See Inside April/May/June 2009

Brain Trainers: A Workout for the Mind

Put your cortex through its paces with these software games


Michael Merzenich, neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, is ruthless as he describes how my 37-year-old brain is going to turn to mush over the years to come.

“You’re going to slowly decline in operating speed,” he says. “Your brain will become noisier and noisier in its processing.” And I will have more and more trouble figuring out exactly what it was I just heard or saw. The villain: age-related cognitive decline, which Merzenich says is a combination of physical changes and something called negative brain plasticity—the cerebral equivalent of what has happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps.

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