Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 2, 2006 / 4 Iyar, 5766

Brain age, nuthin' but a number

By Lenore Skenazy


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Hey, foxy lady. Did anyone ever tell you you have the brain of a 24-year-old?


Okay, so that's not a popular pickup line — yet. But now that Nintendo has come out with a game that can supposedly measure your brain's age and lower it (20 is the goal), brains are about to become the latest body part everyone wants to buff up.


As a gal who always liked brains buffed the old-fashioned way — by, say, reading - I dread the smarties-come-lately bragging, "I'm a 28!" "Get a load of those prefrontal lobes." "Hey, baby, my matter ain't gray."


For this brave new world (that's a literary reference), we must blame Brain Age, the Nintendo DS game that debuted in Japan a year ago and proceeded to sell 3 million copies - possibly because 20% of the people there are over age 65 and worried that their brains are turning into tuna belly. But even here in robust America, the game just came out and has already hit No. 2 on Amazon. What gives?


Well, I grudgingly admit: It's fun. You just turn on your Nintendo DS (or, if you're over 40, you have your kid do this for you) and the sleek little device proceeds to gauge your age. It does this by flashing the words "yellow," "black," "red" and "blue" at you - written in the wrong colors. The faster you shout out the actual color you see — "blue" when the word "yellow" is written in blue — the younger your brain.


Supposedly. Of course, if you really want to see how young someone's brain is all you have to do is flash a picture of Hilary Duff and ask, "Who's this?" Anyone who gets it right is young. Anyone who answers, "Rita Hayworth" is ready for pet therapy.


Anyway, once you find out your brain's age, you will despair. Everyone I loaned the game to had a brain much older than their years. The road to redemption?


Brainteasers. So says Japan's Prof. Ryuta Kawashima. It was his best-selling book on brain exercise that inspired this game.


Ryuta's smiling, digitized face will lead you through 14 tasks ranging from silly (connect the dots) to tense (how fast can you subtract?) to completely impossible (I forget what exactly it was, but it was hard). (Oh, wait! It was memorization.)


The first day is very demoralizing. But everyone seemed to do a little better the next. And the next day, even better. As they saw their brains getting "younger," the game grew irresistible. Unfortunately, so did the urge to check, "How old am I right now?" And therein lies the problem.


We are already a society that counts our calories, carbs, heartbeats — even sperm. Adding brain age to the mix just means having another number to fret about.


Since the jury is out on whether the game actually does any good — "You can't really prevent Alzheimer's," says gerontologist Sandra Timmermann at the MetLife Mature Market Institute — a "young" brain simply becomes a bragging right. In real life, it's the older brains that have read, lived, made stupid mistakes and sometimes even learned from them. The word for this isn't "aged brain." It's wisdom.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

Lenore Skenazy Archives

© 2006, NY Daily News

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles