There are any number of games, activities, potions, and medications that claim to improve memory and function. Unfortunately, as the New York Times reported in a recent article titled For An Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp, many, if not most, of these have no scientific research to prove they actually work.
The article cited a study that tracked memory, reasoning and speed of processing. The study followed patients for 10 years and found that 60% of patients saw improvement in the three key areas. While this is not a huge improvement, every little bit can help.
- Was the product shown to improve "performance on real-world tasks"?
- Are the claims supported by "high-quality research" that has been "independently verified"?
- How do the supposed benefits compare with those from actions like physical activity and social and intellectual engagement?
There are many other ways to improve memory, including physical exercise, heating a health-healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, etc.
As more and more Americans age and develop memory problems, including Alzheimer's and dementia, more and more memory solutions will hit the market. If you or a loved one is going to be spending a lot of money on such a program, carefully consider the three questions above and determine whether it is worth it for your family. And if you have found something that works for you, share it in the comments.