Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Is the Internet making us dumber? (Nope, just different)

Is the Inter­net Really Mak­ing Us Dumber? (Der Spiegel):

In Ger­many, scores increase by about 3 IQ points each decade. In fact, the tests have to be adjusted every few years to keep up. The test cur­rently used for chil­dren is called the WISC-IV. A per­son claim­ing to have an IQ of 130 needs to spec­ify which test gen­er­ated that result: WISC-III? WISC-IV? The aston­ish­ing upward trend Read the rest of this entry »

Cardiac Surgery Can Impact Long-term Cognitive Functioning, Suggesting Need for Monitoring and Rehab

Post-Op Delirium’s Toll on Men­tal Func­tion May Linger: Study (US News):

Delir­ium after car­diac surgery has been thought of as a brief, reversible con­di­tion, but new research is sug­gest­ing that [men­tal] recov­ery for some peo­ple may take much longer than thought, and that there are long-term cog­ni­tive con­se­quences,” said study co-lead author Jane Saczyn­ski, Read the rest of this entry »

Learning to Cope with Google/ Information Overload

Google chang­ing how humans think (Cana­dian Business):

- “…the psy­chol­o­gists con­cluded that our reliance on the Inter­net has affected how we relate to information—instead of remem­ber­ing the infor­ma­tion itself, we just remem­ber where to find it.”

- “While the move from know­ing infor­ma­tion to know­ing where to find it has many benefits—including free­ing up your brain for more rea­son­ing and ana­lyt­i­cal thinking—there’s a down­side too.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Training & Brain Teasers Can Increase Openness Among Older Adults

Brain Teasers Make Seniors More Open to New Ven­tures (med­page today):

- ” A cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram that included Sudoku and cross­word puz­zles made older adults more open to new expe­ri­ences, accord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary study.”

- “Older adults undergo changes in per­son­al­ity, includ­ing shifts in open­ness or will­ing­ness to seek out new and cog­ni­tively chal­leng­ing expe­ri­ences. A num­ber of inter­ven­tions have been designed to enrich cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing in older adults, but lit­tle has been done to develop open­ness, the authors explained.” Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teasers and Games, for Kids and Adults

In case you missed them, here you have a few recent brain teasers and games. t is always good to stim­u­late our minds and to learn a bit about how our brains work.

You can find many more brain teasers and games, for kids and adults, by vis­it­ing the Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games that our read­ers have enjoyed the most. Enjoy!

Digital Games for Physical, Cognitive and Behavioral Health

The Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion (RWJF) just announced more than 200px-Dance_Dance_Revolution_Extreme_arcade_machine_left_side_stage$1.85 mil­lion in grants for research teams to study how dig­i­tal games can improve play­ers’ health behav­iors and out­comes (both brain-based and behavioral).

The press release: Nine Lead­ing Research Teams Selected to Study How Dig­i­tal Games Improve Play­ers’ Health

  • Dig­i­tal games are inter­ac­tive and expe­ri­en­tial, and so they can engage peo­ple in pow­er­ful ways to enhance learn­ing and health behav­ior change, espe­cially when they are designed on the basis of well-researched strate­gies,” said (UC Santa Barbara’s Dr. Debra) Lieberman.
  • The pace of growth and inno­va­tion in dig­i­tal games is incred­i­ble, and we see tremen­dous poten­tial to design them to help peo­ple stay healthy or man­age chronic con­di­tions like dia­betes or Parkinson’s dis­ease. How­ever, we need to know more about what works and what does not — and why,” said Paul Tarini, team direc­tor for RWJF’s Pio­neer Port­fo­lio. “Health Games Research is a major invest­ment to build a research base for this dynamic young field. Fur­ther, the insights and ideas that flow from this work will help us con­tinue to expand our imag­i­na­tion of what is pos­si­ble in this arena.”

All 9 stud­ies sound inter­est­ing, 3 of them are closer to what we track:

  1. Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco (San Fran­cisco, CA) A Video Game to Enhance Cog­ni­tive Health in Older Adults. As peo­ple age, they lose some of their abil­ity to sus­tain their atten­tion and to focus their atten­tion on their main task while ignor­ing dis­trac­tions. This study aims to improve these and other related cog­ni­tive skills by using a dri­ving game in which Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience, brain development and cognitive health

Round-up of recent arti­cles on neu­ro­science, brain devel­op­ment and cog­ni­tive health:

Encephalon 68: A car­ni­val of neu­ro­science:

Chris hosts a great col­lec­tion of neu­ro­science and psy­chol­ogy posts in his sig­na­ture Q&A style.

Bilin­gual Babies Get Head Start — Before They Can Talk:

- Unlike the mono­lin­gual group, the bilin­gual group was able to suc­cess­fully learn a new sound type and use it to pre­dict where each char­ac­ter would pop up.

- The bilin­gual babies’ skill applies to more than just switch­ing between lan­guages. Mehler likened this appar­ently enhanced cog­ni­tive abil­ity to a brain select­ing “the right tool for the right oper­a­tion” also called exec­u­tive function.

- In this basic process, the brain, ever flex­i­ble, nim­bly switches from one learned response to another as sit­u­a­tions change.

- Mono­lin­gual babies hone this abil­ity later in their young lives, Mehler suggests.”

Study shows how kids’ stress hurts mem­ory:

Now, research is pro­vid­ing what could be cru­cial clues to explain how child­hood poverty trans­lates into dim­mer chances of suc­cess: Chronic stress from grow­ing up poor appears to have a direct impact on the brain, leav­ing chil­dren with impair­ment in at least one key area — work­ing memory.”

Return­ing troops get­ting tested for brain injuries:

- “More than 150,000 ser­vice mem­bers from the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy have under­gone the test­ing that became manda­tory last year. Those who suf­fer a con­cus­sion or sim­i­lar head injury will get a follow-up test.”

Dia­betes ‘impact on brain power’:

- “Fail­ure to con­trol type 2 dia­betes may have a long-term impact on the brain, research has suggested.

- Lead researcher Dr Jackie Price said: “Either hypos lead to cog­ni­tive decline, or cog­ni­tive decline makes it more dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to man­age their dia­betes, which in turn causes more hypos.

- “A third expla­na­tion could be that a third uniden­ti­fied fac­tor is caus­ing both the hypos and the cog­ni­tive decline.”

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