With all the focus these days on “brain training” games, I got to thinking about a valuable lesson I had on training the brain when my infant son was about 18 months old.
Educational toys that “enhanced brain development” in young children were gaining in popularity. One of these toys was a box with a lid containing differently shaped holes and matching coloured blocks, which the child was required to fit into the holes.. Being a creative mom, and rather short of ready cash for these expensive games, I made my own version out of a coffee can with a plastic lid. I triumphantly placed the tin in front of him, and the shaped blocks beside the tin. With baited breath, I waited to see whether he could put those blocks through the correct shaped hole. My son looked at the tin, looked at the blocks, and then he gave me a long silent look. With no further ado, he peeled the lid off the can, put the blocks inside, and replaced the lid. Then, he gave me another long silent look. That was the end of me thinking I was going to find ways to train his brain.
As more research into neuroscience becomes public, anxiety concerning our cognitive abilities, including memory, is on the rise. Brain fitness has become the latest option to turn to, and it’s a growing industry. An article in The Vancouver Sun recently, discussed this new fitness field with the CEO whose company is one of the frontrunners in developing this industry. Alvaro Fernandez suggests that in the future “people will enlist the help of brain-fitness trainers to sharpen their minds, and athletes will be able use tablets and smartphones to check whether they have suffered a concussion.”…..
It seems brain training is becoming mainstream, and not just for seniors. Younger people, recovering from brain traumas or other illnesses, say that they find these games helpful. However, this interest in how to improve our brain functions does not stop at the use of games. People who used to drink interminable cups of coffee for late night studying, are now increasingly using “smartdrugs” – or “nootropics” – to become smarter and to improve memories in a wide variety of settings.
While I can understand the worry about loss of cognitive abilities at any age, I wonder: how did people used to learn and remember things before all these aids?…..
…You can read more of this article in the Vancouver Sun HERE
Anna Bowness-Park is a Christian Science practitioner and blogger writing about the connection of spirituality and health. Her blog column “Owning our Health” is published weekly in the Vancouver Sun. She also writes regularly for the Times Colonist in Victoria B.C. on the multifaith blog, Spiritually Speaking. To contact Anna, you can find her on our contact us page.