The idea that brain games can help us stay mentally fit as we age has been controversial—some studies indicate a benefit, others show that such games only improve your ability to play games, and that those skills don't translate into mental fitness in other areas.
A new study done at UCLA finds that such games can improve general memory in older adults. They compared a group of people who played computerized mental fitness games nearly 3 times a week (for 20 minutes each time) for six months with a control group that played the games less often. They found that the people who played more games experienced significant improvement in memory and language skills in comparison to the people who played fewer games. The study subjects had an average age of 84, but it seems likely that games could help us younger folks too.
The study was funded by Dakim Brain Fitness, a company which manufactures the games used in the study. Although the research was paid for by a group that clearly stands to profit from these results, that doesn't mean that the research wasn't objective: the American Psychological Association awarded the study with a Blue Ribbon Award, which is based on "methodological rigor, merit, and potential impact on the science and practice of clinical neuropsychology."
For an immediate hit of mental fitness, head over to the free brain games we have here on Life Goes Strong.
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