Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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News on physical, cognitive and emotional fitness

Brain Health NewsNice week­end read­ing mate­r­i­al — recent news reiforc­ing emerg­ing trends on phys­i­cal, cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al fit­ness, but with new twists.

Fit teens could be smarter teens

Researchers from Swe­den and USC exam­ined data on 1.2 mil­lion Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976 who also enlist­ed for the country’s manda­to­ry mil­i­tary ser­vice. They looked at the par­tic­i­pants’ glob­al intel­li­gence scores as well as log­i­cal, visu­ospa­tial, ver­bal and tech­ni­cal scores. The greater the car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness, the high­er the cog­ni­tive scores at age 18. The asso­ci­a­tion between mus­cle strength and glob­al intel­li­gence, in con­trast, was weak.”

UPMC Health Plan Offers Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware to Improve Health

UPMC Health Plan announced today that it has signed an agree­ment to offer award-win­ning brain fit­ness soft­ware from Posit Sci­ence®, at no cost, to all UPMC for Life Medicare Advan­tage mem­bers. This brain train­ing pro­gram is a new part of the UPMC Health Plan well­ness ser­vices, which focus on both mind and body fit­ness.

The brain fit­ness soft­ware, known as the Insight™ Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram, is a suite of five game-like com­put­er exer­cis­es that make brain train­ing chal­leng­ing and effec­tive. The pro­gram engages the brain’s nat­ur­al plas­tic­i­ty (the brain’s abil­i­ty to rewire itself) to improve basic brain func­tion.”

Brain-fit­ness indus­try grows as baby-boomers work to stay sharp.

When we’re younger we’re learn­ing quite inten­sive­ly,” she said. “By mid­dle age, we’re not learn­ing inten­sive­ly any­more and just using skills we’ve already mas­tered. That’s why it’s impor­tant to stretch your brain.”

Brain fit­ness games also have the poten­tial to improve one’s emo­tion­al health, said Mark Bald­win, a psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty in Mon­tre­al.

Bald­win has devel­oped a num­ber of com­put­er games based on keep­ing a brain active phys­i­o­log­i­cal­ly, to improve it psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly.

It’s about prac­tis­ing or using games to train ben­e­fi­cial habits of thought, ” he said.

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