Do Brain Games Really Work?
By Jenna Weiss R-DMT, LNHA, Director of Learning at LiveWell
There are challenges associated with supporting clients diagnosed with cognitive impairment and the lack of post diagnostic community resources. Where can clients access healthy lifestyle supports when we know health and well-being habits are important to work on?
If you are a professional who is looking for community supports for your clients to access post diagnosis, LiveWell launches its new summer semester of courses and workshops focused on health and well-being. www.livewell.org/learning-with-us
We all recognize the importance of learning new things for our brain health. New skill development creates new neural pathways, boosts dopamine releases, stimulates confidence and keeps us from getting bored. Learning a new skill that stimulates both right and left sides of the cerebral cortex, for example, is double good, like learning an instrument or to knit or play squash. So, what about brain games?
As one of the millions of adult children with a family history of ancestral of ancestral cognitive decline diagnosis, I am becoming more and more interested in different ways to keep my own brain healthy. Because I am also a professional working in healthcare, I am especially attuned to the variety of disabilities created when different areas of the brain begin to break down. I’m talking word retrieval, spatial awareness, paying attention, problem solving in addition to memory recall. I am aware of the negative effects of stress, but with that in check, what else am I paying attention to?
A few months ago, my daughter- who is also interested in brain health as a result of her own brain impacting Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, sent me the New York Times Wordle. I thought I’d give it a try! https://www.nytimes.com/games/wordle/index.html. After several weeks, I’ve gotten better. Each day I get better, well, most days! Then she sent me the Wordle on steroids, the Quordle. https://www.quordle.com/#/. I’ve shared it with my mom, and we are now in competition – friendly competition . . .
Turns out the research says brain games are great for folks with a diagnosis of cognitive change, but good for me too! Brain games support visuo-motor coordination, memory, attention, language retrieval and cognitive speed and accuracy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5930973/
In 2020, Neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Braun’s released her new book, High Octane Brain that says paying attention to lifestyle factors including new learning alongside exercise, healthy eating, lowering stress and getting better sleep as the keys to longitudinal brain health.
Whether you like Lumosity, Braingle or the daily Wordle, try a brain game with a friend for some healthy competition and engage in preventative health for your brain!
Check out LiveWell’s Brain Healthy courses both in-person and online as an option for maintaining brain health with or without a cognitive related diagnosis. www.livewell.org/learningwithus