Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sudoku and Aging

Recently I was talking to my mother on the phone and she said that she has taken up Sudoku to keep her brain active. It appears that keeping the brain active as we age is helpful for a number of reasons. Scientists say a daily dose of such exercises improves the memory and even the condition of dementia patients.

In Japan, where senior citizens are not as averse to "gadgets" as my mother is, Nintendo has sold a combined total of more than 3.3 million of its “Brain Training for Adults” released in May 2005 and a sequel that came out last December. Its portable DS consoles on which the games are played are constantly out of stock in shops.

“I wanted to make a contribution to society through my findings, to tell the world that you can train the brain,” said Ryuta Kawashima, professor of brain science at Tohoku University, whose theory has been featured in many books and video games.

Not to be outdone, Sony is also in on the act. In the photo, Japanese women play PlayStation Portables (PSP) during a "brain training" program in Yokohama, west of Tokyo. Sony Computer Entertainment, which has the "Brain Trainer" using Kawashima's theory for its PSP console, is holding "Video Game Workshops for Grown-ups", in a bid to appeal to older generations.

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