I’m not one for personal apps to monitor my daily life. I tried using a Fitbit and it faded after a month. I’ve used a few food apps which were also short-lived, and I’ve even tried playing video games for no reason at all.
When I think of brain training games, my mind goes immediately to sudoku, crossword puzzles, word games, wordle, solitaire or other online games that I see my friends play.
I became curious about brain fitness apps when I watched a news story about an app called BrainFit designed specifically for women.
Brain fitness is the current term for brain health activity. The large population of baby boomers reaching 65 years will peak in 2025. The fallout of long-term care during the pandemic alerted us to the fragility of aging in an institution and ignited the fear of a dementia and Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. It has spawned a growing market in brain fitness applications, lifestyle equipment and diets.
Today, technology and software engineers have transformed the landscape into sophisticated apps based on scientific research and designed in collaboration with experts in neuroscience and cognitive science. So much so that many physicians are using them as screening tools to detect and track patients’ subtle cognitive deficiencies.
The adage” If you don’t use you lose it!” you may be familiar with typically refers to exercising our body to maintain muscle mass and physical strength but, it also applies to the brain and mental acuity even though the brain is an organ, not a muscle.
Most brain fit apps include mini games that test various mental skills that show your improvement over time. Luminosity, CognitoFit and Peak are the most popular apps known for stimulating the brain and also rehabilitating certain brain functions. Believe it or not!
DID YOU KNOW THAT 70% OF ALZHEIMER’S SUFFERERS ARE WOMEN?
We know that the APOE ε4 gene is considered the strongest risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s in people over the age of 65. Women are more impacted because of their greater loss of estrogen and are considered more prominent carriers of the APOE ε4 gene than men and therefore are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Men have a higher susceptibility to Parkinson’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s was considered an old person’s disease and is now affecting women much younger.
BrainFit is a new app developed by the people at Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI).
WBHI is targeting younger women to jump on the bandwagon earlier for preventative brain health. For example, Brainfit includes the Six Pillars of Health (which are similar to what I talk about and teach in my programs). They include: mental stimulation, exercise, nutrition, social engagement, sleep and relaxation. The app was created to give both women and men (including caregivers, health care professionals, service providers, and policymakers) a practical wellness tool that encourages them to make more of the right lifestyle choices that promote the health of their brain.
It offers brain teaser games, tools for building healthy habits, research articles written by their experts and tracks users progress.
Once downloaded, the app asks the user to rate themselves on a scale between one and five for habits like sleep, exercise, stress and nutrition. Based on the answers, it then suggests habits to use on the six brain health pillars, but a user can also create their own goals.
Lynn Posluns founder of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative said “The earlier you start engaging in these lifestyle choices, the more protected you will be (from brain-ageing diseases),”
Since the app launched, there have been over 10,000 downloads, with 90 per cent of the users living in Canada and 10 per cent in the United States.
Check out the app here.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF USING THIS APP?
I’m curious but less inclined to track my progress. I do like the idea of having access to the latest of science based research. For younger people, it may be more applicable since they are on their devices regularly.
The science of epigenetics is something else to consider. The environmental influences genetic and cellular expressions that manifest as signs, symptoms and disease states. When you shift your environment and modify factors like diet, lifestyle, and biological function (or how the body performs its many jobs), it can alter your genes and their expression. They co-exist and determines whether the gene will get activated. This is what the Women’s Brain Health Initiative is talking about. Ask yourself, why do two people in the same family, who carry the same cancer gene and only one gets the disease?
Genes don’t dictate our health. Genes load the gun but the environment pulls the trigger
App usage is likely to be our future as a daily device. We may need to track are own health, sent from or phone or watches that tap into a computer sending data regularly to our doctor before a visit. Or, bypassing the doctor completely which keeps us living healthier longer!
Programs and Events
- Watch out for a Pole Walking Group starting in May.
- Another series of Somatic Movement sessions will be offered again in May, (stay tuned for dates and times).
- Practice Together continues on Tuesdays at 6 pm.
- Heal To Health A mindfulness practice to cope with stress begins May 11th
- Feed the Brain, A mindful eating program is being redesigned as a self-paced program with weekly group meetings. Sign up on the waitlist.
My best in health,