This health video looks at the importance of keeping out brain active as well as our bodies.
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Jennifer Matthews: Paul Edstrom's memory isn't what it used to be. After all, he's 90 years old. Paul Edstrom: You go to do something, and in the meantime, you think of something else and then you forget what you were in for. Jennifer Matthews: Like many his age, Paul's cognitive ability faded. Doctor Michael Merzenich is all too familiar with the problem. Michael Merzenich: I witnessed my own mother progress into Alzheimer's disease and watched her disappear before my eyes. Jennifer Matthews: Now Doctor Merzenich and his team have created a series of exercises to stop and even reverse memory loss. Michael Merzenich: The brain is a learning machine, and it's really demanding that it'd be engaged in new learning. Jennifer Matthews: Memory games and quizzes require participants to match sounds. The exercises get faster, forcing the brain to process quicker, sometimes as fast as a 30 year old. Paul Edstrom: Every week, they step it up a little, so that what you were doing that was fairly easy in the beginning, now are very difficult. Jennifer Matthews: In a recent study, participants, ages 61 to 94, improved memory by an average of 10 years. Michael Merzenich: So that the brain really can outlive the body. Paul Edstrom: When I listen to someone speaking, you pay a little more attention to details. Jennifer Matthews: Mental alertness that may mean staying younger and longer. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.