Brain Fitness Exercises : Preventing Alzheimer's Disease?

Discover the latest research on how brain training and cognitively stimulating activities can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and dementia. Learn about the most effective activities and programs, and how to choose the right one for you.

Brain Fitness Exercises : Preventing Alzheimer's Disease?
Brain Fitness Exercises are part of an Alzheimer's Disease Prevention Plan

Do brain fitness exercises prevent Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia?

Since it was first named as a disease: Alzheimer’s Disease, people have been trying to find a way to prevent or cure it.  We have tried, medicine and drugs, vitamins and supplements, herbs and tonics.

We tried to invent new medicine. We tried to repurpose existing medicine. We looked at treatments from other cultures; Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and ayurvedic medicine.

Most recently... western science has attempted to prevent or postpone Alzheimer’s with brain training.

The concept is ... if you can exercise the body and build it up to withstand changes from aging ... then you could do the same for the brain.

Surprisingly, this approach has consistently shown the most promise in the last 12 years.

  • In 2002 a study published the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), concluded that... people participating in activities that stimulate the brain had... a 33% reduction in risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A 2006 JAMA article, has reinforced that brain training showed significant long-term improvement
  • The New England Journal of Medicine published a study... on “Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly”. Again the study showed reduced risk for dementia.
  • The Scientific Journal, Neurology found similar results,. The more you ‘exercised’ your brain, the more resistant you will be to developing dementia.
  • The British Journal of Psychiatry in 2006... did a cost-effective analysis of using brain stimulation therapy. As expected, found it to be much more affordable than any other treatment tested.

More on brain fitness exercises…

The research goes on and on.

The weak link in all this research is developing a standard of ... “cognitively stimulating activities”.

So how can we be certain from study to study, which activities are most effective and which are not?

The biggest challenge I have as a Gerontologist is giving caregivers this information,. And answering the inevitable next question: What activities should I be doing?

When I was a speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association... I would advise that people try learning a new language. Or try challenging brain games like Sudoku or Crossword Puzzles.

The problem is you can’t get much results from doing activities that you are already are good at.

For example... if you have been doing crossword puzzles for years, then there is very little ‘growth’ in new brain connections.

Benefits come from doing new and challenging activities.

There are programs that you can do, like Wii games that call themselves “Brain Training”.

Using the same research I mentioned above... these games try to infer that what they are selling will produce the same results.

But that is not necessarily true.

Advertising is a very sneaky business.  But as a professional, I would recommend any of these games or programs because... doing something is better than doing nothing.

But I would not endorse any of them. Because there is no independent research that confirms their product ... will get the same results as the research, except one.

I first became aware of Dakim Brain Fitness Software. In 2011 at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) and I met the owner Dan Michael. He developed the idea when he was caring for his own father suffering from Alzheimer’s.

What set Dakim and Dan apart from everyone else was his discipline and faithfulness to the current research on... Cognitively Stimulating Activities.

He approached and recruited the finest minds in dementia treatment and research. Dr. Gary Small the director of the UCLA Center on Aging, Dr. Helena Chui chairman of the Dept. of Neurology at USC, and Jeffery Cummings the director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s center to name a few.

The collaboration was so thorough that Dakim was used in a formal research study . The information was presented in March 2010 at the... Annual Meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.

Again showing that brain training was quite effective!

For those are looking for a way to build some insurance against developing the disease... or looking for an effective tool that might help a family member in the early stages... while anything on the market will do. If you can afford to spend a little more money, your best bet is Dakim.  In the end it may turn out to be the most effective use of your money and time…and brain.

What are you doing for brain fitness? What are you doing with your family member with dementia to slow progression of the disease? Please share here? Help others realize that they are not alone. Submit Your Caregiver Story
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