From the Kenosha News on 7-30-06

Can computer-based passtimes be good for you?

When I was growing up, a lot of emphasis was placed on “doing something constructive.” Hence, I get a guilt complex if I engage in “pointless” computer-based activities like games or puzzles. Face it, while computers can help us do many productive things, they can also provide us with countless ways to waste time. Then, browsing through a Woman’s World magazine, I found the rationale (excuse?) I’ve been looking for:

“Dozens of studies show dabbling in brain-boosting activities like trying a new recipe, doing a crossword puzzle or learning the lyrics to a new song cut the risk of Alzheimer’s threefold. ‘Active brain cells demand more connections with other brain cells, and that keeps them young, healthy and disease-free,’ explains neurologist David Perlmutter, M.D., coauthor of The Better Brain Book.

They don’t specifically promote computer-based activities, and the emphasis is on “brain boosting activities,” so the trick is to differentiate between these and the often “brain numbing” activities like some shooting games or slot-machine simulators. Below are some internet puzzle resources that should fit the bill. I can’t guarantee they will stave off Alzheimer’s, but they are fun.

  • - A new jigsaw puzzle every day. (Thanks to a member of the Kenosha Senior Center computer class for telling me about this.)
  • – If you like the one above, this gives you tons of different jigsaw puzzles with different cuts. You can even use a picture of your own!
  • – An on-line version of the popular new number puzzles.
  • - Print out a new word puzzle each week from Dell puzzle magazine.
  • - Click the “Classic Puzzle” link part way down the page for one free puzzle per week from the New York Times
  • – Daily crosswords and sudoku puzzles from USA Today.
  • - Not sure if mahjong qualifies as “brain-boosting” or not, but this site provides an enjoyable.
  • - A variety of word games from Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people.

If the “try a new recipe” suggestion is more your speed than the puzzles, here are some useful sites:

So, enjoy and stimulate your brain cells at the same time.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 7-30-06