Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Method for adaptive training of short term memory and auditory/visual discrimination within a computer game: Key Neurotech Patent #13


– Illustrative image from U.S. Patent No. 6,599,129

Today we are sharing a 2003 cognitive training patent assigned to Scientific Learning Corp.

U.S. Patent No. 6,599,129: Method for adaptive training of short term memory and auditory/visual discrimination within a computer game

  • Assignee(s): Scientific Learning Corp.
  • Inventor(s): William M. Jenkins, Michael M. Merzenich, Steven L. Miller, Bret E. Peterson, Paula Tallal
  • Technology Category: NeuroCognitive Training
  • Issue Date: July 29, 2003

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘129 patent builds on Scientific Learning’s portfolio relating to language training and development.   Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Brain training game helps resist unhealthy snack foods



Online game ‘may control snacking’ (BBC News):

“A computer game may help some people control their unhealthy snacking habits, suggests a small study from the University of Exeter.

The online game, developed by psychologists at the University of Exeter and Cardiff University, used “brain training” techniques to change behaviour – in this case, to resist unhealthy snack foods.  Read the rest of this entry »

Can Brain Training and Biofeedback Help Prevent Depression

In two innovative pilot studies, Ian Gotlib and his colleagues at Stanford University, California, showed that brain training can be used to help eliminate depression, even before it starts. They studied young girls (10 to 14 year old) whose mothers were depressed and who thus were at higher risk of developing depression themselves later-on. The girls had not experienced depression per se but already showed behaviors typical of depressed brains, such as overreaction to negative stimuli. Read the rest of this entry »

Nintendo Brain Training and Math in UK Schools

Computer game boosts maths scores (BBC):

– “It also found improvements in pupils’ concentration and behaviour.”

– “The study involved more than 600 pupils in 32 schools across Scotland using the Brain Training from Dr Kawashima game on the Nintendo DS every day.”

– “Researchers found that while all groups had improved their scores, the group using the game had improved by a further 50%.”

– “Less able children were found to be more likely to improve than the highest attainers and almost all pupils had an increased perception of their own ability.”

Comment:  fascinating results supporting the potential role for “Serious Games” in education. Now, please take the results with a grain of salt, since the study doesn’t seem to have been published yet in any top-tier peer-reviewed journal.. The information publicly available seems to simply consist of a press release by Learning and Teaching Scotland. We hope to see an in-depth report to answer many open questions on the study. In any case, welcome news!

Brain and Mind News and Articles

BrainHere you have a collection of recent news coverage on brain heath, fitness and training topics:

1- Great Memory Special in National Geographic, including

Interactive 3D map of the brain

Memory Game

2- Fascinating What the Beatles Gave Science, by Sharon Begley at Newsweek

– “Even in novices, meditation leaves its mark. An eight-week course in compassion meditation, in which volunteers focus on the wish that all beings be free from suffering, shifted brain activity from the right prefrontal cortex to the left, a pattern associated with a greater sense of well-being.”

3- One of the best editions of Scientific American Mind

Solving the IQ Puzzle “The 20th century saw the Flynn effect: massive gains in IQ from one generation to another. Now Flynn explains why”

Anxiety and Alzheimer– A lifetime of stress could lead to memory problems and disease: “Over a period of up to 12 years, volunteers who were anxiety-prone had a 40 percent higher risk of developing mild cognitive impairment than more easygoing individuals did. Mild cognitive impairment is thought to be a precursor for Alzheimer’s.”

4- Exercise builds strong brains, too –

– “Phillip Tomporowski, a study co-author and exercise psychologist at the University of Georgia in Athens, says exercise “may well improve the underlying mental processes that are involved in a lot of behaviors and academic tasks.”

5- Daily computer game boosts maths- BBC, reporting preliminary results from a small pilot

– “Playing a daily computer game has helped a class of primary school children improve their maths and concentration, a study says.”

6- ADHD and Brain Development- Washington Post

– “Developing more slowly in ADHD youngsters — the lag can be as much as three years — are brain regions that suppress inappropriate actions and thoughts, focus attention, remember things from moment to moment, work for reward, and control movement.”

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