Friday, May 22, 2009

How to Avoid Dementia

Hopefully you are planning on living a long and healthy life.

To achieve that end you have surely adopted healthy habits. Living into your dotage loses its appeal if you are too sick to enjoy it.

And surely, if you become a centenarian you want your wits to accompany you on the voyage.

All of which to tout the virtues of my favorite game: bridge.

The evidence has been accumulating for some time now; playing bridge on a regular basis does wonders for your mind. It helps you to avoid dementia; it even keeps you in your cups, as the old saying had it.

I was reminded of this by a Benedict Carey article in today's New York Times today. Link here.

Carey asks: why does bridge, more than puzzles, keep your brain sharp? Why does it help people who show signs of Alzheimer's maintain some level of mental acuity?

He offers two answers: bridge involves working your memory; and bridge involves other people.

Bridge is also a competitive game; there are winners and losers. Those who want to wring competition out of schools should note that bridge players focus and concentrate because they do not want to lose, or because they do not want to embarrass themselves.

To play bridge well you have to count and calculate constantly; and you have to plan out tactics and stratagems for achieving goals.

As we approach the holiday weekend, we should all know that bridge works the mind in ways that sunbathing never will.


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Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks so much for the kind words. They are much appreciated. I'm glad that I was able to contribute to your thinking on the topic.