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31
Mar 2010

Stay Sharp, Play Games!

That last post I made hinted at the old yarn that laughter is the best medicine, evidenced by boisterous laughing that resulted from a couple games of Apples to Apples we played on Saturday night. Just a few days later came this article in the Wall Street Journal focused on ways to “outsmart Alzheimer’s,” one tactic of which includes playing games. Games to the rescue yet again! And further proof that good fun is good for you.

One of the key points of the article is that there still is no medication available that can curb progression of the disease once it sets in. Drugs given to Alzheimer’s patients today help address individual symptoms but can’t keep the disease from advancing. ” ‘By the time someone walks in my door with symptoms of the disease, it’s too late,’ to stop it,” quotes one of the doctors in the story.

So the trick becomes working to put off initial onset of the disease as long as possible. And along with exercise and good diet habits, keeping the brain engaged, stimulated and challenged is one piece of the puzzle to keeping Alzheimer’s at bay. One women cited in the article, aged 85, is participating in a project to track cognitive fitness of people at risk of Alzheimer’s (genetically or family history). She attends programs at a nearby community center “where she plays cards and board games like Connect 4 and Mastermind.” … ” ‘I am much better at recalling names now,’ Ms. Shackell says. ‘When I go into another room, I remember why I went in.’ ”

Hmmmm. That happens to me now. Forgetting names. Why did I come in here?

I’m going to prescribe for myself a little more game play. I can use as much mental sharpness as I can get.