Does your brain really need a gym?
â€śWe object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. . . . The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles.â€?
â€śWhen researchers follow people across their lives, they find that those who live cognitively active, socially connected lives and maintain healthy lifestyles are less likely to suffer debilitating illness and early cognitive decline,â€? as the statement describes it.
I’ve been waiting for years for someone to finally do this study. And, not only did it finally get done, but a vast number of scientists just stepped up and signed it. (Apparently I’m not the only one who found this racket to be just as annoying as the you-can-sit-and-get-fit exercise videos…)
Once again, the ONLY WAY to limit the effects of age related cognitive decline is to spend your life using your brain — instead of watching soap operas. This study says it well:
MCI is defined as cognitive decline greater than expected for an individualâ€™s age and education level but that does not interfere notably with activities of daily life. Symptoms often include forgetfulness and a decline in executive skills.
Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain studied the way in which the brain compensates for cognitive impairment and discovered the brain uses its cognitive reserve to make up for memory loss.
â€śCognitive reserveâ€? is the name given to the brainâ€™s capacity to compensate for the loss of its functions. This reserve cannot be measured directly; rather, it is calculated through indicators believed to increase this capacity.
Scientists discovered use of a higher level of vocabulary appears to buttress cognitive reserve.
In other words, if you want to prevent yourself from getting old AND senile, forget about brain gym. Read a book — then go and discuss it with someone you love.
(Yes, even a completely trashy novel will do just fine…)