Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Study: To improve brain health you need BOTH aerobic and cognitive exercise

– Neur­al net­works. Pho­to cred­it: Radu Jianu, Brown Uni­ver­si­ty

Men­tal, phys­i­cal exer­cis­es pro­duce dis­tinct brain ben­e­fits (Sci­ence Dai­ly):

Cog­ni­tive brain train­ing improves exec­u­tive func­tion where­as aer­o­bic activ­i­ty improves mem­o­ry, accord­ing to new Cen­ter for Brain­Health research at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Dal­las…healthy adults who par­tic­i­pat­ed in cog­ni­tive train­ing demon­strat­ed pos­i­tive changes in exec­u­tive brain func­tion as well as a 7.9 per­cent increase in glob­al brain flow com­pared to study coun­ter­parts who par­tic­i­pat­ed in an aer­o­bic exer­cise pro­gram. The aer­o­bic exer­cise group showed increas­es in imme­di­ate and delayed mem­o­ry per­for­mance that were not seen in the cog­ni­tive train­ing group.

Most peo­ple tell me that they want a bet­ter mem­o­ry and notice mem­o­ry changes as they get old­er,” said Dr. Mark D’Esposito…“While mem­o­ry is impor­tant, exec­u­tive func­tions such as deci­sion-mak­ing and the abil­i­ty to syn­the­size infor­ma­tion are equal­ly, if not more so, but we often take them for grant­ed. The take­away: Aer­o­bic activ­i­ty and rea­son­ing train­ing are both valu­able tools that give your brain a boost in dif­fer­ent ways.”

Study: Dis­tinct Brain and Behav­ioral Ben­e­fits from Cog­ni­tive vs. Phys­i­cal Train­ing: A Ran­dom­ized Tri­al in Aging Adults (Fron­tiers in Human Neu­ro­science)

  • Abstract: Insid­i­ous declines in nor­mal aging are well-estab­lished. Emerg­ing evi­dence sug­gests that non-phar­ma­co­log­i­cal inter­ven­tions, specif­i­cal­ly cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal train­ing, may counter dimin­ish­ing age-relat­ed cog­ni­tive and brain func­tions. This ran­dom­ized tri­al com­pared effects of two train­ing pro­to­cols: cog­ni­tive train­ing (CT) vs. phys­i­cal train­ing (PT) on cog­ni­tion and brain func­tion in adults 56–75 years. Seden­tary par­tic­i­pants (N = 36) were ran­dom­ized to either CT or PT group for 3 h/week over 12 weeks. They were assessed at baseline‑, mid‑, and post-train­ing using neu­rocog­ni­tive, MRI, and phys­i­o­log­i­cal mea­sures. The CT group improved on exec­u­tive func­tion where­as PT group’s mem­o­ry was enhanced…The pre­lim­i­nary evi­dence indi­cates that increased cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty improves brain health in dis­tinct ways. Rea­son­ing train­ing enhanced frontal net­works shown to be inte­gral to top-down cog­ni­tive con­trol and brain resilience…Exercise did not improve cere­brovas­cu­lar response, although CBF increased in hip­pocampi of those with mem­o­ry gains. Dis­tinct ben­e­fits incen­tivize test­ing effec­tive­ness of com­bined pro­to­cols to strength­en brain health.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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