Brain training games do nothing to keep the mind nimble, according to Cambridge University researchers.
The scientists concluded that while we get better at the complex computer exercises with practice, there is no evidence that this is of any use in everyday life.
Healthy middle-aged people would do more for their brain by eating a salad, going for a stroll or taking up ballroom dancing, experts said.
Endorsement by the likes of Nicole Kidman and Patrick Stewart has helped make brain training a multi-million-pound industry but studies into how well it works have given conflicting results.
Faced with the tantalising prospect that simple puzzles of maths, memory and logic could keep the mind sharp into old age - and even help stave off dementia - the researchers sought to come up with a definitive answer.
Working with the BBC's Bang Goes The Theory programme, more than 11,000 healthy men and women aged between 18 and 60 were set a battery of highly-sensitive memory tests.
Some were then given a series of brain training games to play for at least ten minutes a day, three times a week.
The others were set general knowledge questions and asked to find the answers by surfing the internet.
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Any scientist with half a brain will tell you that different tasks strengthen the neural connections in your brain and improving how each part interacts with others, if you only play a game like this 10 minutes a day then obviously it's a bit useless, but of course it's gonna help people who aren't very mentally active if they use enough.
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