Tag Archives: brain games

Seniors need to get out of that comfort zone – NYT

This piece from the New York Times is superb reporting. So, the grey lady lives on.

The article was How to become a Superager by Lisa Feldman Barrett. She is the author of the forthcoming “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain.”


She asks, “Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. ”

In providing the answer, she gets into some labyrinthine details on how the brain functions. If you want to go there just click on the link to the article and enjoy. Continue reading


Filed under aging, aging brain, brain exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, New York Times

What are some actions that prevent or delay Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

The question of brain games and other cerebral activities to prevent or delay dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease was taken up by The Ask the Expert column in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry.

“What kinds of brain activities did we find to be beneficial? While more research is needed to learn the best types of activities, the studies we reviewed included a wide range of possibilities….”


“Here are some ideas:
•    Read a novel, a non-fiction book, a magazine, or newspaper.
•    Play board games with your children or grandkids.
•    Volunteer for a local organization.
•    Host a weekly card game for friends.
•    Register for an adult education class at your local college.
•    Look for art, cooking or other fun classes in your community.
•    Play video games with a young person in your life.
•    Attend a play or visit a museum.

Continue reading

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Filed under Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, brain games, brain health, dementia

Brain exercises – all hype? – Wall Street Journal

As a senior citizen, 76 years old as of this writing, I think that the condition of my brain is probably my number one priority. Right there along with the physical condition of my body. Also, regular readers know that I have several cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family on both parents’ sides. So the concept of impaired cognition has my full attention.

I know that most of my contemporaries and younger compatriots are also very sensitive about their mental condition. Everyone experiences ‘senior moments,’ but they are not funny to those of us over 60.


When I attended the ‘Healthy Transitions’ talks at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (for folks over 50), the most well-attended were the lectures on cognitive impairment and dementia. Always a packed house. This is a very hot topic for seniors.For these reasons, I have particular contempt for the snake oil salesmen who try to prey on seniors’ fears of cognitive impairment. These include the drug companies that offer surefire memory boosters and particularly the brain games. I have written a number of posts about the ineffectiveness of these games. You can access them by checking out my Page – Brain games for seniors – What you need to know.

Continue reading


Filed under brain exercise, brain function, brain games, brain health, exercise and brain health

Putting a Nail in the Brain Games Coffin

I have written negatively about the brain games that snake oil salesmen marketers have been selling to a fearful and unsuspecting aging public for some time. As we get older we have ’senior moments.’ So senior citizens are freaked about spending their final years drooling into their oatmeal being tended by uncaring health workers in old people’s homes. That’s a prospect to frighten anyone. So, along comes these companies selling  ‘brain games’ promising to wipe away all their cognitive problems with a little playing a few times a week and monthly subscription fees.


I am a senior citizen, turned 76 last month. I took care of an aunt who had Alzheimer’s and two other family members suffered and died with dementia. My grandfather used to ‘wander off’ in his latter years. So, my grandfather may have also had it. This was in the 1950’s. Alzheimer’s Disease was not accepted as a common term until the late 1970’s. Before then, dementia and senility were considered a natural progression of old age.

We know better now, but that doesn’t mean seniors aren’t spooked about diminishing cognition.

The magazine Fast  Company reported that “Sharp Brains, a market research firm tracking the brain fitness space, estimates that the size of the market for digital products was just under $300 million in 2009 and will grow to at least $2 billion by 2015.”

In January the FTC reached a settlement with Lumo Labs, the maker of Lumosity, one of the leaders in the brain games marketers. According to the New York Times, “Lumosity agreed to give its one million current subscribers, who pay $14.95 a month or $79.95 annually, a quick way to opt out. It also accepted a $50 million judgment, all but $2 million suspended after the commission reviewed the company’s financial records.”

“Even scientists who see promise in cognitive training applauded the agency’s action. “The criticisms were right,” said Joel Sneed, a psychologist at Queens College and senior author of a meta-analysis on cognitive training and depression.

