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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain teaser to challenge your frontal lobes

Here is a fun brain teas­er from puz­zle mas­ter Wes Car­roll.

Tip­ping the Scales

free brain teasers for frontal lobes

Ques­tion:
The top two scales in the image at the right are in per­fect bal­ance. How many dia­monds will be need­ed to bal­ance the bot­tom set?

This puz­zle helps you work out your exec­u­tive func­tions –sup­port­ed in the frontal lobes— by using your pat­tern recog­ni­tion, hypoth­e­sis test­ing, and log­ic.


ANSWER:

Four dia­monds

SOLUTION:

First add up the num­ber of clubs in the first two scales (5). Then count how many clubs are in the bot­tom scale (5). The do the same with the spades, which gets you 5 and 5. There are 4 dia­monds in the top two bal­anced scales. There­fore, it must take 4 dia­monds to bal­ance the third scale since all the oth­er mea­sure­ments are the same.

More brain teasers and games for adults of any age:

Hard brain teaser to challenge your pattern recognition

Here’s a quick but hard brain teas­er to chal­lenge your abil­i­ty to find a pat­tern. In the table below, each row across fol­lows the same pat­tern. See if you can dis­cern the pat­tern and fill in the miss­ing num­ber in the bot­tom row.

For added chal­lenge, time how long it takes you to com­plete the puz­zle. Then, pass it along to some­one else and see who can solve it faster…

7 4 8
3 9 7
6 5 10
? 8 4

Have you solved it yet? If not, here’s a hint:

If you read your fig­ures like words in the West,
then mul­ti­ply your efforts and sub­tract the rest.

WARNING:  Answer and solu­tion fol­lows. Try to solve the puz­zle before you read fur­ther. Read the rest of this entry »

In the News: Brain Calisthenics, Bilingual Brains, Debunking Myths on Mental Illness

Let us high­light a cou­ple of insight­ful and brief arti­cles in the New York Times and a very pow­er­ful analy­sis in The New York Review of Books; they pro­vide use­ful clues about Brain Cal­is­then­ics, Bilin­gual Brains, and Debunk­ing Myths on Men­tal Ill­ness. Read the rest of this entry »

Maximize the Cognitive Value of Your Mental Workout

Phys­i­cal fit­ness. Cognitive/ brain fit­ness. Both require nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge. Pro­fes­sor Schlo­mo Breznitz, a sci­en­tif­ic and busi­ness leader in the cog­ni­tive fit­ness field, explains why, elo­quent­ly, below. Per­haps “we want change” real­ly means “we need change”. Enjoy!

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Why are every­day life chal­lenges not suf­fi­cient to keep our brains fit?

– By Prof. Shlo­mo Breznitz

Often, when describ­ing the ben­e­fits of Mind­Fit to brain health, I am asked by peo­ple in the audi­ence whether this soft­ware is real­ly need­ed. After all, so they argue, life pro­vides con­tin­ues cog­ni­tive chal­lenges, which should suf­fice for ensur­ing brain fit­ness. From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep our brains have to attend to com­plex stim­uli, plan many activ­i­ties, some of them quite com­plex, and car­ry us through what­ev­er the day offers. These tasks should pro­vide suf­fi­cient “brain exer­cise” with­out the need to engage in spe­cif­ic men­tal work­out.

This line of argu­ment sounds odd­ly famil­iar, since it is an exact dupli­ca­tion of claims made in the recent past against the need for phys­i­cal exer­cise. One jumps into the car and from the car and per­haps even climbs a few stairs before sit­ting in the chair, which should be enough to burn the calo­ries and keep fit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Travel and Engagement as Good Brain Exercise

University of Namibia

Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty is defined as “the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence”.

We typ­i­cal­ly sum­ma­rize a lot of brain research by encour­ag­ing Sharp­Brains read­ers is to seek for nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge, as guide­lines for “brain exer­cise” that will help build new con­nec­tions in the brain, force one to be mind­ful and pay atten­tion, improve abil­i­ties such as pat­tern-recog­ni­tion, and in gen­er­al con­tribute to life­long brain health.

A friend just sent an update on her amaz­ing expe­ri­ence in Namib­ia (the pic on the right shows the entrance to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Namib­ia) that shows how Trav­el and Engage­ment with mean­ing­ful projects can pro­vide superb men­tal stim­u­la­tion, or “brain exer­cise”. This is rel­e­vant at all ages, and we are encour­aged to see orga­ni­za­tions such as Civic Ven­tures and Elder­hos­tel that offer oppor­tu­ni­ties for baby boomers and old­er adults who want to main­tain active minds.

Try pic­tur­ing in your mind, as you read this, all her dif­fer­ent brain areas that are get­ting need­ed stim­u­la­tion through her Namib­ia expe­ri­ence.

UPDATE: my friend just wrote to expand on the “be mind­ful” angle by say­ing that “it def­i­nite­ly requires pur­pose­ful pro­cess­ing of the infor­ma­tion that you are con­sum­ing in order to make it a use­ful brain exer­cise. For exam­ple, I always try to jour­nal or write thought­ful emails about my expe­ri­ence in order to try to best under­stand it.” Great point.

With her per­mis­sion, here you have:

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Dear Friends,

I am just return­ing from Namib­ia and am buzzing with excite­ment about all of the oppor­tu­ni­ties for us to make an impact there when we return with our stu­dents next Spring.

Namib­ia is very dif­fer­ent than I expect­ed. It was the last coun­try in Africa to gain inde­pen­dence from colo­nial­ism, gain­ing inde­pen­dence just 20 years ago. Thus, it is much more devel­oped than any African coun­try that I have vis­it­ed, with rel­a­tive­ly good infra­struc­ture and no exist­ing debt. That said, the lega­cies of apartheid can still be felt in today’s soci­ety, and the peo­ple are very clear­ly deal­ing con­stant­ly with issues of race and iden­ti­ty. One of the most inter­est­ing expe­ri­ences that I had was attend­ing a “braai” (the Namib­ian ver­sion of a bar­be­cue which basi­cal­ly con­sists of Read the rest of this entry »

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