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Video games can increase mental longevity

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I guess I need to start gaming more! :)

Apparently, learning things on the Web also counts as a game:

Video games and Web-based technology have come into the spotlight as good ways to maintain a healthy brain.

Not only have scientists discovered that the brain is able to generate new cells — contrary to the belief that once brain cells are gone there’s no way to get them back — they also have found that the brain’s ability to change is not something that stops when the brain starts aging. The brain is malleable, ever changing and capable of sustained improvement, attributed to something scientists call neuroplasticity.

It doesn't matter WHICH game or website you use, as long as you keep trying new things and keep learning.

The reason games help your brain is that you have to learn and apply rules.

Learning is what keeps the brain active!

A healthy brain is all about creating more connections among neurons:

Dr. Brandon Ally, a neurologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who specializes in the study and treatment of dementia, says it’s all about the connections we make.

“The more connections we have, the longer we can stave off dementia,” Ally said.

The connections he’s talking about are connections among neurons in the brain. Neurons are the brain’s way of communicating with itself and the nervous system. They transmit and process the information necessary for a functioning, healthy body and mind.

I've also read that learning that activates both the left and right brain produce the most benefit. Thus, two of the best things to do in our middle to later age are learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument. Apparently those utilize both hemispheres. So the ultimate feat would be to sing a Russian folk song while playing the ukulele.

It seems like it is a LOT easier for a child to learn a language or musical instrument.

Do you know anyone who has tried Rosetta Stone?

I have actually tried Rosetta Stone, though I didn't go through a whole course. I liked their approach of mixing visual and audio cues into patterns that were naturally processed and retained. You are actually reminding me that I should go back and finish a course. I think Rosetta Stone may be one of the simpler ways for people to learn a language, especially when they are older.

It seems like learning an instrument boosts verbal memory in kids too.

...which is why we encourage kids to learn an instrument.

Good to hear about Rosetta Stone, by the way.

May I suggest for language learning?  Language professors' recommendation.

Never heard of it. Have you tried it?

I have heard good things about it. It's been used by the state department for years to train foreign dignitaries. 

I've used it for Spanish, in my car, to and from work.  The learning is done in 30-minute segments.  Best part:  I checked out the CD's from the library for free. The CD's were expensive; they now have a more affordable MP3 offering.

You said the magic words: "free!" I need to go try it out.

Please report back if you do.

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