Feb 8, 2009
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Round-up of recent news with a variety of angles, from the effects of gaming to cognitive training for driving skills and brain fitness classes.
Seniors use brain training software to sharpen their minds (Dallas Morning News)
– “Allstate Insurance has invited some policyholders and other older drivers to try InSight so researchers can evaluate whether the software reduces accidents.”
– “Depending on the results, the auto insurer says it may expand the pilot project and offer premium discounts to drivers who take the brain training.”
– “Today, only one in seven licensed drivers is 65 or older. But by 2030, when the last of the boomers turn 65, the proportion will be one in four. “
Brain games (Palo Alto Weekly)
– “There is research that justifies the belief that games can aid the brain’s health, according to Dr. Walter Bortz II, a Stanford University School of Medicine associate professor and expert on longevity and robust aging. Studies show that stimulating the brain by learning new tasks increases blood factors in the brain that act like steroids, making it possible for the brain to grow even in old age
– “Called “brain plasticity,” such growth is the foundation of brain-fitness software research.”
Brain Fitness Classes Keep Seniors Mentally And Socially Active (Washington Post)
– “More options for exercising the brain are on the way. Last year, the Ontario government pledged about $8 million to develop a brain fitness center in Toronto. In San Francisco, Jan Zivic, a former executive search consultant, opened a center, vibrantBrains, that offers memory improvement classes and workshops. Zivic was inspired by help she got from brain fitness games she played after being injured in an automobile accident.”
The 15 Clearest Benefits of Gaming (Edge Magazine)
-“But Fernandez warns that the gamer generation isn’t automatically guaranteed to have better cognitive health than their grandparents. Cognitive fitness (having the mental abilities required to thrive in cognitively more complex environments) seems to depend on four major pillars: nutrition, physical exercise, stress management and mental exercise. All these factors have physical effects on our brains (for example, physical exercise contributes to the creation of new neurons, while stress and anxiety prevents and/or reduces the creation of new neurons). The bad news is that we have growing obesity rates and anxiety among young people. So, games are great for mental exercise, but we shouldn’t forget the other ingredients for cognitive fitness.
– “Fernandez muses, Indeed fun can be seen as a goal in itself . The problem is that we confuse gaming as a vehicle with gaming as content. Gaming as vehicle is arguably great it allows for interactivity, engagement. Gaming as content, well, it depends. It is not the same to play a bloody shooter game as it is to Tetris or Rise of Nations, so the field should do a better job at explaining to mainstream society the diversity of games and dispel some myths.