Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brain Fitness!

Calisthenics for your brain! It seems as if there is a lot of conversation going on these days about ways to keep our brains fit. It’s no surprise as we Baby Boomers turn 50 at the rate of 7 every second (and now the first batch is turning 60 at equally phenonmenal rates)!

Our vision from the beginning has been to be a “go to” place, a resource for all things along a health spectrum. We started looking early for products and services that would address brain fitness. Last year, we came upon a software program called, Brain Fitness. Capabilities is among the first in Colorado (and the whole country) to be certified to sell this program to the public.

This whole fascinating field of study was featured on the CBS Evening News recently.

Brain Fitness was developed by a team of neuroscientists in California, led by Dr. Michael Merzenich. His company Posit Science released the software for the general public in 2006. We were nearly first in line after learning about this research on brain plasticity. Their work shows without a doubt that the brain molds and shapes itself over and over again throughout our whole lives. They have proven you gain ten years of brain life by completing 40 hours over an eight week period. As I was giving a demo of the program recently, someone piped up, “I need much more than that!” I guess most of us would take it, though.

So, here’s how the program works. Once you load the software, you are led through a series of exercises designed to stimulate the production and release of key chemicals in the brain that help build new paths and strengthen the ones we already have. This first version of the software focuses primarily on listening and hearing. Dr. Merzenich did early work on the effects of the senses in stimulating the brain. He found compelling evidence early in his research how critical hearing is to the brain’s stimulation. He, in fact, was instrumental in the development of cochlear implants, so essential for those with hearing losses.

It’s a fascinating program! We had to do part of the program to be certified and we continue with our ongoing lessons. Here's Pam dutifully plugging in every day to complete the program.

We give free demos of the program by appointment, organize group sessions, and take our demo on the road for groups of all kinds. See our Events page to sign up for one in April. In the meantime, feel free to post a comment if you have questions or want to chat more about the program. This year we are working with retirement communities to set up work stations for multiple users. Post a comment with your ideas and suggestions of keeping your brain fit.

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