With the Alzheimer's Association's current estimates showing 10 million baby boomers will go through the degenerative disease, many are determined to fight back with brain fitness programs, CNN reported Wednesday. Nintendo's Brain Age is but one of a series of games and puzzles, such as crosswords and sudoku, meant to keep memory loss and signs of dementia at bay. Chris Santos is not an old man. He began putting his brain through a series of mental exercises at 25. That was seven years ago, and Santos has since won the 2008 USA Memory Championship, proving he could learn 100 new names, faces and random words in 15 minutes as well as by memorizing the contents and order of a shuffled deck of cards in
"People are capable of doing so much more with their brains than they think is possible," Santos told CNN.
The former software company employee is now a full-time memory technique instructor.
Though cell phones, email and GPS systems now aid users in remembering numbers, addresses or directions, the dependence on external machinery (phones can now be "smartphones") has made achieving an independently honed memory no simpler.
Perhaps that could be one of the reasons behind the boom in brain fitness software, a market that, according to SharpBrains report, garnered $225 million in revenues in 2007 alone.
University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth medical science director Dr. John Hart Jr. said that while proof of success is not yet absolute and that no one exercise would work on an everyday basis and for certain, brain fitness programs could add to and improve upon the benefits new knowledge could do to stave off mental decline by performing drills targeted at cognitive abilities such as information retention and concentration.
No one has yet found a cure for Alzheimers, but maybe emerging software could become a temporary sort of tourniquet.