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These “brain games”, developed with neuroscientists by our partner Lumosity, are designed to enhance specific cognitive functions: attention, working memory, speed of processing, and cognitive flexibility. They go by different names: brain exercises, brain training, cognitive exercises, concentration games, memory games, mind teaser riddles, mind games.
One thing we know: They’re fun.
Can brain training really play a role in a lifestyle program to keep your brain young? “According to a recent National Institutes of Health report, cognitive exercise is the only thing with a high degree of evidence for slowing age-related cognitive decline,” says Joe Hardy, Ph.D., Lumosity’s senior director of research and development. To be sure, “no game has been proven to prevent Alzheimer’s disease or even improve day-to-day abilities,” says Duke University psychiatrist and Alzheimer's expert P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and co-author of The Alzheimer's Action Plan: What You Need to Know—and What You Can Do—about Memory Problems, from Prevention to Early Intervention and Care. “But these games are based on sound science,” says Dr. Doraiswamy, who has no financial connection to Lumosity. “They can improve specific cognitive abilities.”
A healthy lifestyle is key to keeping your brain young. “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain,” says Dr. Doraiswamy. “A balanced diet and physical activity three or four times a week is not only good for the heart, but improves blood flow to the brain, and boosts brain growth factors.” Other important factors are being socially active, and, perhaps most important, curious. “Try new things, new kinds of cultures, new books. Curiosity stimulates the brain like fertilizer, stimulating it to make new connections.”
So be curious. Try something new. Like brain games. Think of doing these cognitive exercises like joining a brain gym, an online way to improve your cognitive skills. We hope you find them as fun as we do. To learn more about what each game does, read on.