Brain Fitness: Skip the Sudoku, Be a Volunteer

Volunteers Welcome

Volunteering Keeps Your Mind Sharp

Just-published research in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences shows that volunteering and similar social activities are helpful in staving off mental decline in later years, and can actually improve cognition:

Tutoring children as part of a volunteer service program helped older women delay or reverse declining brain function, according to a new study that suggests aging brains benefit from mentally stimulating social activities.

Older women who participated in a volunteer service program called Experience Corps saw significant increases after six months in brain activity in regions important to cognitive function, including the the anterior cingulate cortex (P<0.003), left dorsal prefrontal cortex (P<0.04), and left ventral prefrontal cortex (P<0.01), researchers reported in the December Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

“Individuals exhibited use-dependent neural plasticity by exercising and reactivating skills that may have been relatively unused for years or even decades,” Michelle C. Carlson, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues wrote. [From MedPageToday - Volunteering Keeps Older Minds Sharp by Chris Emery.]

So, if you are concerned about staying sharp despite the natural aging process, skip the crossword puzzles and sudoku, and put that energy to use in a way that helps others, too: volunteer!

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— who has written 986 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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1 response to "Brain Fitness: Skip the Sudoku, Be a Volunteer" — Your Turn

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Ernest @ weight loss drops 7. April 2011 at 11:10 am

Really? Well how about reading and writing because my grandma used to do this. Is this also fine? Can this also be the factor of brain deterioration? I am just curious because my grandma still got those sharp memory and kept on remembering old things that we did with our family.

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