Magic the Gathering: Game for the Brain


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Health And Fitness | Posted on 18-04-2015

Though it may seem that a majority of people think that card games such as Magic: The Gathering are designed for nerds or geeks, there is a very compelling reason to consider taking up this entertaining hobby. Magic: The Gathering can be incredibly helpful and healthy for the mind. Brain development is a constant process throughout someone’s life with neural pathways being built each time new information enters the senses. While any hobby stimulates brain activity, Magic: The Gathering offers a bit more of a complex array of benefits to keep a mind healthy.

Focus on Strategy

In addition to the interesting fantasy character aspect, it is a game of patience where focus and withholding or saving a spell may clinch a win. In the modern age of ADD and ADHD, it is advantageous to market a hobby that requires focus and sticking to an objective while simultaneously working with distractions. In a skilled Magic: The Gathering match, a red herring might be offered by another player to entice an attack, or draw the use of a countering spell. If the player is not focused and paying attention to which cards have or have not been played, then it may result in a catastrophic error that costs him the match.

Players must maintain seven card hands, discarding down to seven at the end of each turn. When deciding which cards to forfeit, it requires planning that benefits the same type of brain functioning as a chess player uses. The heart of strategy in Magic: The Gathering comes from understanding what could potentially happen in a match with the opponent. Whether to discard down, use spells or declare attackers hinges on the permutations of choices an opponent can make, or the cause and effect of future plays.

Staying Young Longer

Strengthening memory is an incredible tactic that can slow down aging and make everyday activities much less taxing. Magic: The Gathering cards total nearly 13,000, with over 6,000 of those being creatures. In a deck, conventionally made up of 60 cards, any permutation of those 13,000 cards could be used. In addition to remembering the lands, which are the most basic and commonly used cards, those many combinations are the basis of playing strategically. The more data a player remembers from all the possible combinations of cards increases the chances of winning the match because he or she can anticipate an upcoming play.

It is not uncommon for newer players to the game to feel completely overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information to take in for their odds of winning a match to increase. Brain development and memory-flexing comes from the repeated use of these cards in matches, or by repeated deck construction. Constructing a deck assists in memory management because while there may be 400 cards that fit the theme, objective, or strategy a player chooses for a deck, only 60 can make the cut. Subtract the 22-26 lands and it leaves just 34-38 available choices. Knowing what cards are available to fill those vacancies in deck design builds the player’s memory as a winning combination is sought.

Exciting Exercise

Consider the benefits for the brain when taking up playing Magic: The Gathering. It is a simple game to learn, but will exercise a player’s neurons through strenuous exceptions to rules, combinations of cards, and all the little nuances that make it an exciting fantasy escape from reality.


In addition to Magic the Gathering, Dillon Prescott writes on CCGs, video games, movie trivia, board games, collectible gadgets and other neat topics.

The Top 10 Safest Vehicles on the Road


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Health And Fitness | Posted on 17-04-2015

Once a year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looks at accident records to determine the safest vehicles on the road. The Institute uses actual accident records over a period of four years and requires that each vehicle they rate have at least 100,000 models on the road at the time. The Institute prides itself on using real world road and driver accident results, not tests in a laboratory. These models were tested over the 2005-2008 vehicle years. Here are the results of their latest review:

1. Audi A6 – This 4WD luxury sedan that can seat six offers a great combination of handling, braking and high visibility. The car rated the top in its class for luxury sedans, meaning it has the lowest accident rating and the lowest injury rating during an accident.

2. Mercedes E Class 4WD 4Matic – This is the safest version of this model. While the regular Class E is a fairly safe ride, the E Class 4WD 4Matic is several steps higher on the safety list. This car also rated at the top for luxury sedans, tied with the Audi A6.

3. Toyota Siena – This is the top rated van of the larger vans. This van offers space, better handling and stopping and an assist from some electronic devices. Toyota has had some issues with some of its products recently, but this van is not one of those.

4. Ford Edge – This is the only SUV or CUV to obtain a top rating from the Institute. This type of cars no longer has rolled over issues and have strong roofs over the passenger areas. This CUV has great stability and tractions despite its large size.

