You’ve got to be kidding me! Will someone please make up their mind?

Brain tasks ‘won’t slow dementia’

By Emily Cook 11/02/2009

Popular “brain training” exercises do nothing to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a study has revealed.

And they may even be doing some harm as many older users could be fooled into giving up beneficial physical exercise to play sudoku or a handheld computer console.

The findings are a blow to the theory – and the claims of a multi-million pound industry – that brain exercises ward off mental problems in old age.

Brain exercises – known as cognitive training – have become trendy thanks to the handheld Nintendo DS, which has been advertised by Patrick Stewart, Nicole Kidman and Julie Walters.

US professor of clinical neurosciences Peter Snyder said there is “no evidence… brain exercise programmes delay or slow progression of cognitive changes in healthy elderly”.

See, here’s another contradiction. Maybe there’s something to it. My step-father lived to be in his early 90s and never finished school. He didn’t read anything. Spent all of his time outdoors. Then look at his mother. She lived to be 98. Neither of them did any brain exercises. She was one of the sharpest ladies I’ve ever known clear up to the time she died.

If you don’t want to do yesterday’s sudoku puzzle, then I totally understand.

Of course, as many of you already know if you’re following the latest news updates, the Mediterranean diet will now do some magic in preventing dementia. Bring out the olives!

I hope they don’t tell me not to take fish oil next month —

But I do have to admit…the brain puzzles are still fun.


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7 Responses

  1. David,

    I used to hear that brain exercise was necessary to ward off, or stall, the progression of Dementia, but I haven’t heard that in about three years. Everything I hear, now, says it really does no good.

    Yes, contradictions abound in just about any field, but especially in Medicine and Diets. Because new things come out so quickly that the old is overturned, and then the new takes it’s place until proven otherwise.

    I agree, “You’ve got to be kidding!”

    It is difficult to know what to do, except use our common sense to the best of our ability.

    Being content along with exercise seems to help the most, in my book. (smile) Another theory, Imogene? (Now I’m really laughing)

    And above all,
    Love a lot,


    • Imogene…………..good point. No puzzles mean more time to do nothing……..relaxation and being content should help. Only until next month whenever they say we should sleep all the time.

  2. I read an article a couple of years ago written by the daughter of a school teacher. The mother (teacher), had Alzheimer’s. She had no concept of where she was or who her daughter was. Her daughter stated that she would tell her she wanted to go home and would be sitting at her own kitchen table. This really hit me hard. Here is a college educated woman with no concept of her surroundings. I decided then I would do what I was able to do to keep myself healthy, and not stress out over what I should be doing according to all the “experts”. With all of the new breakthroughs in medicine, I have to ask myself, “Do they really know this for sure? Will this really help?”

    I think that you should do what you are able to prevent any type of stagnation from becoming a routine. If you are an outdoors type of person, get out. If you are a bookworm, read. But for a change of pace and to exercise parts of your brain that are “lazy” switch it up.

    We all like surprises of some sort, even our brains:)

  3. I just love it when they state there is “no evidence…”. That doesn’t mean that is doesn’t help. It just means that no one has done a study to prove that it helps. There is also no evidence that it doesn’t help.

    I think attitude is the most important. If you aren’t interested in life and just give up then bad things happen like memory loss and bad health. If you are interested in life then you are healthier. If you enjoy games and puzzles then it’s entertainment and helps you enjoy life. If you don’t enjoy games and puzzle then find something that you do enjoy.

    I have always loved puzzles and those hidden object games. For some reason I can’t stand Sudoku. If I work on a puzzle during the day then when I go to sleep I work on it in my dreams, so I stopped doing them.

    Please keep the puzzle and brain teasers coming.

  4. Bottom line — who really knows? Eggs are bad, eggs are good; ginkgo’s bad, ginkgo’s good, etc., etc. I read a lot of research on education, and find that the very same data can generate a variety of conclusions.

    Comedian Lewis Black says we are all “like snowflakes” and each person’s health is different from the next person’s. His routine is hilarious but there is a bottom line of truth to it. I think if you feel good about the activity and you enjoy it, then it’s beneficial to you.

  5. If to keep your brain working depends on your mathematical skills, I will be brain-dead very soon! I’ve never been good at math, and the only thing I still remember well are the tables and the 4 basic operations. I AIN’T NO GOOD with numbers. But I like anything with words, like crossword puzzles, Scrabble and the like. Of course, I still have a long way to go to perfect my English skills…
    So, no matter what the “experts” say, I’ll keep up with my work on translations and reading and playing word games, and hope for the best. Maybe the experts will change their minds again before I die…
    Have a good day, David!

  6. Maybe laughter is still the best medicine. Keep us laughing David.

    Best, Hope

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