Dr. Michael Merzenich has written a great post titled “cognitive reserve is a good thing to work on!. Recommended reading if you are interested in another scientific perspective for cognitive training.
I agree we should know more (as usual), especially for policy decisions, but there is enough research, from Marian Diamond et al (see beautiful essays below) work on enriched environments to cognitive reserve and training, that is shouting at all of us: Exercise Your Brain! Enjoy Learning! Statistics such as that the average American-including kids- watch 5 hours of TV daily… don’t mean “we need more research” but “how can we change this”?.
See a couple of quotes from my recent interview with Yaakov Stern on the Cognitive Reserve.
- “well…I was pretty surprised when, years ago, a reporter from Seventeen magazine requested an interview. I was really curious to learn why she felt that her readers would be interested in studies about dementia. What she told me showed a deep understanding and insight: she wanted to motivate children to stay in school. She understood that early social interventions could be very powerful for building reserve and preventing dementia.”
- “…education and occupation, our level of participation in leisure activities has a significant and cumulative effect. A key message here is that different activities have independent, synergistic, contributions, which means the more things you do and the earlier you start, the better. But you are never stuck: better late than never.”
Two essays by Marian Diamond on lifelong enrichment:
- Successful Aging of the Healthy Brain: Beautiful essay on how to keep our brains and minds active and fit throughout our lifetime.
- Response of the Brain to Enrichment: Although the brain possesses a relatively constant structure, the ever-changing cerebral cortex is powerfully shaped by experiences before birth, during youth and, in fact, throughout life.
In a recent email exchange, Prof. Diamond summarized her recipe for healthy aging:
Exercise Your Brain-and Body! Enjoy Learning-and Life!
Update: Madam Fathom has writtenÃ‚Â a nice post on this theme titledÃ‚Â Reading makes you stronger