Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Keep Your Brain Alive

If you've read my profile, you know one of the reasons I decided to take up chess again was for the good of my brain. Recently, PBS Television has started a new series called Life (Part 2) for those of us approaching (or past) the age of fifty. On the show there has been a lot of good advice on how to exercise the aging brain to keep it healthy. In one episode, The Aging Brain, Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D., (a Harvard-trained neurobiologist, and the director of the genetics and aging research unit at the Massachusetts General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease) was asked how can we keep our brains healthy:

The best way to do this is exercise, both physical and mental. Learn new things, or do routine things in a different way. Take a new route to work, or try golfing or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. (Hey, it just might improve your game!)

As part of the recommendation "do routine things in a different way" Dr Tanzi recommends the book Keep Your Brain Alive - 83 Neurobic Exercises to help prevent memory loss and increase mental fitness by Dr. Lawrence C. Katz.

I purchased a copy of this book and I highly recommend it. It makes for fascinating reading and has dozens of intriguing brain exercises. The 83 exercises given are not logic puzzles or memory exercises but "nuerobic exercises" that "use the five senses in novel ways to make the brain more agile and flexible overall so it can take on any mental challenge, whether it be memory, task performance, or creativity."

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