Brain Fitness: The Games People Play

Are you feeling mentally sluggish? Making time to challenge your mind daily could help to keep your mental faculties sharp. While the science on brain fitness isn’t settled, there are more than 50 studies that suggest a link between taxing your gray matter and maintaining your cognitive health.

In March 2012, ScienceDaily reported on a Chinese study where participants between the ages of 65 and 75 underwent hour-long brain training sessions that took place twice a week for 12 weeks. The results confirmed the ability of cognitive training to improve many of the mental, language, and hand-eye coordination skills of participants. Said results suggest that “cognitive training therapy may prevent mental decline amongst healthy older people and help them to continue independent living longer in their advancing years.”

“Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults,” a paper published in a September 2013 issue of the Nature, further confirmed the impact of brain training on seniors. Using multitasking-based, adaptive video games (which means that as a player gets better, the game gets harder), study results found that older participants were able train their cognitive skills and became better at the game than untrained 20-year-olds. These brain fitness results were shown to persist six months later. “Critically, this training resulted in performance benefits that extended to untrained cognitive control abilities,” the authors of the study noted. They added that the results served as evidence “of how a custom-designed video game can be used to assess cognitive abilities across the lifespan, evaluate underlying neural mechanisms, and serve as a powerful tool for cognitive enhancement.”

Philips Introduces Brain Fitness

In large-scale medical trials, participants who used Brain Fitness, a Phillips product powered by BrainHQ, showed these improvements:

  • They are 131 percent faster at processing information.
  • They have been involved in 50 percent fewer at-fault car accidents.
  • They have shown 10 years’ worth of improvement in memory performance.

Developed with input from more than 50 contributing scientists from leading institutions such as Yale, the University of California, and the Mayo Clinic, Brain Fitness improves the way your brain functions in the following areas:

  • Intelligence
  • Memory
  • Navigation
  • Attention
  • Brain speed
  • People skills

Brain Fitness refers to the modules as exercises; you’ll probably call them games. As you play, the program learns about you and adapts exercises based on your scores and progression.

About Brain Fitness

Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., is the co-founder and chief scientific officer at Posit Science as well as professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco. For nearly 50 years, he’s been a pioneer in the field of “brain plasticity” (neuroplasticity), which he describes as the brain’s ability to change at any age. Brain Fitness can help nudge change in the right direction.

Monthly subscriptions to this program cost $14 per month; alternately, you can subscribe on a yearly basis for $8 per month, billed annually.

Learn more on the Brain Fitness website and sign up for a trial. Play through selected games to see just how fun sharpening your mind can be.

See also
Caregivers

Caregivers

Are you caring for an aging parent or loved one? At times, it can be stressful, but you are not on your own! Try our expert advice for managing family issues, keeping mom independent and more. more

Healthcare Pros

Healthcare Pros

Whether you’re a nurse, case worker, doctor or another healthcare professional, you know aging patients have unique needs. Explore our resources for working with this growing population. more

Seniors

Seniors

We all get older, but how you do it is up to you. We have articles and tools to help you live independently and enjoy life the way you want to, as well as other important topics as you age. more