Another interesting article in the Wall Street Journal by Melinda Beck where she talks about neurobics or rather mental exercises which may have a role in preventing or rather delaying the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s dementia.
As she rightly points out in her article, the etiology of Alzheimer’s dementia is thought to involve genetic and environmental factors and it is unlikely that mental exercises (neurobics) shall prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. But research and studies have shown that people who have a good neuronal reserve (higher intellect) seem to fair better when they get stricken by Alzheimer’s dementia as compared to people who are less educated and I guess with lower neuronal reserve.
So I would advise everyone to indulge in neurobics everyday. It is easy to do, has no side-effects and possible benefits.
Some neurobics I recommend:
1) If you are right handed, try brushing with your left hand (and vice versa if you are left handed).
2) If you are right handed, try eating with your left hand (and vice versa if you are left handed).
3) try writing with your non-dominant hand (now this is hard and painfully slow at times)
4) do crossword puzzles, number games
5) learn to play chess
6) learn to play a musical instrument (drums are great since they require a lot of hand coordination)
7) avoid using palm pilots and hand held devices. Commit more things to your memory. You do not need a palm pilot to remind you what you going to do during the day.
8) Read books and newspapers instead of watching TV all the time. Remember when you are watching TV, you are doing nothing. You are just a passive spectator. When you read, you use your brain.
9) avoid using calculators. Try to balance your cheque books without the aid of calculators.
10) be Sherlock Holmes for a day. Try to memorize all the number plates you see while driving to work. (As he would say “elimentary my dear Watson” )
11) Exercise everyday. Regular exercise like walking or running is good for the brain.
12) Sleep well at night for at least 8 hours.
13) Drink alcohol in moderation.
14) learn a new skill: learn how to swim, play golf, play tennis etc.
Happy neurobics everyone.
Nitin Sethi, MD