Mental ability and
sharpness can be increased by keeping the brain active and agile. Mental
exercises are extremely beneficial for your brain health.
The famous idiom, 'use
it or lose' is aptly correct when applied to either muscles or brain.
Having a lifestyle
that is capable of stimulating your mental functions such as reading, writing,
playing games or solving puzzles, promises you healthy aging of brain.
According to the
researchers, mental exercises are helpful in restoring and protecting
structural integrity of the brain in older people.
that human brain, if kept busy during old age, can enhance brain acuteness and
Arfanakis of the Rush University Medical Center and Illinois Institute of
Technology, Chicago conducted a study for assessing the importance of mental
exercises in improving the mental sharpness during old age.
Around 152 volunteers
were enrolled (average age 81 years) from Rush Memory and Aging Project, a
project aimed at investigating the 'risk factor for Alzheimer's disease'.
All the volunteers
were clinically examined for any cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's ailments
They rated the
frequency with which they read the newspaper, played games, played cards, wrote
a letter, using a scale of 1 to 5.
The scientists used
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technique called diffusion tensor imaging
(DTI) for evaluating the movement of water molecules in various areas of the
brain. Higher diffusion rates are indicative of healthy and sound brain.
the lead author of the study said, "Lower diffusion anisotropy values are
consistent with aging."
The study revealed a
positive relation between cognitive activity in the brain and diffusion values
in the brain. The scientists observed that individuals engaging in mental
activities or exercises in old age had diffusion anisotropy values identical to
Prof. Arfanakis mentioned, "Several areas
throughout the brain, including regions quite important to cognition, showed
higher microstructural integrity with more frequent cognitive activity in late
life. Keeping the brain occupied late in life has positive outcomes. Reading
the newspaper, writing letters, visiting a library, attending a play or playing
games, such as chess or checkers, are all simple activities that can contribute
to a healthier brain."