Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Next: Measuring the impact of space flight on cognitive performance and brain fitness


The flight that brings space weight­less­ness to Earth (BBC Future):

Five, four, three, two, one…”

Not many air­craft cap­tains give their pas­sen­gers a rock­et launch-style count­down before take-off, but this is no ordi­nary plane. For starters, every­one on board, apart from the crew, is a sci­en­tist and has passed a full med­ical check – includ­ing a heart assess­ment. This is not a trip for ner­vous fliers…Klein is wear­ing a cap cov­ered in elec­trodes to mea­sure his brain’s activ­i­ty while he and two oth­ers react to audio sig­nals, use a key­board, and solve a math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tion dur­ing the 20-sec­ond peri­ods of micro­grav­i­ty. “It’s not a dif­fi­cult equa­tion but under the pres­sure of time it becomes a dif­fi­cult cog­ni­tive per­for­mance task.”

Phys­i­cal fit­ness is impor­tant for astro­nauts but so is brain fit­ness and there are poten­tial effects to con­sid­er from being in micro­grav­i­ty and also in iso­la­tion for longer dura­tions.

Long-term iso­la­tion can reduce cog­ni­tive per­for­mance but it has also been shown that dur­ing micro­grav­i­ty cog­ni­tive per­for­mance is increased,” says Klein. “We are inter­est­ed in the mech­a­nisms behind that. Brain flow is increased in micro­grav­i­ty so we are look­ing at the link between them.”

As well as gain­ing a greater under­stand­ing of an astronaut’s per­for­mance in space, this knowl­edge has poten­tial appli­ca­tions for design­ing bet­ter ways to help those with Alzheimer’s dis­ease or demen­tia.”

News in Context

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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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