5. Nissan Armada – the large 4WD SUV obtained a top rating from the Institute which came as a surprise to some of its competition. This vehicle is large and requires careful handling on sharp curves. Its sturdy build provides a large group with the highest level of safety.

6. Range Rover Sport 4WD – This midsize SUV is the top in the luxury SUV class. Its sturdy build and precise handling on and off the road make this SUV a safe vehicle. Range Rover does not advertise its safety; it just keeps selling vehicles.

7. Land Rover LR3 4WD – This large SUV also rated top in its class. It has the same build as the Range Rover and is just as safe. This is a good choice in a large, luxury SUV.

8. Honda CR-V – This small crossover vehicle is the highest rated Honda vehicle by the Institute. Its low center of gravity plus other safety gear place it second on the Institute’s list in this class. This vehicle has good handling and a great repair record.

9. Jeep Grand Cherokee – This midsize SUV is second on the Institute’s list in this model class. Build to drive through any off road conditions, it is also quite safe on paved roads as well. Jeep continues its reputation as a safe off-road vehicle.

10. Acura MDX – This midsize SUV is second in its class with this model including new crumple zones, a nimble chassis, and good rollover protection. This model is a good buy for the safety minded.

So, there you have it. To view the ratings of the rest of the vehicles tested by the Institute, click here.

Jeremiah Vincent is primarily a legal blogger who concentrates on such topics as Auto Accidents, Cognitive Injuries, Product Liability, and Personal Injury.

Signs Your Loved One May Benefit From a Nursing Home


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Health And Fitness | Posted on 17-04-2015

Making the decision to move your loved one into a nursing home is difficult, but it may be the best way to support their declining health and physical and emotional wellbeing. If you are considering moving your loved one into a nursing home, there are several indicators that will help you to make your decision.

Declining Health

If your loved one’s health has declined to the point that it is becoming too cumbersome to manage, moving them to a nursing home may prove beneficial. This decline could be the result of disease, mobility issues, cognitive issues or injuries. Even if their stay in a nursing home is short-term for rehabilitation or respite, you can have the peace of mind that they will have the care they need from a trained medical staff available to them 24 hours a day.

They Are Not Able To Care for Themselves

If you find that your loved one is unable to successfully complete their activities of daily living (ADLs), a nursing home may be a good fit. ADLs are anything from bathing, dressing, toileting, cooking, eating, general home upkeep, remembering to take medications or any other activities that are vital to basic living. If there are only a few of these items they are not able to complete, you may be able to find solutions. If they can no longer cook, for example, you can arrange to have meals delivered to their home or buy healthy microwavable foods. However, many of these ADLs need daily monitoring to make sure your loved one is happy, healthy and clean.

You Are Not Equipped To Provide the Care They Need

If you or a family member has moved your loved one in with them, or you have been taking turns providing them care in their current home, it may come to a point that their need for care is more than you can provide. This could be due to their continued decline in health, a need for a more advanced skill set or the juggling of their care with your work and personal life becoming too difficult to manage.

They Need More Socialization

As your loved one ages, more and more of their friends and family members begin to pass away. The more their social circle diminishes, the lonelier they can get. Even if you and your family visit during the weekends and in the evening, your loved one may spend the majority of their time alone. When your loved one moves into a nursing home, they may actually enjoy being surrounded by others of their age and generation. If your loved one is still quite physically capable, look for a nursing home that has regular activities and group outings that they will enjoy.

Making the transition from independent living or assisted living into a nursing home is a big step. While moving a loved one into a nursing home is a difficult decision, it can ensure their safety and enhance their quality of life. If you and your family are having a difficult time making this decision, consider reaching out to a geriatric care manager or social worker who can provide an unbiased opinion. Remember: when your loved one is in a nursing home, you will have the ability to call and visit them as often as you please. You can even take them on outings if they have the mobility.


Justin Maynard writes on the medical profession, health and fitness, medical science, medical education, assisted living, nutritional science and other kindred areas. Nursing home caregivers have to possess a unique skill set which calls for both technical competence and interpersonal receptivity; those interested in possibly joining the nursing profession should check out Practical Nursing Online.