Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Another victim of the BBC/Nature “brain training” experiment

Have you read the cover story of the New Scientist this week: Mental muscle: six ways to boost your brain?

The article, which includes good information on brain food, the value of meditation, etc., starts by saying that: “Brain training doesn’t work, but there are lots of other ways to give your grey matter a quick boost.” Further in the article you can read “… brain training software has now been consigned to the shelf of technologies that failed to live up to expectations.”

Such claims are based on the one study widely publicized earlier this year: the BBC “brain training” experiment, published by Owen et al. (2010) in Nature.

What happened to the scientific rigor associated with the New Scientist?

As expressed in one of our previous posts: “Once more, claims seem to go beyond the sci­ence back­ing them up … except that in this case it is the researchers, not the devel­op­ers, who are responsible.” (See BBC “Brain Training” Experiment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly).

Read our two previous posts to get to the heart of the BBC study and what it really means. As Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Zelinski explore the potential scientific flaws of the study, they both point out that there are very promis­ing pub­lished exam­ples of brain training method­olo­gies that seem to work.

BBC “Brain Training” Experiment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Scientific critique of BBC/ Nature Brain Training Experiment

Brain Games for Kids, Adults…and Chimps

examples of working memoryDid you read about the recent experiment where young chimps displayed amazing visual working memory capability, beating humans? You can watch a short video about it 

And, you can now test your own skills with the Chimp Game!

 

PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers to test your cognitive ability.

 

Brain Fitness News

Another great week full of interesting and relevant articles. We will start a new tradition: we will end up the week (either on Friday or during the weekend) with a round-up of the articles we haven’t been able to comment on during the week. Please feel free to send us your suggestions too!

(You can join our monthly newsletter by subscribing at the top of this page).

Brave Heart: does will power reside in heart?

  • “A recent study has looked into the issue of whether cognitive self -regulation (will power / motivation) is also associated with HRV. The study reported that higher baseline HRV was associated with more will-power and ability to resist temptation.”

Book review: Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain by Sharon Begley

  • “Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain is as entertaining as it is edifying. This unlikely page turner fascinates, and suggests optimism about your brain’s capacities.
    Considering the aging baby boom generation and the demands this group has created in every phase of life, if a culture of mental fitness develops, it won’t surprise me. Being a boomer myself, I’m all for it. I just hope I don’t have to become a bodhisattva to reap the benefits.”

Newsweek: Clear link between exercise and improved cognition

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