Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Neurofeedback/ Quantitative EEG for ADHD diagnosis

Like all psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders, ADHD is diag­nosed based on the pres­ence of par­tic­u­lar behav­ioral symp­toms that are judged to cause sig­nif­i­cant impair­ment in an individual’s func­tion­ing, and not on the results of a spe­cif­ic test. In fact, recent­ly pub­lished ADHD eval­u­a­tion guide­lines from the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics (AAP) explic­it­ly state that no par­tic­u­lar diag­nos­tic test should be rou­tine­ly used when eval­u­at­ing a child for ADHD.

While most ADHD experts would agree that no sin­gle test could or should be used in iso­la­tion to diag­nose ADHD, there are sev­er­al impor­tant rea­sons why the avail­abil­i­ty of an accu­rate objec­tive test would be use­ful.

First, many chil­dren do not receive a care­ful and com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment for ADHD but are instead diag­nosed with based on eval­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures that are far from opti­mal.

Sec­ond, although AAP guide­lines indi­cate that spe­cif­ic diag­nos­tic tests should not be rou­tine­ly used, many par­ents are con­cerned about the lack of objec­tive pro­ce­dures in their child’s eval­u­a­tion. In fact, many fam­i­lies do not pur­sue treat­ment for ADHD because the the absence of objec­tive eval­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures leads them to ques­tion the diag­no­sis. You can read a review of an inter­est­ing study on this issue at www.helpforadd.com/2006/january.htm

For these rea­sons an accu­rate and objec­tive diag­nos­tic test for ADHD could be of val­ue in many clin­i­cal sit­u­a­tions. Two impor­tant con­di­tions would have to be met for such a test to be use­ful.

First, it would have to be high­ly sen­si­tive to Read the rest of this entry »

What You Can do to Improve Memory (and Why It Deteriorates in Old Age)

After about age 50, most peo­ple begin to expe­ri­ence a decline in mem­o­ry capa­bil­i­ty. Why is that? One obvi­ous answer is that the small arter­ies of the brain begin to clog up, often as a result of a life­time of eat­ing the wrong things and a lack of exer­cise. If that life­time has been stress­ful, many neu­rons may have been killed by stress hor­mones. Giv­en theImprove Memory Bill Klemm most recent sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­ture, reviewed in my book Thank You, Brain, For All You Remem­ber. What You For­got Was My Fault, dead neu­rons can’t be replaced, except in the hip­pocam­pus, which is for­tu­nate for mem­o­ry because the hip­pocam­pus is essen­tial for mak­ing cer­tain kinds of mem­o­ries per­ma­nent. Anoth­er cause is incip­i­ent Alzheimer’s dis­ease; autop­sies show that many peo­ple have the lesions of the dis­ease but have nev­er shown symp­toms, pre­sum­ably because a life­time of excep­tion­al men­tal activ­i­ty has built up a “cog­ni­tive reserve.

So is there any­thing you can do about it besides exer­cise like crazy, eat healthy foods that you don’t like all that much, pop your statin pills, and take up yoga?

Yes. In short: focus, focus, focus.

Chang­ing think­ing styles can help. Research shows that Read the rest of this entry »

Attention Deficits At Work

We have all heard about chil­dren who have Atten­tion Deficit/Hyperactivity Dis­or­der (AD/HD). Indeed, this con­di­tion seems to affect 5 to 8% of school age chil­dren. Have you ever won­dered what hap­pen to these chil­dren? As many as 60% of them become adults pre­sent­ing AD/HD symp­toms! Ron de Graaf and col­leagues recent­ly pub­lished a study in which they found that an aver­age of 3.5% of work­ers (in ten coun­tries) meet the cri­te­ria for adult ADHD. As you can imag­ine, being an adult with AD/HD can be a chal­lenge at work.

Before we explore this issue let’s start by describ­ing the symp­toms of ADHD.

What is adult AD/HD?

AD/HD is a dis­or­der of the brain. Research clear­ly indi­cates that AD/HD is to a large extent genet­ic, that is it tends to run in fam­i­lies. How­ev­er, AD/HD is a com­plex dis­or­der and oth­er causal fac­tors may be at play.

Typ­i­cal­ly, the symp­toms arise in ear­ly child­hood, unless they are asso­ci­at­ed with some type of brain injury lat­er in life. Some peo­ple have mild AD/HD with only a few symp­toms while oth­ers have more seri­ous AD/HD with more symp­toms.

Symp­toms of inat­ten­tion (adapt­ed from the DSM-IV)

Read the rest of this entry »

Memory Improvement Techniques and Brain Exercises

Fitness TrainerA read­er (thanks Mike!) sends us this fun arti­cle, titled A mat­ter of train­ing, on how to train our mem­o­ry. Some quotes:

It’s a skill, not a tal­ent. It’s some­thing any­one could have picked up … I’m not born with this. It’s about train­ing and tech­nique, he says, explain­ing his unusu­al abil­i­ty. Anant holds the Lim­ca Record  the Indi­an equiv­a­lent of the Guin­ness Record œ for mem­o­ris­ing 75 tele­phone num­bers, along with the names of their own­ers, in less than an hour. He is recog­nised as “the man with the most phe­nom­e­nal mem­o­ry in India.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, most peo­ple think that mem­o­ris­ing is very dif­fi­cult. The moment they see some­one demon­strate some­thing like this, they think it’s out of this world.

If you want to remem­ber some­thing, you have to link it to some­thing you already know. Asso­ci­a­tion is the nat­ur­al prin­ci­pal. For exam­ple, if you need direc­tions to a place, a land­mark is often used as a point of ref­er­ence. And if you derive plea­sure from some­thing you do, there’s a good chance you’ll remem­ber it. Since the brain already works in this man­ner, why don’t we take con­trol of it?

To me, an intel­li­gent per­son is some­one who is able to put togeth­er more of his skills to solve a prob­lem. Intel­li­gence is about using strate­gies.

The key con­cept here is that mem­o­ry, as well as oth­er cog­ni­tive skills, can be trained through Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.