Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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From crosswords and sudoku to individualized brain training

brainsMind Games? Gyms For The Brain Avail­able Online (Investor’s Busi­ness Daily):

  • If your New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is exer­cise — exer­cise your brain, that is — then cyber­space might be just the place for you… Read the rest of this entry »

Top brain teasers to test your mind

brainstormingWe just selected and cat­e­go­rized the Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games that Sharp­Brains read­ers have been enjoy­ing the most.

Here are a few samples…

Fun exper­i­ments on how our brains work

1. You think you know the col­ors? Try the Stroop Test

3. Take the Senses Chal­lenge (Interactive)

Atten­tion and memoryTwo In One Task

7. Count the Fs in this sentence

9. Proud of your visual mem­ory? Give a try at “Picasso” (Interactive)

10. Is your atten­tion bet­ter than a chimp’s? (Interactive)

–> For more, visit these  Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games and test your per­cep­tual and cog­ni­tive abilities…

Brain Teaser: Test your mental rotation skills

Are you famil­iar with men­tal rota­tion? It refers to mov­ing things around in your head. It is one of the numer­ous visu­ospa­tial skills that we all have.

Let’s take an exam­ple. Can you pic­ture in your head an arrow point­ing to the right? Now, turn this arrow so it points to the left. Done? You have just per­formed a men­tal rota­tion. Although it is rare to con­sciously imag­ine objects mov­ing, peo­ple auto­mat­i­cally use this abil­ity when they read maps, use tools, play chess, arrange fur­ni­ture, drive in traf­fic, etc.

Men­tal rota­tion relies mostly on the pari­etal areas of your brain (yel­low sec­tion in the brain image above).

Here is a brain exer­cise to stim­u­late your men­tal rota­tion skills.

  • The top shape is your model.
  • Among the 3 shapes below the model, only one matches the model. To fig­ure out which one does you will prob­a­bly have to move the shapes around in your head.
  • Move the shapes from left to right or right to left but DO NOT FLIP them around.

First set

Sec­ond set

Third Set

To see the cor­rect answers click here: Read the rest of this entry »

Optical illusions and brain teasers

Quick note: Yahoo! has cre­ated an expanded sec­tion with opti­cal illu­sions and brain teasers, and we were glad to con­tribute to it. You can enjoy it Here.

Once you are done, you can find many more brain teasers here.

Update: Public Libraries as Health Clubs for the Brain

Here you have the July edi­tion of our monthly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and Brain Fitnessbrain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

Pub­lic libraries have long offered the pub­lic more than books. And now, recent demo­graphic and sci­en­tific trends are con­verg­ing to fun­da­men­tally trans­form the role of libraries in our cul­ture. You may enjoy read­ing this recent arti­cle I wrote for the May-June 2009 Issue of Aging Today, the bimonthly pub­li­ca­tion of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging: Pub­lic Libraries: Community-Based Health Clubs for the Brain.

The Big Picture

Can You Out­smart Your Genes? An Inter­view with Author Richard Nis­bett: David DiS­alvo inter­views Richard Nis­bett, the author of Intel­li­gence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cul­tures Count, who has emerged as a per­sua­sive voice mar­shalling evi­dence to dis­prove the heredity-is-destiny argument.

Yes, You Can Build Willpower: Daniel Gole­man dis­cusses how the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day, how they migrate to where they are needed, and how each cell can make around 10,000 con­nec­tions to other brain cells. Impli­ca­tion? Med­i­tate, mind­fully, and build pos­i­tive habits.

Bird’s Eye View of Cog­ni­tive Health Inno­va­tion: Alvaro Fer­nan­dez opened the Cog­ni­tive Health Track dur­ing the Games for Health Con­fer­ence (June 11-12th, Boston) with an overview of the seri­ous games, soft­ware and online appli­ca­tions that can help assess and train cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties. The pre­sen­ta­tion is avail­able Here.

Brain Tests and Myths

The Best Mem­ory Tests, from the Alzheimer’s Action Plan: Dr. Murali Doraiswamy dis­cusses the Pros and Cons of the most com­mon assess­ments to iden­tify cog­ni­tive prob­lems, includ­ing what the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) does and doesn´t, and inno­v­a­tive com­put­er­ized neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal tests.

Debunk­ing 10 Brain Health Myths: Does your brain have a “Brain Age”? Is a Magic Pill to “pre­vent mem­ory prob­lems” right around the cor­ner? Does “aging” equal “decline”? Check out the facts to debunk 10 com­mon myths on brain health.

Resources

Free Webi­nar: On July 21st, 10am Pacific Time/ 1pm East­ern Time, Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, co-authors of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, will cover the main high­lights from this new book and address the ques­tions sub­mit­ted by read­ers. You can learn more and reg­is­ter HERE.

Research Ref­er­ences:  This is a par­tial list of the sci­en­tific stud­ies reviewed dur­ing the research phase of SharpBrains’s new book, orga­nized by rel­e­vant chap­ter, for those of you who like to explore top­ics in depth by read­ing orig­i­nal research (per­haps PubMed should pro­mote itself as a never end­ing source of men­tal stimulation?).

Brain Teasers

Brain Teasers on Brain Fit­ness: Are you ready to test your knowl­edge of sev­eral key brain fit­ness met­rics? For exam­ple: How many sol­diers in the US Army have gone through com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive test­ing before being deployed, and why?
Finally, a request: if you have already read The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, and could write a brief cus­tomer review at Amazon.com, we would surely appre­ci­ate! The Amazon.com book page is Here.

Best regards, and enjoy the month

Can you use mental self rotation to read a map?

What is men­tal self rota­tion? It is the abil­ity to imag­ine your­self in dif­fer­ent loca­tions in space and imag­ine your body mov­ing in space. This is an abil­ity that is used in dif­fer­ent every­day activ­i­ties such as nav­i­gat­ing in an envi­ron­ment or read­ing a map.

  • Abil­ity involved: ego­cen­tric spa­tial trans­for­ma­tions (yes, that is the sci­en­tific expres­sion) or men­tal self rotation.
  • Brain areas involved: mostly pari­etal lobes.

Let’s take an exam­ple. Imag­ine that you plan to go to a new Wal­greens loca­tion. You won­der whether going North on Big Bend Avenue you would have to make a right or a left turn onto Forsyth Blvd to get to Wal­greens. You then look at the map that your spouse has laid out on the table. It turns out that the map is upside down so your per­spec­tive is not aligned with the one shown on the map (see Fig­ure 1 just below, Box A). How do you get the answer to your ques­tion? Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teasers: Spot the Difference

Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon recently shared with our read­ers which brain areas and cog­ni­tive func­tions are engaged as we solve the type of brain teaser known as Spot the Dif­fer­ence, where we have to find the dif­fer­ences between two ver­sions of one image: Read the rest of this entry »

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