It’s wonderful to believe that “brain training” will help us preserve and even improve our cognitive functions. Everyone wants to stay coherent and capable as long as they live.
Brain training usually consists of mental exercises, usually in the form of games, that purport to keep your mind sharp and improve your reasoning process. According to mind game proponents, the skills learned from these exercises transfer to the activities of your daily life.
But new studies don’t agree.
Researchers at King's College London discovered that mental exercises, or "brain training," can improve people's everyday lives, helping with tasks such as using public transport, shopping, cooking and managing personal finances.
On the other hand:
If healthy older users neglect the proven benefits of physical exercise in favour of the games then they could be harming their health, according to a study commissioned by US health organisation Lifespan and published in the health journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.
It found "no evidence... brain exercise programmes delay or slow progression of cognitive changes in healthy elderly."
So, which is it? Until there is more definitive proof, I intend to stay the course and not go overboard: moderate daily exercise, good nutrition, sufficient sleep (but not too much), and if I find a brain training game I enjoy, I’ll give it a shot.