Brain games

By Ann Griswold • Published: August 11th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The aging brain is like an outdated computer… as you get older, your memory gets worse, you think more slowly and let’s face it… your thinking cap eventually needs a new hard drive and a bit more RAM.

Now, an array of video games promise to keep your brain spry well into your golden years. The so-called “cognitive training” market is a big business, netting more than two-hundred-million dollars in 2007. The concept of brain exercise took hold in the late nineties, when a large clinical study of nearly three-thousand elderly volunteers found the exercises yielded lasting improvements in brain function.

The video games are marketed by companies such as Nintendo. But rather than catering to teens and twenty-somethings, these “brain fitness” games are targeted to senior citizens or children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Some of the video games make brain training fun by flashing images of monsters on the screen and asking you to remember where the monsters were and to navigate a path around them. Other games require players to decipher a quote from an Egyptian hieroglyph or find hidden words in a puzzle.

The latest games are sold either as C-Ds, online subscriptions or Nintendo games and range in price from ten dollars to upwards of four-hundred dollars. Many companies allow consumers to preview the games for free on their Web site before they purchase.

Want to learn more? Google Nintendo Brain Age, Happy Neuron or Lumosity and start that circuit workout!