What is CogTale?
The ’brain training’ industry is a multi-million dollar and still rapidly growing industry. The appeal is obvious, and natural; The downside of the increasing life expectancy is also an increase in the prevalence of many age-related health and medical issues, including dementia –feared by many, and described by some, as the 21st century epidemic.
People of all ages, but perhaps older adults in particular, are therefore often worried about their memory and cognitive health more generally, which makes various treatments aimed at maximising cognitive health in older age very appealing to large lifestyle interventions to prevent or minimise cognitive decline.
Among these, cognitive training, also referred to as; ‘brain training’, or ‘brain exercise’, among other terms and related interventions, is probably among the most popular treatment approaches.
But do these treatments work?
It turns out that is actually pretty difficult to find an unbiased answer to this question, which isn’t really one question, but rather several, related questions. Research produces mixed findings and is not always accessible to the general public in a language they can understand.
Everyone else seem to have some form of agenda. Leading brain training companies are driven, above all, by commercial interests, and tend to misrepresent science, as well as take advantage of the vulnerability of those desperately seeking to minimise their risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The media, typically over-simplifies and frequently sensationalises research findings to boost ratings.
On the other hand, many skeptics, including those within healthcare sector are also guilty of dismissing valuable research evidence and spreading their own misleading views in a way that further confuses people.
From the very beginning, the team behind CogTale was dedicated to providing everyone who has an interest in this topic with access to unbiased evidence, free from agendas, and in a language that can be easily understood by non-scientists.
We are, a group of researchers and clinicians, who are passionate about developing effective, scientifically rigorous cognitive and lifestyle interventions for cognitive health.
So, what is CogTale?
At the heart of CogTale is a comprehensive and continuously updated database of methodological features and summary results from all relevant trials of cognitive interventions in the field.
Researchers, clinicians, and general members of the public are free to browse our growing catalogue of coded articles through simple or highly refined search options. For each article in the database, CogTale uses algorithms to produce several study quality scores, as well as a range of effect sizes (which tell us how effective a treatment was).
But one study, however good it is, is still only one study. Possibly CogTale’s most amazing feature, is the ability to select a several studies from one’s search, and combine their effects to yield summary scores using advanced statistical procedures (called ‘meta-analysis’). This way, you can see the overall evidence associated with a particular type of treatment, for particular types of people, and for particular areas of health. Best of all, CogTale automatically generates high-quality, but simply written reports based on these combined effects.
Other exciting features are currently available or planned for the near future, including commentary by the authors of studies and by the CogTale editors, ‘Featured studies’, the ability to sign up to a newsletter, and the ability receive alerts when new studies that meet one’s search criteria are added, among others. Best of all, it is all free.
CogTale was designed with both the professional community (researchers, health care providers), and health consumers in mind. The scientists behind project CogTale want to facilitate research into cognitive interventions, and assist consumers in making informed decisions about effective treatments, by providing up-to-date, evidence-based information, on cognitive intervention treatments. We encourage you to explore and navigate the website, and we hope that you will find it informative, accurate, and useful. We welcome any feedback, so feel free to drop us a line with your thoughts and ideas.