Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Mental athletes gathering in Boston for the USA Memory Championship

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Mem­o­ry Con­test Comes To MIT, Where Brain Sci­en­tists Explain Why Train­ing Works (WBUR):

For the last few months, 13-year-old Claire Wang of Los Ange­les has been train­ing her mem­o­ry with play­ing cards, phone num­bers, soft­ware — “what­ev­er I can get my hands on,” she says.

She’s been buff­ing up her skills to com­pete in an annu­al sport­ing tour­na­ment where the ath­letes are not phys­i­cal but men­tal. Read the rest of this entry »

The more hours you sit per day, the smaller your medial temporal lobe (MTL) seems to become, brain scans show

—– In the study, both (A) Total medi­al tem­po­ral lobe (MTL) and (B) parahip­pocam­pal thick­ness cor­re­lat­ed inverse­ly with hours of sitting/day, con­trol­ling for age. Ref­er­ence: Sid­darth P et al (2018), Seden­tary behav­ior asso­ci­at­ed with reduced medi­al tem­po­ral lobe thick­ness in mid­dle-aged and old­er adults. PLOS ONE 13(4): e0195549.

Sit­ting is bad for your brain — not just your metab­o­lism or heart (UCLA release):

UCLA researchers recruit­ed 35 peo­ple ages 45 to 75 and asked about their phys­i­cal activ­i­ty lev­els and the aver­age num­ber of hours per day they spent sit­ting over the pre­vi­ous week. Each per­son had a high-res­o­lu­tion MRI scan, which pro­vides a detailed look at the medi­al tem­po­ral lobe, or MTL, a brain region involved in the for­ma­tion of new mem­o­ries.

The researchers found that seden­tary behav­ior is a sig­nif­i­cant pre­dic­tor of thin­ning of the MTL and Read the rest of this entry »

Study suggests canola oil is not as beneficial as advertised; sustained use may cause memory problems and brain damage

Canola oil could cause weight gain and mem­o­ry loss (Los Ange­les Times):

Accord­ing to a recent study con­duct­ed on mice, just two table­spoons of canola oil per day can cause weight gain and severe pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s dis­ease. The new results are call­ing into ques­tion pre­vi­ous rec­om­men­da­tions of canola oil as a health­ful alter­na­tive to sat­u­rat­ed fats.

Canola oil is appeal­ing because it is less expen­sive than oth­er veg­etable oils, and it is adver­tised as being healthy,” said lead researcher Domeni­co Prat­icò, M.D. “Very few stud­ies, how­ev­er, have exam­ined that claim, espe­cial­ly in terms of the brain.” Read the rest of this entry »

Pending FDA review and approval, research findings pave way for Akili’s EVO to become first brain training platform prescribed for ADHD

Akili Achieves Pri­ma­ry Effi­ca­cy End­point in ADHD Tri­al (MD mag­a­zine):

Boston-based Akili Inter­ac­tive has announced top-line results from the STARS-ADHD piv­otal study of its inves­ti­ga­tion­al dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic med­i­cine AKL-T01, in treat­ment of pedi­atric atten­tion-deficit/hy­per­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der (ADHD)…The dig­i­tal med­i­cine, AKL-T01, is a video game for patients to play on tablet devices. It uses the same sto­ry­telling and reward mech­a­nisms as stan­dard videogames; how­ev­er, it fea­tures mech­a­nisms to act on neur­al sys­tems and algo­rithms that dial the lev­el of stim­u­lus up or down, meet­ing the needs of the patient. Read the rest of this entry »

Great news: The New York Times acknowledges that (as clearly documented for 10+ years) Exercise and Brain Training are BOTH crucial for Lifelong Brain Fitness

Exer­cise May Enhance the Effects of Brain Train­ing (The New York Times):

..an inter­est­ing new study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science sug­gests that com­bin­ing intense exer­cise and brain train­ing might, over time, ampli­fy the ben­e­fits of both for the brain, even in peo­ple whose minds already are work­ing well…scientists at McMas­ter Uni­ver­si­ty in Hamil­ton, Ontario, began to won­der recent­ly whether brain train­ing and exer­cise train­ing might be com­ple­men­tary, with exer­cise prompt­ing the cre­ation of baby neu­rons that brain train­ing would then strengthen…the study’s find­ings sug­gest that exer­cis­ing both our bod­ies and minds may pro­vide the great­est boost to our mem­o­ries…” Read the rest of this entry »

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