitive Training". Computers in Human Behavior 29 (6): 2388–2393. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.05.014.
- Melby-Lervåg, Monica; Hulme, Charles (February 2013). "Is working memory training effective? A meta-analytic review.". Developmental Psychology 49 (2): 270–291. doi:10.1037/a0028228. PMID 22612437.
(1)["Lumosity". Forbes.com.] (2)^ Blacker, Curby, Klobusicky, and Chein (2014). "Effects of Action Video game Training on Visual Working Memory" (5). pp. 1992–2004. (3) "Does Lumosity work?". MDhealth.com. (4) ^ Firger. "Bilingualism May Slow Alzheimer's Progression". Everyday Health.