Can you work out your brain?
Youtube has recently been bombarding me with adverts for ‘luminosity’, promising me a way to train up my brain in pretty much the same way we can work out our bodies by going to the gym. This cultural phenomenon made famous perhaps by Brain Training on the Nintendo DS, does sound enticing. Wouldn’t we all want to stay intellectually sharp, especially into the years that are famous for bringing senility?
But is this even a possibility? Are our brains truly as flexible as our muscles are?
Well, there certainly seems to be some gain for keeping active into old age, from what I’ve read anyway, it would seem that keeping an active lifestyle correlates with less chance of dementia. In this scenario however, it is what we would generally call ‘working out our bodies’, but this doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have an effect on the brain, after all, the brain is part of the body, and anyone who doesn’t recognize that needs to learn some basic biology. It’s also possible that those people who stay active for longer in their life aren’t experiencing as high a frequency of dementia for a different reason, one that we haven’t focused in on yet.
I get the impression from what I’ve read and heard that we don’t have anywhere near enough data on whether intelligence can be boosted/maintained by these sorts of programs to warrant selling them like a working product, but perhaps I’ve missed something, perhaps there’s been a recent breakthrough that allows this business to make the claim. On the whole though, if you want to keep your mind sharp, I don’t see any substitute than to keep learning stuff… and regular exercise and a healthy diet… that’s pretty sound advice for everything, even if I don’t usually manage to adhere to the latter myself.