A brainteaser game improves long-term memory, short-term memory, and language.
When I was a kid, I used to spend summers hanging out with my cousins at my aunt and uncle's berry farm, picking berries, barbecuing hamburgers, setting off firecrackers -- usual kid summertime stuff.
The drill was always the same: get up at the crack of dawn, pick berries before it got too hot, and sit in the garage to watch the customers come through. Because there was one customer every week we waited for: Miz Whatchacallitthere. A chain-smoking, human equivalent of Twitter, she was skinny as a greyhound and had the dirt on everybody in town.
She just had one little problem -- all the stories went something like this: "Well, I was drivin' to, oh, whatchacallitthere because I wanted to get one of them whatchacallitthere because of my arthritis, and who did I see coming out of Spencers, big as life, but that little, um, whatchacallitthere and that Hoyt MacCallum and he had his hand..." Which was always the point at which my aunt would cut in, stopping Miz Whatchacallitthere just before she said something that we all knew was going to be red-hot. They'd go out to her car to finish the conversation, my aunt would come back and lay into us for giggling, and we'd wait around until the next week to do it all again.
Well, a few decades have gone by. My aunt tore out all of the berries years ago and Miz Whatchacallitthere went to the great beauty shop in the sky. Things are little different for me, too. All the little factoids and sources that used to be at my fingertips take a little while more these days. Sometimes I just have to be patient, sometimes I have to sneak up on it, and sometimes I have to do a SQL query to get whatever name or place or thing it is I'm looking for. In the meantime...
I turn into Miz Whatchacallitthere.
I know, I know, I'm being punished. What goes around comes around, so they say. At any rate, I was delighted this morning to find a press release in my inbox about a study in which researchers discovered that playing computer games improved memory and language skills in senior citizens. The multicenter study used Dakim BrainFitness, software designed to exercise the brain.
The results showed that doing as few as 40 sessions over the course of six months provided measurable improvement in immediate memory, delayed memory, and language. Obviously, the group that did it faithfully reportedly reaped the best for words, but every little bit helps.
Now, of course with these sorts of studies, the first question you need to ask is who is paying for the research (that would be Dakim). The results are still interesting. Brains have a large percentage of spare cells and excel in plasticity -- finding new neural paths to perform tasks. It makes sense that exercising would improve them just as exercise can help stroke victims recover in the aftermath of an incident. Me, I don't care who paid for the study, I figure it's probably worth shelling out for the software. I figure I'll go online and buy it at whatchacallitthere.
I never did find out who Hoyt MacCallum was with.