Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Cognitive Health News Round-Up

Round-up of interesting recent news on cognitive health and fitness: the field is in motion.

1) Baycrest creates Centre for Brain Fitness with $10-million Investment from Ontario Government (Canada NewsWire)

2) Cognitive tests are the best way to select medical students (EurekAlert)

3) High blood pressure hard on the aging brain (Reuters)

4) Alzheimer’s tests beneficial for seniors (Atlanta-Journal Constitutional)

5) Dementia-Dreading Baby Boomers Spur Race to Invent Brain Games (Bloomberg)

6) Vivity Labs launches Fit Brains brain-training game site (VentureBeat) 

7) Depression and Alzheimer’s (NHS Choices)

For selected quotes and comments, Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness and Exercise in Japan

Fun article in the Washington Post: Aging Japanese Keep Their Minds Moving

  • “part of a broad range of mental acuity products that are all the rage in Japan: books, toys, food and other things, sold with the pledge that they can reenergize aging brains.”
  • “Analysts said the current brain-training trend began in 2004 and 2005 when video games such as Sega Toys Co.’s Brain Trainer and Nintendo Co.’s Brain Age became smash hits. Since its launch, Brain Age for Nintendo’s DS console has sold 6.7 million copies around the world, including 3.4 million in Japan.”

We were fortunate to interview a Japanese expert on this trend a few months ago. In Brain Training and “Brain-ism” in Japan, we can learn a lot, such as

  • “To see the activities inside the brain was fresh for people, but the methodology and logic was not reviewed by any scientific publication. It was published by Read the rest of this entry »

Brain blogs, videogames and rewiring our brains

Some great posts:

The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids in New York Magazine (via Mind Hacks)

  • “One group was praised for their intelligence (“You must be smart at this”), while the others were praised for their effort (“You must have worked really hard”). This simple difference had a startling effect.”
  • “Children who were praised for their effort were more likely to choose a harder test when given a choice, were less likely to become disheartened when given a test they were guaranteed to fail, and when finally given the original tests again, their marks improved.”

Videogames Improve Vision by Rewiring Your Brain in Scientific American

A new edition of the Brain Blogging Blog Carnival.

And please remember to submit posts to the next edition of the brain fitness Blog Carnival.

Brain Workout for Your Frontal Lobes

Your frontal lobes are home to your executive functions, including pattern recognition. Here’s a puzzle to challenge your ability to uncover a pattern.

In this puzzle, three numbers: 16, 14, and 38, need to be assigned to one of the rows of numbers below. To which row should each number be assigned – A, B, or C?

A: 0 6 8 9 3
B: 5 13 2 10 16
C: 7 1 47 11 17

Why do we care about pattern recognition skills? Well, if you’re an athlete, then you want to constantly improve your ability to see spatial patterns on the court or field quickly so you can act on them – by passing to open space or attacking the goal at the right moment. Stock traders look for patterns in the market behavior to guide them on buying and selling decisions. Chess masters are experts at recognizing complicated moves. Reading is also pattern recognition.

So, you use pattern recognition all the time whether you know it or not. But remember, using a skill is great, but you have to keep exercising it a little bit harder each time to develop it further.

Have you solved the puzzle yet? If not, here’s a hint:
It’s not a mathematical problem. The numerical values are irrelevant.

Keep reading for the answer
Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Brain Teasers and Games, with a neuroscience angle

No matter what we are reading or doing, there is always the need to take a little break and challenge our minds (and to learn a bit about how our brains work). Here you have a selection of the 10 Brain Teasers that people have enjoyed most in this site.

1. Do you think you know the colors?: the Stroop Test

2. Can you count?: Basketball attention experiment

3. Planning is not that easy: Towers of Hanoi

4. Interactive visual illusion: the Muller-Lyer Illusion

5. Who is this?: A very important little guy

5. How many…: Train your Frontal and Parietal lobes

6. What’s the missing number: Pattern Recognition Brain Teaser

7. Who’s the eldest?: Reasoning Skills Brain Teaser

8. Brain Puzzle for the Whole Brain: The Blind Beggar

9. Is a circle a circle?: Visual Perception Brain Teaser

10. How is this possible?
Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroplasticity and Lifelong Learning

What a month. We promised you with our blog title 7 months ago that we would be your “Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution”, but we couldn’t have predicted that CBS, Time Magazine, WSJ, NYT and other mainstream media would be such great allies in this neuroplasticity effort.

Special Offer: For a limited time, you can receive a complimentary copy of our Brain Fitness 101 e-Guide: Answers to your Top 25 Questions, written by Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg and Alvaro Fernandez, by subscribing to our monthly newsletter. You can subscribe Here.

Brain Fitness for All

Let’s start with (Wall Street Journal Science Editor) Sharon Begley’s article titled How The Brain Rewires Itself, based on her Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain book. She provides a fascinating overview, summarized as

FOR DECADES, THE PREVAILING DOGMA IN neuroscience was that the adult human brain is essentially immutable, hardwired, fixed in form and function, so that by the time we reach adulthood we are pretty much stuck with what we have. Yes, it can create (and lose) synapses, the connections between neurons that encode memories and learning… . The doctrine of the unchanging human brain has had profound ramifications. …But research in the past few years has overthrown the dogma. In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of “neuroplasticity” — the ability to change its structure and function in response to experience. These aren’t minor tweaks either.

In short, the brain is not that different from a muscle (better said, a group of muscles). It can be trained. At any age. Not with magical pills or cures, but with focus and disciplined training.
Read the rest of this entry »

Is it necessary to train under the supervision of a doctor or other specialist?

Fitness TrainerHere is question 11 of 25 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions. To download the complete version, please click here

Question:
Is it necessary to train under the supervision of a doctor or other specialist?

Key Points:

  • Recreational activities have always been done for fun either socially or independently.
  • Most computer-based software programs are intended for you to use on your own computer when it suits you. Think exercise and fitness, not medicine.
  • A few programs used for people with medical conditions may be supervised or reviewed by the treating neuropsychologist, physician, or other healthcare personnel.

Answer: Read the rest of this entry »

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