Thursday, April 03, 2008

Did anyone else see the piece on Brain Gym on last night's Newsnight?

I'd be interested in opinions in the plundering of Ben Goldacre's Bad Science columns that was last night's Newsnight piece on Brain Gym [if you're quick you may get to view the video piece].

My sense is that what Brain Gym does (e.g. the actions it gets children to do) are not in themselves unhelpful. The relaxation, the exercise, the physical co-ordination issues it encourages: all in themselves seem fine. They help focus, distract those from other problems or just plain allow some space for de-stressing so that actual physical, scientifically measurable things can happen which DO help the body.

Where my problem does come is in how much can be claimed for it on an inherantly scientific basis: brain buttons etc do not to me suggested a particularly evidence-based scientific analysis of how the body and brain work.

1 comment:

David Floyd said...

Well, my understanding is that Braingym flog their stuff for a lot of money and that the reason why they charge a lot more than an instructor who'd just come in and give teachers advice on how to do broadly useful relaxation exercises is because of the pseudo-science that goes with it.

That's one problem.

The other problem is that you don't really want the same people who are trying to teach kids real science to also be teaching them spoof science.