According to an Associated Press report, a hospital in Japan has begun renting out Nintendo DS consoles, and suggesting the purchase of Brain Training
titles, to patients suffering from dementia and as a form of self diagnosis.
According to administrator Atsuko Uchida at Uchida Hospital in Kyoto, ten consoles have been made available to patients and are “almost always rented out”. The hospital has a clinic specialising in dementia, where doctors have apparently suggested that elderly patients purchase the game to keep their mind busy.
Sixty-seven year old retiree Isamu Shishido is quoted as saying, “I don't want to end up some crazy old man. I want to play a little everyday before going to bed.” Neurosurgeon Dr Takeshi Kihara comments that, "The game won't cure dementia. But it's a good form of stimulation, especially for old people living alone."
The three current Brain Training games are based on a series of popular Japanese self-help books authored by Professor Ryuuta Kawashima. The first title in the series, partially translated as DS Brain Training for Adults
, has sold over 1,550,000 in Japan since its release in May, and has rarely been out of the top ten in that time. It is due to be released in North America as Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day
in April, and in Europe as Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?
Second title Gentle Brain Exercises
(to be known in the West as Big Brain Academy
) has sold over 1,150,000 units since its release in June, while the DS Brain Training for Adults
sequel has sold over 1,250,000 units since its debut in December. A similarly themed title for the PSP by Sega has also sold over 200,000 units in Japan.