October 6, 2006
Yahoo Health
S. Brent Ridge, M.D.

Most of you have been told that keeping the mind active is the best thing you can do to keep it working at peak performance, but, let’s face it, sometimes crossword puzzles get boring, and they start using the same clues over and over.

Thank goodness that technology is there to save us from mind malaise.

If you can wrest your kids’ or grandkids’ Nintendo DS console out of their hands long enough, you could easily spend hours with the BrainAge program. Using this program reminded me a little of the lights and sound memory game of my youth, called “Simon.”

You begin your work with the program by first taking a little test to determine your true brain age. This is surely an over-simplification but helps establish a nice benchmark for you to follow as you go along. The program consists of many fun and engaging activities to help stimulate the brain, and after engaging for a week or two, you should be able to see an improvement in your brain age.

While there have been studies suggesting that high cognitive ability throughout life helps stave off dementia (for instance, the famous Nun Study), there is really very little evidence showing that targeted cognitive exercises can prevent the onset of memory loss.

The company Posit Science intends to change that. The neuroscientists at Posit Science have developed a comprehensive brain program designed to improve memory, thinking, and communication, and are pouring resources into research to not only perfect the program but to determine which interventions can successfully give your brain function a boost.

The program is simple to learn. At first, you may find yourself annoyed when you can’t perform the tasks at 100 percent, but it quickly becomes addictive as you see yourself improving.

You can purchase the program to use in your own home (it’s a little pricey) or at a memory center – the company is currently working with organizations around the country to set up these memory centers (aka, fitness clubs for the brain). Check out www.positscience.com.

My boss has always encouraged us to “learn something new every day,” and I don’t think there’s any better advice that I could give you. Whether it’s a new hi-tech toy or ancient Greek, nothing builds those brain synapses better than learning.