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http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/07/being-a-life...

To keep their bodies running at peak performance, people often hit the gym, pounding away at the treadmill to strengthen muscles and build endurance. This dedication has enormous benefits—being in shape now means warding off a host of diseases when you get older. But does the brain work in the same way? That is, can doing mental exercises help your mind stay just as sharp in old age?

Experts say it’s possible. As a corollary to working out, people have begun joining brain gyms to flex their mental muscles. For a monthly fee of around $15, websites like Lumosity.com and MyBrainTrainer.com promise to enhance memory, attention and other mental processes through a series of games and brain teasers. Such ready-made mind exercises are an alluring route for people who worry about their ticking clock. But there’s no need to slap down the money right away—new research suggests the secret to preserving mental agility may lie in simply cracking open a book...
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Big caveat though -- provided your eyes don't let you down first. It's very painful to watch someone who was widely read and passionate about literature and poetry now being unable to even read the newspaper, leave alone his favorite books. Probably the worst possible punishment for a mind nurtured on a lifetime of avid reading.

I shudder to think how I would survive being in a similar bind.
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My adult daughter, an avid reader, was struck with an unknown brain virus 6 years ago. She can no longer read more than a sign or a headline.

She is now too disabled to use a CD player or a tape recorder to listen
to books. And too impulsive to listen to a machine reading to her if someone else turns it on.

So, I read to her. Usually a couple of chapters at a time. Reading aloud takes so much more time than silent reading, so a book takes a long time.

We all need to be grateful for our skills while we have them. They could disappear in an instant.
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I am truly humbled by the example you have set.
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