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Busy schedules linked to better memory and cognition among middle-aged and older adults

busyness

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Being Super Busy May* Be Good For Your Brain (Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine):

There hasn’t been much sci­en­tif­ic research on busy­ness itself, although it’s some­thing that we talk about so often,” explains Sara Fes­ti­ni, a cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tist at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Dal­las Cen­ter for Vital Longevi­ty, a co-author of the new research pub­lished this week Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Higher body mass index (BMI) linked to episodic memory deficits in young adults

brain_measuretapeObe­si­ty May Wors­en Episod­ic Mem­o­ry, Make It Hard­er To Keep Track Of Cer­tain Events (Med­ical Dai­ly):

High body mass index (BMI) has been asso­ci­at­ed with cer­tain health risks, which may now include cog­ni­tive impair­ment, accord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary research pub­lished in The Quar­ter­ly Jour­nal of Exper­i­men­tal Psy­chol­o­gy. The study Read the rest of this entry »

Needed: funding for innovative research on slowing cognitive decline via cognitive training

I was real­ly inter­est­ed in the recent cri­tique of the BBC brain train­ing exper­i­ment by Dr. Eliz­a­beth Zelin­s­ki. I think Owens et al (2010) was a crit­i­cal piece of research which was not con­duct­ed in the right way and was focus­ing on the wrong sam­ple pop­u­la­tion.  I total­ly agree with the com­ments by Dr. Zelin­s­ki regard­ing the poten­tial for sam­ple bias and the use of some ques­tion­able cog­ni­tive mea­sures. How­ev­er, I would like to take this cri­tique fur­ther and ques­tion whether the study was val­ue for mon­ey when there are oth­er stud­ies which can­not achieve fund­ing but would, in my opin­ion, show the criticism/scepticism of the use-it-or-lose-it the­o­ry.

I think there is not enough crit­i­cism about the age of the sam­ple pop­u­la­tion used in Owens et al. (2010). We have con­clu­sive cog­ni­tive and neu­ro­log­i­cal evi­dence that cognitive/neurological plas­tic­i­ty exists in young adults. There is also ade­quate evi­dence that neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty is evi­dent in old­er adults. The crit­i­cal point which I want to make about the sam­ple pop­u­la­tion in Owens et al. study is that it did not tar­get the cor­rect sam­ple pop­u­la­tion, that is, old­er adults who are at risk of cognitive/neuronal atro­phy. It does not mat­ter if younger adults improve on brain train­ing tasks, or if skills picked up by younger adults from brain train­ing are not trans­ferred to oth­er cog­ni­tive domains, sim­ply because younger adults are good at these skills/cognitive func­tions. There­fore there is a pos­si­bil­i­ty that ceil­ing or scal­ing effects mask the true find­ings in Owens et al. (2010), as indi­cat­ed by Zelin­s­ki.

The recruit­ment of the sam­ple pop­u­la­tion is also very con­cern­ing and I do not feel that their con­trol group was appro­pri­ate. Read the rest of this entry »

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