Five apps to train your brain and prevent dementia

Studies show that keeping your mind active can help reduce your risk of dementia. We look at how a busy brain can help fight age-related cognitive disorders and show you some brain-training apps which may help.

You exercise to maintain a healthy heart, wear sunscreen to protect your skin and eat well to care for your body, but what are you doing to look after your brain? 

Research reveals that the brain needs challenges in order to build new brain cells and strengthen connections among existing cells. Margaret Ryan, Head of Dementia Services at Bupa Australia, says that challenging your brain sits alongside exercising, eating well, maintaining good heart health and staying social as a key lifestyle factor that can reduce your risk of dementia. As Ryan explains, “it’s about minimising risk, not prevention”. 
Puzzles such as sudoku and cryptic crosswords have been popular for some time now. But if you own a smart phone or tablet why not switch it up and try a brain-training game as well? “These apps are like one-stop shops where you can do exercises in a variety of cognitive tasks,” says Ryan. “Research is showing that it’s not just one thing that helps; try to look at the variety of [mental] exercises that can help keep your brain active.”
Let’s check out some brain-training apps:

1.  BrainyApp

An innovative product from Alzheimer’s Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation, BrainyApp offers a holistic approach by combining brain-training activities with lifestyle tips to help you maintain good brain health.

Check it out here.

2.  Elevate

Elevate sets you challenges in writing, listening, speaking, reading and mathematics, many of which you can use as a practical way to build your vocabulary and comprehension skills. 

Check it out here.
Person using tablet

3.  Lumosity 

Lumosity lets you set your own goals and offers personalised, science-based training programs in memory, attention, speed, flexibility and problem-solving. You can even practise specific tasks, such as matching names to faces and remembering locations.

Check it out here.

4.  NeuroNation

NeuroNation offers more than 60 different brain-training games that target memory, concentration and logic. The app’s developers partnered with scientists at Freie Universität Berlin (the Free University of Berlin) to create exercises based on the latest findings in neuroscience.

Check it out here.

5.  Duolingo   

Though not strictly a brain-training app, Duolingo is a free program for learning new languages. “We don’t need to lock ourselves into things that are specifically designed for brain training,” explains Marg. “That could work for some people, but for others, it’s about doing something different, like learning a new language.”

Check it out here.

Keeping your brain active can play an important role in reducing your risk of developing dementia, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. 
Brain training should go hand in hand with eating wholesome foods, exercising and staying social. 

Up next: what's the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia?

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