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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Rules: science and practice

Inter­est­ed a good, non-tech­ni­cal, sum­ma­ry of the impli­ca­tions of recent brain sci­ence in Brain Rules-John Medinaour dai­ly lives? Biol­o­gist John Med­i­na offers that in his arti­cle below (as part of our Author Speaks Series) and in his new book: Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School. Enjoy!

(Note: John will be in the Bay Area on April 8 and 9th, speak­ing at Google and San Jose Rotary).

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Brain Rules

– By John Med­i­na

Go ahead and mul­ti­ply the num­ber 8,388,628 x 2 in your head. Can you do it in a few sec­onds? There is a young man who can dou­ble that num­ber 24 times in the space of a few sec­onds. He gets it right every time. There is a boy who can tell you the exact time of day at any moment, even in his sleep. There is a girl who can cor­rect­ly deter­mine the exact dimen­sions of an object 20 feet away. There is a child who at age 6 drew such life­like and pow­er­ful pic­tures, she got her own show at a gallery on Madi­son Avenue. Yet none of these chil­dren could be taught to tie their shoes. Indeed, none of them have an IQ greater than 50.

The brain is an amaz­ing thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Disease: too serious to play with headlines

Featured Website, Scientific American Mind, June/July 2007

We just came across an arti­cle titled Best Com­put­er Brain Games for Senior Cit­i­zens to Delay Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. The head­line makes lit­tle sci­en­tif­ic sense-and we observe this con­fu­sion often. The arti­cle men­tions a few pro­grams we have dis­cussed often in this blog, such as Posit Sci­ence and Mind­Fit, and oth­ers we haven’t because we haven’t found any pub­lished sci­ence behind, such as Dakim and MyBrain­Train­er. And there are more pro­grams: what about Hap­py Neu­ron, Lumos­i­ty, Spry Learn­ing and Captain’s Log. Not to talk about Nin­ten­do Brain Age, of course.

Some of those pro­grams have real sci­ence that, at best, shows how some spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skills (like mem­o­ry, or atten­tion, or pro­cess­ing) can be trained and improved-no mat­ter the age. This is a very impor­tant mes­sage that hasn’t yet per­co­lat­ed through many brains out there: we know today that com­put­er-based soft­ware pro­grams can be very use­ful to train some cog­ni­tive skills, bet­ter than alter­na­tive meth­ods (paper and pen­cil, class­room-based, just “dai­ly liv­ing”).

Now, no sin­gle pro­gram can make ANY claim that it specif­i­cal­ly delays/ pre­vents Alzheimer’s Dis­ease beyond gen­er­al state­ments such as that Learn­ing Slows Phys­i­cal Pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease (hence the imper­a­tive for life­long learn­ing) and that men­tal stim­u­la­tion-togeth­er with oth­er lifestyle fac­tors such as nutri­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise and stress man­age­ment, as out­lined in these Steps to Improve Your Brain Health- may con­tribute to build a Cog­ni­tive Reserve that may reduce the prob­a­bil­i­ty of prob­lems. Pro­grams may be able to Read the rest of this entry »

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