Cognitive maintenance 2.0: From crossword puzzles to targeted mental stimulation
The Silver Economy: Brain training fired up by hard evidence (Financial Times):
“Not so long ago, people kept ageing brains active through reading and writing, talking with friends and family, and perhaps playing cards or doing puzzles. Now a rapidly growing number are taking a high-tech approach to cognitive maintenance, through computer programs designed to stimulate the brain…
Two factors lie behind this rapid growth. One is the improving hardware and software, particularly graphics, that make brain-training programs appealing to elderly users who are not comfortable with computers or smartphones…The other factor expanding the sector is accumulating scientific evidence about the brain’s “plasticity”, the fact that neurons can grow or adapt to new tasks at any age, given the right stimulus.
While it is obvious that practising a particular skill makes you better at it, at least in the short term, some neuroscientists have questioned whether specific brain training programs lead to a broader improvement in cognitive abilities and, if so, how long this lasts.”