Daily mental workout 'boosts the brain'

Posted Apr 29, 2008 by Chris V. Thangham
Researchers say playing daily brain teasers will increase mental agility. Just like regular physical exercises, mental exercises are also essential to keep the mind fit
Scrabulous is an online game similar to Scrabble. It has become enormously popular on the social networking site Facebook.
Screenshot by Premkudva
Researchers from University of Bern, Switzerland and University of Michigan conducted a study to see whether mental skills improved with daily brain teaser games.
The researchers developed computer-based tests, which challenges the individual according to their ability. They thought these tests were more effective than other commonly available tests.
They did these tests on 35 volunteers for 25 minutes daily, while another set of 35 volunteers were not given any tests at all.
The tests included hearing letters of the alphabet and recalling whether it was the same as one heard three steps earlier, and also being shown patterned squares and asked to match them with ones which had appeared previously.
If the volunteers answered it correctly, the computer gave them harder questions.
The volunteers were tested for their abilities before and after the study and compared them with those that didn’t undergo any tests.
After the tests, all the volunteers were given a series of problems unrelated to the computer tasks and were asked to solve them. Those who had been tested performed “significantly better” than their untested counterparts.
Professor Walter Perrig of the University of Bern, one of the team leaders for this study told BBC: "The difference was most pronounced in those who had been slower to start with, but the mental ability of everyone who had taken part improved."
There are many computer-based brain exercises but a detailed study has not been carried out until now.
The researchers have published their findings in the current journal of "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.:
Dr. Susanne Jaeggi, team leader for this study compared this daily brain exercise to sports.
You cannot expect to get better in football if you merely run around a little bit.
I agree with Dr. Jaeggi. The brain needs as much exercise as any other part of the body. Playing daily either crossword puzzles or Scrabble, Sudoku, Mahjongg or some video games might help the brain. One study even pointed out that keeping your brain and body active may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.