Are Memory Improvement Games Effective?

In this fast-paced world of technology, bite-sized information, and confusing stimuli, it can be easy to feel as though your brain is just not keeping up with everything.  And, since the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease is around 5.4 million, it can be very worrying to notice any lapses in memory.  While occasionally forgetting your keys doesn’t mean you’re going to develop dementia down the road, it can certainly be frustrating to notice yourself going blank at times.  This is probably one of the reasons for the boost in memory improvement games in recent years.

There are many methods for improving memory that center around games.  Many of these activities are on the computer and sell the idea that doing a lot of puzzles and having a lot of mental stimulation will make positive changes to your brain.  But, are these memory improvement games effective?  In this article, we’ll briefly talk about brain games, and whether or not they actually help boost your mental capabilities.

What is the Theory behind Memory Improvement Games?

Many people – including neuroscientists – have developed brain games in the hopes that providing challenging mental stimuli could actually remodel nerve cell connections, allowing you to be sharper for longer.  This could enhance mental “fitness” and help keep age-related mental decline, like dementia, at bay.  And, the Mayo Clinic, one of the most famous health care complexes in the world, says that these games are rooted in science.  Ideally, any amount of cognitive freshness that you gain from playing memory improvement games would ultimately carry over into your daily life.  So, you would be able to remember more information in your life, such as names and where you left your cell phone.

What Are the Results of Studies?

The biggest problem with memory improvement games is that the studies conducted to determine their effectiveness were mostly conducted on rodents.  So, whether or not these activities definitively help enhance human brain performance is not an easy thing to answer.  However, some reports suggest that brain exercises that specifically target reasoning skills could provide some long-term benefits.  Subjects who received short training sessions didn’t show any improvement in daily activities after two years, but they did after five years.  This may have been more noticeable because the control group started experiencing more cognitive decline after five years.  So, this study could point to some promising results from doing certain kinds of training sessions.  The caveat is that these were non-computerized, so this study doesn’t mean your brain app on your phone will actually help you in the long run.

How Else Can You Help Your Brain?

Perhaps the most effective thing you can do to keep your brain – and your whole body – healthy is to eat well, maintain an active lifestyle, and engage in social stimuli.  If you are supplying your brain with the proper nutrients while keeping your body healthy, you can prevent a whole host of health problems besides just memory loss.  It’s important to say that there is no surefire way to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and other hereditary degenerative diseases, though maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most effective.  However, if you do have Alzheimer’s, you may be able to lessen some of the symptoms by remaining as engaged in the world as you can.

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