“The field is far, far, far from demonstrating any reduction or delay in cognitive decline,” Dr. Sneed said.” The Times reported.

As I said in the opening paragraph, I have been complaining about these games for several years now. Not just complaining, but offering a positive alternative that doesn’t cost seniors any of their retirement funds and gives them a fighting chance to keep their mental faculties intact.

First, let me direct you to my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits)

Following are links to posts I wrote as far back as 2011:

Exercise, aging and the brain

Seniors short-changed in brain game craze

Physical exercise better than brain exercise for seniors

What is a defense against an aging brain?

Exercise benefits the brain – Chicago Tribune

10 ways to love your brain – Alzheimer’s Association

Brain game may help older adults

How to have a healthy brain and keep it

You can slow down brain drain

How seniors can bolster brain power

Finally, please save your money. Don’t waste it on those stupid games. You have it in your power to  preserve your mental capacity. Exercise it.



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Filed under aging brain, brain games, Uncategorized

How to Have a Healthy Brain and Keep It

“It’s increasingly clear that exercise is as good for the brain as it is for the body, The Globe and Mail reported. “You’ll score better on cognitive tests immediately after a moderate workout, and the gains accumulate over weeks of regular exercise. The mechanism is thought to involve a rise in growth-promoting brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, but it’s not clear how much or what type of exercise is most effective.


“To investigate the optimal brain-boosting exercise dose, a University of Kansas study assigned older adults to walk for between zero and 225 minutes a week for 26 weeks. As little as 75 minutes a week was enough to improve scores on a battery of cognitive tests, and there were further gains all the way up to 225 minutes. The overall pattern was that those who made biggest improvements in aerobic fitness also saw the biggest boosts in cognitive scores. Get your body fit, in other words, and the brain will follow.”

It’s great to read this information elsewhere. I have been writing about it for some time. Check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) to learn more.

Meanwhile, the AARP reported that in a survey of adults over 40, some eight out of 10 believe maintaining or improving brain health is important. Also, more than half, (56 percent) currently engage in activities healthful to the brain, like consuming a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Continue reading


Filed under Healthy brain

Brain Game May Help Older Adults

As regular readers know, I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family history. As a result, I am keenly interested in everything having to do with keeping the brain functioning throughout life. So far my research has taught me that is is very difficult to find anything that equals the benefit of cardiovascular exercise for sending oxygen molecules to the brain and creating new neurotransmitters. Please check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for more.
brainMost ‘brain games’ like crosswords and sudoku build skills in those specific games, but do not strengthen working memory.

Having said that, I am nonetheless passing on this information from the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences on a ‘brain game’ that is said to help seniors.

An international team of scientists has demonstrated that just one month of training on a “Virtual Week” computer brain game helps older adults significantly strengthen prospective memory – a type of memory that is crucial for planning, everyday functioning and independent living.

Seniors who played the cognitive-training game “more than doubled” the number of prospective memory tasks performed correctly compared to control groups that performed other activities such as music classes.

Continue reading


Filed under brain games, seniors

Age-related Changes in the Brain Can Have Significant Impact on Individuals, Society

This is by far one of the best summaries I have read about age-related changes in the brain.

It questions the value of those ‘brain games’ seniors are buying and recommends being physically active, among other things.

To read more on this very important subject, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise).


Cooking with Kathy Man

Gradual and variable change in mental functions that occurs naturally as people age, not as part of a neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, is one of the most challenging health issues encountered by older adults, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The aging process affects the brain just like any other part of the body. Known as “cognitive aging,” the type and rate of change can vary widely among individuals. Some will experience very few, if any, effects, while others may experience changes in their memory, speed of processing information, problem solving, learning, and decision-making abilities. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report proposed three top actions individuals can take to help maintain optimal cognitive function with age.

“Changes in mental functions and capabilities are a part of aging and occur with everyone,” said committee chair Dan G. Blazer, the J.P. Gibbons…

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Filed under aging, brain, brain health