Playing Games Is Serious for My Wife

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by Carlos Briceño |

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My wife, Jill, and her phone are like Siamese twins — attached all the time. At least, that’s how it seems.

Jill, who has Huntington’s disease (HD), stares into her phone for hours when we are at home, playing puzzle, tile, and problem-solving games such as Tile Master, Candy Crush Saga, Tile Connect, Perfect Time, and Get It Right!

HD insidiously attacks a person’s cognitive abilities by causing the progressive degeneration of the basal ganglia, a collection of nerve cells, as well as other parts of the brain. This adversely affects mood, thinking, and motor-movement skills.

Researchers are trying to figure out if brain-training games can play a role in helping people with HD. The hope is that those who consistently play these types of games on the computer or phone can keep their brains sharper.

Years ago, Jill saw how HD affected her father. His thinking and processing skills slowed down. So, years ago, even before she knew she was gene-positive for HD, she started playing brain-training games on her phone. She figured that keeping her brain razor sharp was not a bad idea. And if she did have the gene, she would stave off the deterioration of her cognitive abilities as much as possible.

Although solving puzzles may not sound like a big deal, it is. She had enough foresight to develop a healthy habit that will probably help her in the long term.

As with anything difficult in life, much of the battle is mental. Being proactive affects her mental health. Rather than be a victim of the disease, she is attacking it, which makes her feel like she has some power over it. Although this may not be the case, it still makes a difference because apathy and depression are negative yet common aspects of Huntington’s.

If she ever stops playing the games, it will indicate to me that she wants to give up, and that the disease is beating her. But that is not Jill’s style. She is a fighter. She realizes there is no cure at the moment. She realizes that stopping its relentless progression is impossible. But she also realizes that she has a strong will. And she loves life. She will never stop living life to its fullest as long as she can help it.

If she can have fun solving some puzzles on her phone, well, that’s just an added bonus.

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Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.

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