I might have been around 5 when I started to write numerals. I don’t remember it as tedious work. The process just happened and gradually I improved. My most memorable math experience happened in third grade. I recited the multiplication tables to my teacher before anyone else, so she posted my name on a gold star on the wall.
My brain, once so eager to push itself, has become stagnant in its total reliance on a calculator to do basic math.
Recently, my neurons fired when I read about “neurogenesis” and how new brain cell growth can happen in adults. That is encouraging!
According to “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program,” by Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan, “Our DNA controls neurogenesis by producing brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which appears to influence future brain health” (Pg. 110).
Fascinating stuff. If you are lucky enough to inherit a healthy form of BDNF, “you have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease” (The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, Pg. 111). I would like to know if I inherited a healthy form of BDNF, wouldn’t you?
Well, even if my parents did not gift me with healthy BDNF, there are exercises I can do to engage my brain’s memory center. “You have control over what you do with your brain from moment to moment, and what you choose to do has an impact on how much and how well your brain can absorb and retain new information” (The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program, Pg. 111).
Wow. Are you motivated to put down the calculator? I am. To help me in my quest to retain information, I started completing brain exercises at http://www.lumosity.com. Not all the exercises involve math, but I feel like I am getting a gold star every time my score increases. My brain likes that and it is free!
Check it out and let me know your favorite brain games!
One response to “Brain Games”
FYI: I wrote this blog post in 2013 and in 2016 the FTC sued Lumosity.
“Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”