Mind games

It turns out those crazy games your kids and grandkids play on Nintendo and their Smartphones may actually have some redeeming value.

More and more studies are showing that these games can improve your memory. And maybe even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

A recent study, conducted by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, showed that games help stimulate the brain. And that stimulation appears to slow the growth of beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is the brain protein believed to cause memory loss and dementia.

In fact, older people who engaged in a lot of brain-stimulating activity had the brain function of people 50 years younger. Those who didn’t had brain decline that mirrored Alzheimer’s patients.

But don’t worry if you can’t bring yourself to play Angry Birds. The researchers say that any sort of game can stimulate the brain. Whether it’s a crossword puzzle, checkers, or Super Mario Brothers.

Whichever you choose, the old adage holds true. “Use it or lose it.”

It’s really that simple.