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Stanford Issues Findings from Cognitive and Brain Experts Urging Consumer Caution on Memory Fitness Products

Tips for navigating the marketplace of memory aids

STANFORD, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Stanford Center on Longevity today, on behalf of 30 of the world's finest cognitive and brain scientists, released a statement providing public guidance on products claiming to improve mental fitness and the science behind them.

A gathering of the world's top cognitive scientists first convened in April 2008 for the "Expert Consensus on Brain Health" summit sponsored by the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. The goal was to develop a consensus statement for the public regarding the science behind products claiming to defend against memory loss.

The statement has been under development during the past year and is readied just as public attention will be heightened on the issue of mental health with the broadcast of a new documentary series on HBO focusing on Alzheimer's disease.

"Fear of memory loss, mental impairment and Alzheimer's disease lead many consumers to search for products -- from supplements to software -- that claim to ward off such ailments," Laura L. Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, said. "Such products are becoming more prolific, but this burgeoning industry is completely unregulated and the claims can range from reasonable though untested, to blatantly false. It is important for consumers to proceed with caution before buying into many of these product claims. There is no magic bullet solution for cognitive decline."

The Summit's statement points out that "it would be wrong to conclude that nothing can be done to improve mental fitness." But goes on to "strongly encourage research that compares the efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of different approaches to maintaining cognitive fitness."

The statement can be viewed at


The Stanford Center on Longevity is transforming the culture of human aging using science and technology. In less than one century, life expectancy increased by an average of 30 years in developed regions of the world. Combined with a reduction in fertility rates across the same period, the changes in age distribution now under way in the population -- both nationally and internationally -- are dramatic and unprecedented. Added years can be a gift or a burden to humanity depending upon how they are used. The aim of the Center is to use increased life expectancy to bring about profound advances in the quality of life from early childhood to old age.

SOURCE Stanford Center on Longevity
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