Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Time to become mental capitalists and invest in our brains?

Time for the Novem­ber edi­tion of the month­ly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing a wealth of resources and insights on how to invest in our brains, includ­ing top­ics such as brain health, med­i­ta­tion, neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy, brain train­ing games, chemo brain, dyslex­ia, neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty, cog­ni­tive bias­es, stress, and more. Not to for­get a cou­ple of fun teasers. Enjoy!

Brain Fit­ness Q&A Ses­sions:

The Big Pic­ture:

New Research:

New Books:

Brain Teasers:

Thank you for your inter­est and atten­tion and have a great Decem­ber.

Brain Training Games for Seniors: Looking for the best brain training app

This arti­cle reports on a series of focus group stud­ies car­ried out at the Son­ic Arts Research Cen­tre, Queen’s Uni­ver­si­ty Belfast, North­ern Ire­land. The aim was to iden­ti­fy the key moti­va­tion­al fac­tors influ­enc­ing seniors’ engage­ment with mobile brain train­ing tech­nol­o­gy in order to inform the design of a brain train­ing tool which is accept­able / enjoy­able to tar­get users.

The result is an iPhone appli­ca­tion named ‘Brain Jog’ which can be down­loaded from here for free. The appli­ca­tion is being used for a fur­ther study to bet­ter under­stand what con­sti­tutes an enjoy­able brain train­ing game expe­ri­ence for seniors and is the first step in a larg­er study which will inves­ti­gate how effec­tive ‘brain train­ing’ apps can be in pre­vent­ing cog­ni­tive decline / demen­tia. Users over the age of 50 are encour­aged to down­load the free app and take part.

Now more about the present study. Thir­ty-four par­tic­i­pants aged 50+ took part in four focus groups last­ing approx­i­mate­ly 2 hours each. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teaser to Stimulate your Concentration Skills

Learn­ing can be inci­den­tal. We all mem­o­rize facts with­out pay­ing much atten­tion to these facts or with­out will­ing to mem­o­rize them. How­ev­er, when one real­ly wants to mem­o­rize a fact, it is cru­cial to pay atten­tion. Many stud­ies have shown that com­pared to full atten­tion con­di­tions, divid­ing atten­tion dur­ing study time leads to poor mem­o­ry per­for­mance.

This exer­cise will help you prac­tice focus­ing your atten­tion.

It may seem easy but make sure you count twice!

Count the num­ber of “Y” in this text:

Yes­ter­day, Lucy went all the way to Boston. She want­ed to buy new shoes. She had to go in many shops before she found the shoes she want­ed. She was hap­py to stop at a restau­rant to have some tea and cook­ies before she took the train back home.

Count the num­ber of “F” in this text:

Fin­ished files are the result of years of sci­en­tif­ic study com­bined with the expe­ri­ence of years.

Count the num­ber of “E” in this text:

Last sum­mer, Jean and Har­ri­et spent their vaca­tion in Michi­gan. They rent­ed a cab­in on the lake. The cab­in had two bed­rooms and a nice deck. They used to spend a lot of time on the deck, just look­ing at how the light would change on the water. Sev­er­al times, they bor­rowed bikes from their neigh­bors and spent a few hours explor­ing the vil­lages not far from their cab­in.


Solu­tions

There are 7 “Y” in the first text.

There are 6 “F” in the sec­ond text (got them?)

There are 38 “E” in the third text.

For many oth­er Brain Teasers, click Here.
For many oth­er teasers and arti­cles by Dr. Mich­e­lon, click Here.

Pascale MichelonPas­cale Mich­e­lon, Ph. D., is Sharp­Brains’ Research Man­ag­er for Edu­ca­tion­al Projects. Dr. Mich­e­lon has a Ph.D. in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­o­gy and has worked as a Research Sci­en­tist at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in Saint Louis, in the Psy­chol­o­gy Depart­ment. She con­duct­ed sev­er­al research projects to under­stand how the brain makes use of visu­al infor­ma­tion and mem­o­rizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Fac­ul­ty at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty.

Nintendo Brain Age/ Training vs. Crossword Puzzles

Nin­ten­do brain-train­er ‘no bet­ter than pen­cil and paper’ (The Times):
“The sur­vey of ten-year-old chil­dren found no evi­dence to sup­port claims in Nin­ten­do’s adver­tis­ing cam­paign, fea­tur­ing Nicole Kid­man, that users can test and reju­ve­nate their grey cells. The Nin­ten­do DS is a tech­no­log­i­cal jew­el. As a game it’s fine, said Alain Lieury, pro­fes­sor of cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rennes, Brit­tany, who con­duct­ed the sur­vey. But it is char­la­tanism to claim that it is a sci­en­tif­ic test.

Com­ments: as we have said before, Nin­ten­do Brain Age and Brain Train­ing should be seen as what they are: a game. And the con­struct of one’s hav­ing a  “brain age” makes no sense.

Hav­ing said that, the researcher quot­ed then offers, out of the blue, a high­ly inac­cu­rate state­ment:

The study test­ed Nin­ten­do’s claims on 67 ten-year-olds. “That’s the age where you have the best chance of improve­ment,” Pro­fes­sor Lieury said. “If it does­n’t work on chil­dren, it won’t work on adults.”

That asser­tion (that some­thing won’t “work” on adults because it won’t “work” on kids) makes even less sense than hav­ing a “brain age”. The Cog­ni­tive Reserve research shows the need for life­long men­tal stim­u­la­tion — and the real­i­ty is that kids are more exposed to nov­el­ty and chal­lenge all the time, where­as old­er adults may not be. Fur­ther, that claim (some­thing that does­n’t “work” on kids won’t “work” on adults) has already been test­ed and proven wrong:

In a cou­ple of recent tri­als, dis­cussed here, the same strat­e­gy game (Rise of Nations, a com­plex chal­lenge for exec­u­tive func­tions), played for the same num­ber of hours (23)  showed quite impres­sive (untrained) cog­ni­tive ben­e­fits in peo­ple over 60 — and no ben­e­fits in peo­ple in their 20s.

How can this be? Well, we often say that our brains need nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge — and it should be obvi­ous that those ingre­di­ents depend on who we are Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive News November-December 2008

Here you have sev­er­al recent arti­cles and devel­op­ments wor­thy of atten­tion:Brain Health News

1) Boom times for brain train­ing games (CNN)
2) Nav­i­gat­ing the brain fit­ness land­scape: do’s and don’ts (McK­night’s Long Term Care News)
3) USA Hock­ey and Intel­li­gym (press release)
4) Brain Fit­ness at New York Pub­lic Library (NYPL blog)
5) McDon­nell Foun­da­tion grant har­ness­es cog­ni­tive sci­ence to improve stu­dent learn­ing (press release)
6) Health insur­ance firms offer­ing online cog­ni­tive ther­a­py for insom­nia (Los Ange­les Times)
7) Head­Min­der Cog­ni­tive Sta­bil­i­ty Index: Com­put­er­ized Neu­rocog­ni­tive … (Press release)
8) THE AGE OF MASS INTELLIGENCE (Intel­li­gent Life)
9) Work­ing Lat­er in Life May Facil­i­tate Neur­al Health (Cere­brum)
10) The Cool Fac­tor: Nev­er Let Them See You Sweat (New York Times)

Links, select­ed quotes and com­men­tary: Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

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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