Yes, I *might* possibly be extra sensitive to the word brain. It has a tendency to pop out at me. So when I was doing my holiday shopping, even on a busy Sunday, doing my best to get in and get out of the stores I was visiting, I couldn’t help but see “The Brain Store” out of the corner of my eye.
What could be in there?? Is it some sort of holistic vitamin mecca? A book store of sorts? A room of crazy futuristic machines, Pinky and the Brain style?
I had to check it out!
The official name is “Marbles: The Brain Store” and the store was FULL of people!! As I made my way around the store I discovered why. This place was awesome! Divided into difference sections, there were games, cookbooks, puzzles, music and software all designed to help enhance areas of memory, visual perception, coordination, critical thinking, and word skills.
While there were a lot of kids playing games and a lot of adults looking for christmas presents for children and grandchildren, I looked at this store as the mother lode of tools to help myself and my brain tumor support group with our cognitive difficulties (along with other cancer survivors who have been affected by “chemo brain” or the like). And, in fact, on the Marbles website, they have search tools for finding products by age and by deficit such as ADD, Alzheimer’s, brain injury, stress, or mental illness!
Here are a few products I found interesting as I walked around:
1. Mindflex – Here you wear a very simple dry EEG and your ability to focus then energizes they system’s airwaves making the ball lift up or down, allowing you to move the ball through to maze. If you stop focusing, the ball falls.
I’ve read about a larger technology like this being used with athletes through a video game system, but didn’t know it could be used on such a small level already. I’d love to hear more about how this actually works and where else we can put it!
2. smART Puzzles – I LOVE jizsaw puzzles. LOVE them. But I’m not sure if I rely more on the shape of the pieces or the colors, or if my style of building is a mix of both. Well, this puzzle takes away the shape. Here the pieces are all squares and they OVERLAP. What a messy puzzle – probably not for the OCD among us.
3. Art Dealer Game – I might love this just because I’m obsessed with the USA show White Collar, but, developed by a cognitive psychologist, this game tests your memory by asking you to attend virtual art sales, buy masterpieces and avoid the forgeries. Looks like fun!
4. Change your Body, Change your Brain Cookbook – I’m a big believer in whole body health, and I’m constantly looking for new recipes to add to my (currently very small) repertoire. I have a chef friend who is always giving me a hard time about cooking, so maybe I can pick up a few things to teach him!
Overall, I think Marbles: The Brain Store is pretty awesome.
What I think would really make them AMAZING would be adding some “group” times for people to come in and play puzzles together – a children’s group, an autism group, a brain injury group, and Alzheimer group – perhaps paired up with some non-profits or wellness groups. Or going to the wellness groups themselves. Also, having some full body component – yoga, dance/movement therapy, qi gong. Turning it from simple retail store to full body center with wellness coaches would be an amazing step forward for the BRAIN!
Check out the store online here: http://www.marblesthebrainstore.com/
Do you see any products you’re curious about? Anything you’ve used before? Have you noticed improvement in cognition with anything? Let me know!