As anyone who has a morning routine knows, it's easy to go through the motions on autopilot. While that may help individuals get through the morning before the first cup of coffee, it may not be good for brain health. Autopilot requires less brain activity - and just like any muscle, the brain can atrophy if it's not constantly stretched.
"People take in a lot of information—probably more than we ever have before—but it's not making us smarter because we're not spending much time making sense of it," Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, chief director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas, told Time Magazine.
To keep your brain sharp, there are two different steps to take. Time Magazine advised keeping your heart rate up by incorporating exercise into your routine. The extra boost of oxygen and blood flow to the brain increases efficiency and provides extra fuel. Individuals get give their brain a boost by running, cycling or walking several times per week.
Another way to keep the brain functioning properly is to incorporate brain games. But, Chapman warned, they have to be the right kind of games. These tasks have to be mentally stimulating and interesting to participants in order to truly engage them. A new study from The University of Cambridge substantiates this, especially as it relates to fighting Alzheimer's.
Brain games that work on memory and cognition
A new study published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology studied amnestic mild cognitive impairment - and how to best fight it. The researchers noted that there is no current medical treatment for this decline in brain functioning. Symptoms can include forgetting important dates or recent conversations, according to the Alzheimer's Association. As a result, individuals may start to show irritation or frustration at this forgetfulness.
In this study, 42 participants played a quiz show on an iPad that tested their ability to remember different geometric shapes. For each correct answer, participants received gold coins. Each level continued to increase in difficulty, and only stopped once individuals incorrectly answered six questions. Individuals who continued to play the game saw a 40 percent improvement in memory scores, especially episodic memory.
Engage clients to boost memory
Clients can add memory games to their daily routine to sharpen their mental faculties. This may help slow the progression of mild cognitive impairment. To learn more about how to cope with Alzheimer's, reach out to Interim HealthCare today.