Games may boost brain power

HOUSTON - Once scrutinized for encouraging time-wasting behavior, some experts now think video games could be good for your brain.

Classic board games are getting an online facelift, thanks to Facebook and other social media outlets. All the rage are games like Words with Friends and Song Pop.

Some people think playing them may help keep the brain sharp. The good news is, experts in Dementia and the aging process agree.

"These sorts of games that you can do online, they certainly will help stimulate the brain and keep you challenged, make you work," said Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic.

The key is keeping yourself challenged by working to reach more difficult levels.

"That thinking process where you're not really sure what the answer is forces your brain to make new connections and to learn," Factora said.

Of course, using a smartphone isn't the only way to stay smart. Doctors still tout low-tech brain activities like card games, crossword puzzles and even learning a musical instrument.

"This is not the only thing you're going to do. You need to find things to keep the rest of your body in shape," Factora said.

Exercise and even simple walking have also been linked to brain health. Experts said to step away from the screen every once in a while for some real face time with friends.

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