Tom Brady Just Dropped a New Brain Training Program
The field of “brain training” is controversial. The companies behind these allegedly cognition-boosting games, exercises, and puzzles market their products with lofty claims—Improve your memory! Concentrate better! Ward off Alzheimer’s!—but the scientific literature often tells a different story. Back in 2014, for example, 70 of the world’s leading neuroscientists and psychologists signed a statement basically saying there’s not adequate research to support the claims behind brain training. Just last month, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience came to the same conclusion.
So who better to wade into the scientific swamp than lifestyle guru Tom Brady?
The quarterback is taking his personal brain training regimen public, thanks to a collaboration between Brady’s company TB12 and Posit Science, the parent company of cognitive exercise brand BrainHQ. The TB12 BrainHQ program, according to the website, will become “your brain-training headquarters.”
“I’m not a brain scientist,” Brady says in a statement, “but I can tell you about my experience after using the exercises—I could feel myself seeing more, seeing things more quickly and accurately, and making better decisions, faster.”
Some of Brady’s exercises are available for free online, so naturally I gave them a try. In one, you’re tasked with spotting a football player reaching for a catch amidst a sea of other players; in another, you have to determine whether two shapes are the same color as quickly as possible; in a third, you keep your eyes trained on bubbles as they float around the screen. They definitely require a good amount of focus, and some were actually pretty difficult. (In my defense, I tried them midway through my first cup of coffee.)
The good stuff, presumably, is part of TB12’s BrainHQ subscription package, which users can purchase for $14 per month or $96 per year—a relative bargain in Tom Brady land. Regular adherence to the program, BrainHQ promises, will result in better processing speed, attention, memory, and executive function.
While BrainHQ stresses that its methods have been rigorously studied and vetted by scientists, the bulk of the literature still suggests such exercises are little more than a fun diversion. Can they hurt? Probably not. Will they help? That depends who you ask—but again, probably not.
And as for whether you’ll pick up Brady’s superhuman game judgment and field vision? Good luck with that.