Playing chess or other board games slows cognitive decline and improves quality of life in older patients, results of a new systematic review suggest.
… After searching the published literature, Pozzi and his colleagues selected 15 studies for the review. The studies assessed the impact of board games on older individuals at risk of, or with cognitive impairment, or those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at any age. [Read more…] about Study: Playing board games like Chess, Mahjong, Go, helps slow cognitive decline as we age (but with clear differences in neurobiology and improved function)
“Playing cards and board games like chess, bingo and Scrabble might be the mental workout you need to keep your wits as you age, Scottish researchers suggest.
People in their 70s who regularly play board games score higher on tests of memory and thinking skills than those who don’t. And 70-somethings who step up their game-playing are more likely to maintain thinking skills as they age [Read more…] about Study: For better memory and thinking skills at age 70 (and beyond), play cards and board games from age 11
Several recent articles and news:
Brain Gain: the underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs (The New Yorker)
- “Alex remains enthusiastic about Adderall, but he also has a slightly jaundiced critique of it. “It only works as a cognitive enhancer insofar as you are dedicated to accomplishing the task at hand,” he said. “The number of times I’ve taken Adderall late at night and decided that, rather than starting my paper, hey, I’ll organize my entire music library! I’ve seen people obsessively cleaning their rooms on it.” Alex thought that generally the drug helped him to bear down on his work, but it also tended to produce writing with a characteristic flaw. “Often, I’ve looked back at papers I’ve written on Adderall, and they’re verbose. They’re belaboring a point, trying to create this airtight argument, when if you just got to your point in a more direct manner it would be stronger. But with Adderall I’d produce two pages on something that could be said in a couple of sentences.” Nevertheless, his Adderall-assisted papers usually earned him at least a B. They got the job done. As Alex put it, “Productivity is a good thing.”
- “Who might use them? Students will be tempted, as might players of any game involving counting or remembering (chess, bridge, and even poker and blackjack). Certain professionals might desire a boost in attention or memory”
- “But these potentially powerful medicines should not be made available to everyone, for two reasons. The first is safety. The last several years have provided many examples of side effects, some life-threatening…The second reason is that we still know relatively little about learning and memory and how they are integrated to make judgments and decisions.”
Kellogg Settles with FTC over Health Claims on Cereal (Promo Magazine)
- “The FTC said that Kellogg promoted the cereal as “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%,” when in fact the study referred to in the ads showed different results.”
- “The study found that only about half the children who ate Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast showed any improvement in attentiveness, and only about one in nine improved by 20% or more, the FTC said.”
Brain shock: The new Gulf War syndrome (New Scientist)
- “The US army also screens for symptoms of mTBI when soldiers return from a tour of duty, and again three months later. The army is also carrying out neurocognitive tests on recruits before they are sent into combat so that doctors can check for deterioration in later tests.”
- “When it comes to combat trauma, unpicking the physical from the psychological is bound to be highly complex. As Barth says, perhaps the greatest danger could be in trying to simplify the picture too much. “I recommend that we get comfortable with the complexity,” he says, “and treat it as a challenge.”
In 1993, Paramount Pictures released Searching for Bobby Fischer, which depicts Joshua Waitzkin’s early chess success as he embarks on a journey to win his first National chess championship. This movie had the effect of weakening his love for the game as well as the learning process. His passion for learning was rejuvenated, however, after years of meditation, and reading philosophy and psychology. With this rekindling of the learning process, Waitzkin took up the martial art Tai Chi Chuan at the age of 21 and made rapid progress, winning the 2004 push hands world championship at the age of 27.
After reading Joshua’s most recent book The Art of Learning, I thought of a million topics I wanted to discuss with him–topics such as being labelled a “child prodigy”, blooming, creativity, and the learning process. Thankfully, since I was profiling Waitzkin for an article I was fortunate enough to get a chance to have such a conversation with him. I hope you find this discussion just as provocative and illuminating as I did.
The Child Prodigy
S. Why did you leave chess at the top of your game?
J. This is a complicated question that I wrote about very openly in my book. In short, I had lost the love. My relationship to the game had become externalized-by pressures from the film about my life, by losing touch with my natural voice as an artist, by mistakes I made in the growth process. At the very core of my relationship to learning is the idea that we should be as organic as possible. We need to cultivate a deeply refined introspective sense, and build our relationship to learning around our nuance of character. I stopped doing this and fell into crisis from a sense of alienation from an art I had loved so deeply. This is when I left chess behind, started meditating, studying philosophy and psychology, and ultimately moved towards Tai Chi Chuan.
S. Do you think being a child prodigy hurt your chess career in any way?
J. I have never considered myself a prodigy. Others have used that term, but I never bought in to it. From a young age it was always about embracing the battle, loving the game, and overcoming adversity. Growing up as [Read more…] about Learning about Learning: an Interview with Joshua Waitzkin