Nov 21, 2006
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Good WebMD 4-page article on Brain Fitness programs for seniors. Check Keeping Your Brain Fit for Life:Software companies are offering new programs that promise to keep your brain sharp as you get older.
– “The notion of brain fitness has even invaded popular culture. In April, Nintendo released Brain Age, a Japanese-inspired, handheld video game to help users’ minds stay active. While the game is marketed for all ages, the buyers — now numbering more than 655,000 in the U.S. — have mainly been older people, Nintendo of America spokeswoman Amber McCollom writes in an email.”
– “Players take a nonscientific test that calculates a “brain age” for the purposes of the game. Through a series of puzzles and other challenges, they try to shave years or even decades off their brain age score. A catchy gimmick, but people shouldn’t take it seriously. “The notion that there’s a brain age isn’t well accepted,” says Timothy Salthouse, PhD, a University of Virginia psychology professor who is an expert on cognitive aging.”
– “…people shouldn’t consider brain training as a magic cure to stop brain aging, experts say. While it may be possible to improve memory and learning, Posit Science is careful not to claim that it can delay or prevent a decline in mental function, Mahncke (Posit’s Research Head) says.”
– “We can’t coerce seniors to do what’s good for them,” Michel (Dakim’s founder) says. “We believe that Mary Poppins was correct when she said that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” “You are seeing the birth of this industry,” he says.
– “In the future, as media stories have begun hinting, will this country also see more mental athletes “pumping neurons” and doing “neurobics” well into their twilight years?”
No quick or easy fixes. But training “mental muscles”/ cognitive skills will one day be as commonplace as working on those abdominals (and we hope more fun!)