The jury is still out on the effectiveness of brain games

I’ve always been leery when I purchase something that needs assembling. In fact when the sales clerk tells me it’s so simple that even a child can do it, that’s when my inner-self wants me to say, “Then, let a child do it!”
The same is true when I attempt to play those supposedly brain-training games. Recently, I came across a 192-page book of mind puzzles that was given to me as a gift several years ago. It had been barely opened even when claimed it could build your brain power in just a few minutes a day. As you may have guessed the book of crosswords, word ladders, mazes, cryptograms, Sudoku, etc. had been opened just a few times and held evidence when only a few pages had pencil scratches of my meager attempts. My efforts showed I was not a good candidate for brain training.
Over the years I’ve carried a guilt feeling with my inability of not being able to bring my brain up to snuff. However just the other day the Journal of Neurosciences gave me new hope when it published a report of a study on brain games related to an individual’s improved mental performance. Let me clarify I am not a regular reader of that journal, but their report was greeted with my open arms when a study claimed after 10 weeks of video games the group of tested participants showed there was no evidence of improved individual mental performance. However, the study qualified the findings by saying some judgement was still out when it comes to older adults.
I’m still going to try to keep my head in the game, but not with my mind puzzle book. That’s been given away to someone certainly brainier than me and has the necessary mental reserves. In the meantime I’ll struggle with my limitations and hold out hope because I have the excuse that I’m classified as an “older adult.”
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 I heard Grandma Betterhalf caution her grandson that in the very near future men will eat baked beans and say: “Ah dear, these are just like the kind mother used to open.”
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Remember your temper is one of the few things that will improve the longer you keep it.
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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