Do Brain Apps Really Improve and Maintain Brain Health?
For years we’ve been hearing about the role games can play in keeping your brain healthy. As technology has evolved to become a part of daily life, there are a variety of apps that claim to do the same thing as old fashioned board games and card games. The question many older adults may be asking themselves is whether or not games and apps really keep your brain fit.
We decided to dig a little deeper into the issue to find answers.
Research Supporting Game Playing and Brain Health
There have been a variety of studies that examined whether or not brain games and apps really work. One trial was conducted at the University of Michigan and another at Brown University. Both are highly regarded research institutions.
Participants in groups at both institutions worked on the brain app, Lumosity. Each person spent several hours every day in the lab working with the app. The study lasted several months.
Researchers at both universities found that the seniors who faithfully worked these brain health programs every day had an improvement in both attention span and memory. This led to a boost in working memory, a skill essential in completing the activities of daily life.
Researchers Who Doubt Brain Apps Help
There are many naysayers who question the effectiveness of brain apps. Dr. John Swartzberg from the University of California’s Berkley School of Public Health is among them. He calls the claims made by these brain apps and programs “exaggerated and misleading.” He believes older adults’ time is better spent pursuing physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet and living a socially engaged life.
Researchers at Georgia Tech agreed. They duplicated the study conducted at the University of Michigan and Brown University with a group of 11,000 participants over six weeks. They set tighter parameters for participants and maintained a more controlled study environment. Their research seemed to indicate that games helped to improve only the process of executing daily tasks. Brain games and apps didn’t improve any other brain functions.
Proven Methods for Keeping Your Brain Healthier
While researchers continue to explore and debate this issue, there are other steps seniors and caregivers can take to maintain brain health. They include:
- You Are What You Eat: A healthy, well-balanced diet can help adults decrease the risk for a variety of illnesses ranging from high cholesterol to strokes. Avoiding these types of health conditions, helps protect blood flow to the brain.
- Stay Socially Engaged: Loneliness is a serious health risk for seniors. It has proven links to chronic health conditions ranging from high blood pressure to obesity. Staying socially connected and engaged with life helps promote a healthy body and brain. Easier access to life enrichment opportunities is a leading reason older adults in the Seattle area move to an Era Living community.
- Keep Moving: Getting thirty minutes of some type of exercise at least four days a week can help cut your risk for cardiac disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes. Each of these illnesses has been linked to various types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.
We’ll continue to share news like this here on our blog each week. We also encourage you to “Like” us on Facebook. We share new information to help you stay up-to-date with the latest research on successful aging!