Find the Right Apps to Keep Your Brain Sharp
Apps can help prevent the brain train from going off track
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The person who is able to discern available information, learn what to accept and what to reject, and latches on to those things that help them grow intellectually and spiritually will usually be on the right track.- Dr. Paul Rodriguez, member of a radiology department at a Midwest hospital
Staying mentally sharp and focused doesn’t come naturally to most people. Those who let their minds constantly wander may be at risk of losing some of the knowledge they’ve attained through the years simply by doing nothing. Meanwhile, their brains drop acquired knowledge that is no longer deemed relevant.
A Princeton University study released in 2013 cites poor concentration as a major contributor to draining brainpower needed for other areas of life.
So what can be done to keep those pearls of wisdom safely implanted in one’s long-term memory?
For Dr. Paul Rodriguez, 52, who has worked in the radiology department at a Midwest hospital for more than 20 years, the answer lies in the two R’s: Reading and religion. The husband and father of 6 children ranging in age from 12 to 30, he is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in theology online through the graduate program at Denver, Colorado-based Augustine Institute.
“Having kids and going through life myself and knowing other families, one of the key things that ties us all together is reading,” Rodriguez said. “That seems to be the way that stimulates the mind most. Whether it’s print material, online, or an app, reading is the common denominator that helps the mind grow.
“In my opinion, growing in your faith life helps as well. Combining those things together is a good way to grow in knowledge and intelligence.”
Apps That Keep the Brain Rolling
Apps can play a vital role in keeping the brain train on track. With IQ Test, Lumosity, and Elevate, users can keep tabs on how smart they are through word games and reading tests designed to keep their minds stimulated. Relevant information showcased with colorful graphs and charts keeps the learning experience entertaining.
However, do such games and graphics produce results? Results of a study released by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in April 2018 suggest such games do in fact boost brainpower. Findings bear out that brain-training games (BTG) are believed to play a major role in improving cognitive functions. The study evaluated if BTG showed a positive impact on attention and memory functions compared with baseline visit in healthy subjects. Improvement in different cognitive domains was noted, including attention and motor speed.
Apps are 'Convenient & Fast'
For Rodriguez, apps serve as a means of cutting to the chase, enabling him to devote more time to the creative thinking process.
“Its biggest help for me is not that it provides unique content, but it’s just convenient and fast,” he said. “Apps have niches that can help keep me up on certain things, such as current events or specific subject matter.
“I desire to always be learning something, even as a hobby. Knowledge can be found anywhere, and intelligence can grow in many unexpected ways. The person who is able to discern available information, learn what to accept and what to reject, and latches on to those things that help them grow intellectually and spiritually will usually be on the right track.”
To Learn is to Discern
Discerning information and determining fact from fiction are at the crux of the work performed by film analyst M.K. Davis. The retired chemical plant board operator has examined, restored and stabilized some of the most famous film footage ever captured, including clips of the JFK assassination and alleged footage of Bigfoot captured by Patterson-Gimlin in 1967.
It's safe to say Davis is one who takes many expeditions. He has traveled the US in search of scientific evidence that will definitively prove the existence of Bigfoot and other giants whose purported existence has evaded archeologists for thousands of years.
For Davis, apps have served to help absorb some of the menial tasks of the day, such as working out math equations or helping him navigate roads less traveled, freeing his mind for more creative thinking pertaining to his work.
Apps Help, But Only a Brain Can Think
As valuable as they are in his work, however, he said these tools should always be regarded as supplementary aids rather than substitutes for one’s ability to work out problems.
“Apps can be a double-edged sword,” he said. “They can make your life a whole lot easier or stimulate your mind with games or puzzles, but you’ve got to be careful that you’re not dulling your mind. The mind is like a muscle, and if you use it, it will expand.
“Sometimes you have to use your brain to solve a problem where no solution is known, and while technology is invigorating, there is plenty you can add to that library using your own thinking ability.”
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I am a journalist with 30-plus years of experience working for daily, weekly, and bi-weekly publications. I've written for pretty much every section in the daily newspaper I currently work for in Nebraska, including the religion page, sports, editorial, news, features and special sections. I've also won awards for my photography and am excited to be part of the appgrooves team. I am recently engaged and looking forward to marrying my future wife in about seven months or so, provided all our plans fall into place. When I'm not working, I enjoy fantasy baseball, disc golf, and working out, although working out isn't really all that enjoyable, to be honest. In my younger years I played bass and fronted a Christian rock band and still love to sing to this day, though opportunities are scarce beyond the shower or church service. I like to travel each year to California to visit my brother and his wife and take in my old neighborhood. I also enjoy visiting my brother at his beloved Alamo.
May 28, 2020 9 min read