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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trounced by a brain-training octogenarian

"Brain training exercises have their critics - a BBC study in 2009 suggested they were no better for you than surfing the internet. But others still swear by them and Adam Shaw found himself humiliated by one elderly fan on a recent visit to Japan." according to BBC News.

In Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku region in Japan, there are a million people going about their daily lives. One of them, Endo Tokiko, who won't mind me revealing she is in her 80s, is almost certainly telling everyone around her, how she defeated, conquered, trounced and thoroughly overwhelmed an Englishman half her age.

What's more, she will no doubt explain how she did it with ease, while the short bald Englishman from the BBC, sweated with effort. More of which later.

Ryuta Kawashima  
Photo: BBC News

I was in Sendai to meet Dr Ryuta Kawashima. He is a Japanese neuroscientist whose work involves mapping the regions of the brain which control emotion, language, memorisation, and cognition.

He is well known in academic circles. More unusually, he also has a fan club of millions of adults and children who know him as the animated professor figure in the Brain Game created by the computer company Nintendo.

His widespread fame started with the publication of his book - Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain. It sold more than two-and-a-half million copies, led to a series of other books and piqued the interest of Nintendo, which turned his programme into a game, which itself sold 19 million copies.

Based at Tohoku University's Smart Ageing Centre, he now works with groups of elderly people to see how to keep their brains active for longer.  

Source: BBC News