Fight forgetfulness by giving your brain a "workout"

It sure is hard to get young people off their electronics these days.

Of course, it looks as though they're hard at work while they're tapping, buzzing, and clicking away... but take a closer look at that iPhone or iPad, and you'll see that what's got them looking so serious is the latest game.

You may have wised up over the years... and you could certainly teach those kids a thing or two about life... but THEY could teach you a thing or two about how to use technology to keep your brain active, even into your "golden years!"

And a newly-published study confirms what I've already shared with you about playing games on your "smartphone" or tablet: It can boost your brain!

Now, many of us have "brain burps" as we get older -- but there's something more serous called amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which is a fancy way of describing memory loss that's somewhere between forgetting things occasionally and developing early dementia.

In the new study, researchers at the University of Cambridge developed a game that's designed to help you overcome day-to-day memory difficulties and tested its effectiveness on 42 patients with aMCI.

It turns out that the folks who played the game IMPROVED their memory score by a whopping 40 percent! And it only took a couple of hour-long gaming sessions per week -- about eight hours total -- to get that memory boost over the course of just one month.

The gamers made fewer mistakes -- about a third less -- when answering questions that tested how well they remembered day-to-day activities, compared to those who didn't play the game.

They could recall more complicated visual memories than the non-gamers could, too.

So... you could say that to WIN the fight against memory loss, you've got to PLAY.

As I've shared with you before right here in eTips, your brain needs to stay active to keep it healthy -- just like your body does.

Many studies have shown that cognitive training with games can improve the function of your brain. But a problem with some earlier studies has been that if the games were too boring, people would stop playing them.

And to keep your brain from getting "out of shape," you've got to KEEP it active (just like your body).

The authors of the study say that their game was so fun that their participants wanted to keep playing it -- but I'll take that with a grain of salt. Of course they'd say that.

But I've learned from the young people in my life that some pretty enjoyable brain games can be found online.

Just be sure to shut down those electronics at least an hour before bedtime. The "blue light" glow from a phone or computer screen can disrupt your sleep -- which is even WORSE for your memory!