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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Gym For The Mind

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston has launched a “Brain Fit Club” to help support brain health by creating customized brain “workouts.”  But how does this training differ from various online brain trainings and group exercises?

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About the “Brain Fit Club”

BIDMC neurologists have nearly 40 years of experience diagnosing and treating cognition disorders.  They have created a program combining brain training games and magnetic brain stimulations with nutrition coaching, sleep education, physical exercise, and meditation.

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The Brain Fit Club really works like a gym-you get a membership, and then go on a regular basis.  Before starting a program, you’ll be interviewed and undergo a cognitive evaluation in order to receive a personalized training program.  

The Brain Fit Club also offers the following services:

  • Measurement of brain function
  • Coaching
  • Gait and balance assessments
  • Group classes

How is the Brain Fit Club different from other brain trainings?

The idea of brain training games is not new--many free and paid trainings that focus on memory, attention, and problem solving are offered by companies like Lumosity, Brain Metrix, and Fit Brains, to name a few.  But what’s the difference between these choices and the Brain Fit Club?

  • The Brain Fit Club doesn’t rely only on brain training games--it offers a more holistic approach, including a combination of computerized brain trainings, magnetic stimulation of the brain, physical and mental exercises, nutrition and sleep education, and socialization .
  • Research shows that brains keep producing new neurons and connections throughout our lives.  One of the things that helps the brain to stay active is learning new skills.  With this in mind, the Brain Fit Club develops customized programs for its members.
  • The other advantage of the Brain Fit Club is specifying the training to cater to a person’s particular area(s) of weakness.  For example, a person with memory problems will have a different “workout” than a person with attention issues.
  • The social aspect of going to the gym is also very important for successful training.  The training routine shouldn’t be boring--social interaction will help members to stay motivated during the program.

The initial intensive program includes a mentoring period that will last several months.  After the program, participants should keep working at home and checking in with the Club staff from time to time.  

BIDMC officially opened its doors in July, 2013, but states that many Brain Fit Club members are already seeing positive changes in their health.

The idea of a gym for the mind offers some hope in the quest to slow down the symptoms of dementia and improve a person’s quality of life.

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