Dakim Blog

January 15, 2009

Dakim at CES

Written by: Dakim

The blog Elder Gadget caught a Dakim demo at the CES show, and had this to say:

I have spent twenty years of my life striving to help seniors affected by the conditions of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, designing and implementing socialization programs for seniors. So imagine my joy at discovering at CES a company that cares as much as I do about maintaining a quality of life for seniors. This terrific and engaging “brain gymnasium” is the number 1 memory fitness product currently being utilized by Assisted Livings in America. This product will become available in spring of 2008, and will enable countless others to utilize the benefits of its terrific memory and trivia programs. I heard a heartfelt testimonial about a woman who had not spoken in over two years, after a single session she turned to her caregiver and said” I wish I had learned to play the Piano”. Amazing stuff.

It really is amazing. I’ll be posting an interview with Dan Michel, in the next day or so. Dan Michel is the founder of Dakim; he started the company after trying to find ways to help his father, who had Alzheimer’s, remain cognitively stimulated. His efforts as a caregiver led to Dan Michel’s idea for using interesting, fun, stimulating software games and a touch screen for brain fitness.

January 14, 2009

Wall Street Journal Video Features BrainFitness System

Written by: Dakim

Andy Jones at The Wall Street Journal has a technology video blog. This week one of his video posts features seniors using Dakim’s BrainFitness system for brain fitness calisthenics. I’ve linked the video below, but there’s a direct link to the page here. Andy describes the video as

Americans living in senior living communities are using computer software that aims to help them stave off Alzheimer’s. WSJ’s Andy Jordan looks at how far seniors have come with technology.

What’s interesting is that the players, even when they don’t know a particular answer, clearly are enjoying playing, and are fully engaged.

January 12, 2009

Brain Gyms?

Written by: Dakim

As more and more people realize that brain fitness is the natural, logical partner to physical fitness, new business models are being born.

For instance, an article in the Calgary Herald titled ” ‘Brain gyms’ a new industry” (January 2009) notes that:

From video games that claim to sharpen concentration to brain gyms offering mental circuit training, consumers are jumping on the “use it or lose it” notion of brain health in an effort to stave off the effects of aging.

New “brain gyms” are springing up, using both traditional analog cognitive exercises (better known as cross-word puzzles, sudoku, and board games) and digital solutions, like Dakim’s BrainFitness System. As Alvaro Fernandez, of Sharp Brains notes:

“Right now, everyone understands the body has different muscles, there are different things we can do to keep those muscles in shape—you have health clubs, you have coaches, you have machines, you have a whole industry around it,” Fernandez says. “We believe that brain fitness can evolve in the same way.”

People are beginning to realize that regular exercise is just as good for our brains as our bodies. And with the Baby Boomers creeping up the ladder of age, there’s no better time to start a regular regime of new, stimulating, brain exercises. Find something challenging, stimulating, and fun, that requires new skills and integrating new learning with old.

You might find a brain fitness gym, like vibrantBrains, a brain gym in San Francisco that opened a year ago, in your own neighborhood.

Or just check out the soon to be released Dakim BrainFitness System Home edition. It provides a constant stream of new, stimulating, media-rich, compellingly fun games.

January 9, 2009

Announcement: The Dakim BrainFitness System — Home Edition!

Written by: Dakim

Dakim has made a formal, public announcement about The Dakim BrainFitness System / Home Edition.

This is really, really, cool. I’ve seen the home unit–it’s enticing, easy to set up, and use. It’s as close to plug-and-play as Dakim could make it, and it’s attractive looking. You won’t be ashamed to have this in your living room. It’s easy to set up, it automatically talks to Dakim every night and gets new games and does a systems check on a regular basis. Best of all, it’s a touch screen; no mouse or keyboard needed.

Plus, The Dakim BrainFitness System / Home Edition comes with a subscription to Dakim’s media-rich games for brain fitness across the spectrum.

And honestly? The games are the best part. There are hundreds of different kinds of games, each of which exercises one or more of long-term and short term memory, calculation, critical thinking, language, or visuospatial skills. They’re fun, they use images, audio, music and video. Some of the music was specially commissioned by Dakim, with live musicians, and it’s lovely enough that I used to just play the music for fun. There are trivia games, language games— and more content is being created everyday. They’re fun, so fun that twenty minutes a day, five days a week seems easy, and enjoyable, and it’s exercising your brain the whole time.

I’ll see if I can get some pictures posted soon . . .

January 7, 2009

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Brain "Superfood"

Written by: Dakim

Traditionally, we’ve been told to avoid fat for our health, particularly for cardiovascular health. But there’s new research that tells us that some fats are not only good for us, our bodies require them. In particular, our bodies need the omega-3 fatty acids, often simply referred to as “omega-3.” These are substances our bodies can’t produce, but must obtain from our food. They’re found in a number of foods, including walnuts, some fruits and vegetables, and coldwater fish like as anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sturgeon. Omega-3s help maintain the containing membranes around every cell in our body. Other benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke while helping to reduce symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain and other rheumatoid problems, as well as certain skin problems. There are studies that suggest that omega-3s can boost the immune system and help protect us from an array of illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease. Most of these are because omega-3s help reduce all sorts of inflammation.

In addition, omega-3s reduce the negative impact of yet another kind of equally essential fatty acid known as omega-6s. Omega-6s are found in eggs, poultry, cereals, vegetable oils, baked goods, and margarine. Omega-6s have profound effects on skin health, they lower cholesterol, and, most importantly, affect the ability of blood to clot. But omega-6s can have unpleasant side effects if they aren’t balanced with sufficient amounts of omega-3s.

Another factor to consider is that there are several kinds of omega-3s; there’s the particularly important omega-3s known to chemists and nutritionists as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). They’re mostly found in cold-water fish. Then there’s Omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid); two of the best sources are soybean oil, and flaxseed. Others are broccoli, spinach, canola oil, cantaloupe, kidney beans, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, and walnuts; even a handful of walnuts has about 2.5 grams of omega-3 ALA. The ideal balance between the two omegas is roughly 4 parts omega-3s to 1 part omega-6s, according to experts.

Bottom line? Eat lots of walnuts, and tofu, and whole foods naturally containing ALA, but be particularly sure to eat fish, especially cold water fatty fish. You could do worse than follow the American Heart Association’s suggestion to eat fatty fish at least twice weekly, at three or four ounces a serving. The Association suggests that patients with coronary heart disease should include 1,000 milligrams of DHA plus EPA daily in their diet.