It turns out the brain stimulation, not brain training, is what prevents cognitive decline in our brains. This stimulation is best enhanced by social interaction, especially in a foreign language.
Anna Magee’s article (link) in the Telegrap highlight a Harvard study in which “super-agers” were shown to have brains that resemble those of people a third their age.
“In the next 10 years we’re going to get more and more evidence about the things people can do to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia,” says Craig Ritchie, professor of the psychiatry of ageing at the University of Edinburgh who is leading the trial.
Brain stimulation, not brain training, is essential in preventing cognitive decline, says Prof. Ritchie. The key to the former is social interaction, he says.
“Chatting, being socially interactive with friends and in a work environment is probably what lights up your brain more than anything else. I often get asked, ‘I do lots of crosswords and Sudoku, will that protect me from dementia?’”
But the evidence now suggests that taking up new hobbies and interests that challenge you are more beneficial. “So, if you’ve done crosswords your whole life, learning to play the piano at 65 is going to have more benefit on your cognitive health than keeping doing things you have always done.”