Being stuck in a rut erodes short term memory

Posted Jan 10 2008 1:35am

The more you dwell inside your comfort zone and don't seek out new experiences, new friends or new challenges, the more your brain's capacity may be shutting down.

"Actively engaging in novel, challenging activities capitalises on your capacity for neuroplasticity - the ability of your brain to organise itself adaptively and enhance its performance," Professor Roderick McGillick recently wrote in The Australian Financial Review. "Studies of older adults show that those who live this way possess more complex neural networks than those who do not. Research shows that those who engage in continuous learning are more resistant to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia."

You can also do all these things: new challenges, brain stimulation and memory strengthening, by doing computer based brain exercises. HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness world-renowned program was designed by a neuropsychologist specifically to target and strengthen the brain's memory pathways. You can trial these exercises for no subscription fee for a limited time only, by clicking here.

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Fighting brain age - expert offers 10 brain fitness new year's resolutions!

Posted Jan 7 2008 6:04pm

Keeping your brain healthy should be a key New Year's Resolution for all of us. If you're up for the challenge, then Alvaro Fernandez, a leading authority on brain research, says, "There are three things we can strive for: novelty, variety and challenge."

Based on these three things, Fernandez has come up with a list of 10 ways to keep your mind in peak condition in 2008. For the full report in the Huffington Post, click here.  Among his resolutions:

* Learn about the brain. The Dana Organization for brain research has a good list of recommended reading on their website. To see it click here.

* Go out of your way to make whatever job you have more stimulating - and make a point of meeting and engaging in conversation with new people.

* Encourage yourself to think critically.  Instead of accepting everything at face value, ask yourself 'where is the evidence' at least once a day. The more you practice it, the more you stimulate the brain and refine your judgement.

* Try a computer-based brain training program - Alvaro recommends one that has been designed by a neuropsychologist - a scientist who understands brain cognition, brain structure and function.

HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness offers a world-leading brain training program, developed by neuropsychologist Nicola Gates. As a promotional offer, HeadStrong is offering a strictly limited number of free brain training programs to the first people who apply. Find out more by clicking here.

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Healthy Ageing - Canadian campaign urges: keep your brain active

Posted Jan 7 2008 5:44pm

Canadians are being urged to commit to a healthy brain by engaging in healthy living this month in a campaign called Heads Up For Healthier Brains! that is being staged by the Azheimer Society.

"We are asking Canadians to make the commitment to do the things that will keep their brains healthy, things that can also help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease," Scott Dudgeon, CEO of  Alzheimer Society of Canada, told news website CNW (for the full report click here.)

These can be as simple as being socially active, choosing a healthy diet and getting a bit more exercise - all proven in recent years to help keep the mind healthy as we age. The Society is also encouraging people to participate in computer-based brain exercises.

HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness offers a wide range of brain exercises aimed at targeting the areas of the brain associated with memory and concentration. Developed by a clinical neuropsychologist, recent studies have proven that regularly doing such exercises can strengthen the brain's memory pathways and ward off age-related brain illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. To find out more, click here.

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Brain games - Actress Nicole Kidman makes misleading claims says expert

Posted Jan 6 2008 8:52pm

Actress Nicole Kidman has been criticised by a leading neuroscientist for misleading claims about Nintendo's computer-based program Dr Kawashima's Brain Training.

Kidman, who appears in ads around the world for the product, promotes it by saying,  "I've quickly found that training my brain is a great way to keep my mind feeling young." But according to British cognitive neuroscientist Dr Jason Braithwaite, "there is no conclusive evidence showing the continued use of these devices is linked to any measurable and general improvements in cognition."

Dr Braithwate was speaking on behalf of Sense About Science, a charitable trust set up to speak out against the misrepresentation of scientific facts. It recently outed a number of celebrities for endorsing "pseudo science". (For full story, click here). The trust says there is little, if any, evidence to back Kidman's claim.

By comparison, HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness' brain training exercises have been developed following years of neuroscientific research. This scientifically based program is so well regarded that it is currently part of a research program with the University of New South Wales, and has recently been endorsed by a leading Australian health insurer. It's no wonder that the world's foremost neurospychologist Dr Elkhonen Goldberg, Professor of Neurology at New York University, is a member of HeadStrong. To find out more about this exciting brain training program, click here.

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Brain games - revealing little 'cheats' and other memory tactics

Posted Dec 20 2007 5:39am

New York Times columnist Jane E. Brody wrote recently,  "When I complained to my 30-something son that I cannot seem to remember anything unless I write it down and stare at it, he said reassuringly, 'Mom, by now you've got so much crammed into your head, something is bound to fall out.'"

Most people from middle age onwards know what she's talking about. Memory loss is a common problem that is often joked about..Cleverly, Brody has come up with a 'cheat' way of remembering things, so she doesn't have to resort to fudging phrases like 'thingamajigs' and 'you know who'. She's discovered 'mnemonics'. If you ever learned a rhyme in school to help you remember the notes of the musical scale you'll know what it means.

Brody explains, "To remember what I have to do or buy when I can't write it down I concoct an unforgettable mnemonic like 'Babies Are Little Children' for bananas, apples, lettuce, cereal." To read more of her amusing personal account, click here.

Mnemonics are a valuable tool prescribed by neuropsychologists for getting around memory loss. But there is an even smarter way and that's to improve your brain's memory capacity.

In the past decade scientists have discovered that memory cells aren't finite as previously believed. In fact, new cells are constantly being generated and our supply can be increased by various activities. In addition the connections between brain cells, which are vital in transmitting memories, can be boosted by brain training exercises. HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness offers computer-based brain training exercises that target the brain pathways associated with memory, attention, speed and problem solving. Why learn a rhyme when you can automatically memorize the name of the person you just met? Find out more by clicking here.

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New boutique caters to battling brain age

Posted Dec 20 2007 5:07am

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that aging baby boomers, who decades ago created the physical fitness boom, are now "investing time and money to maintain what's above their six pack abs and rippling biceps: their brains."

The paper says that an enterprising San Francisco couple have opened the first brain 'boutique' offering a wide range of brain training products.

"Studies show that regular mental workouts are WD-40 for the brain," the store's co-founder Lisa Schoonerman told the Chronicle. Their store, planned as just the first in a chain around San Francisco, offers a wide range of brain training programs including classes, lectures, author appearances and a sunny sitting room where tea and 'smart snacks' like walnuts - rich in Omega 3 fatty acids - are in reach. For the full report in the Chronicle, click here.

The good news is that you don't have to live in San Francisco to enjoy the best brain training available. Leading neuroscientists have created a targeted, computer-based brain training program for HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness, available for less than $20 a month. Regarded among the finest ever developed, it stimulates the different brain pathways associated with memory,  attention, speed and problem solving. To find out more, click here.

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Brain Age: 10 Top Tips To Maintain Your Brain

Posted Dec 20 2007 4:33am

Worried about losing your memory as you are getting older? The San Francisco Chronicle recently published the Alzheimer's Association 10 Top Tips to Maintain Your Brain. There are things you can do now to protect your brain from memory loss:

1. Head first. Good health starts with your brain. It's one of the most vital body organs and needs care and maintenance.

2. Take brain health to heart. What's good for the heart is good for the brain. Do something every day to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke - all of which can increase your risk of Alzheimer's.

3. Numbers count. Keep your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels within recommended ranges.

4. Feed your brain: East less fat and more anti-oxidant rich foods (fish, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts).

5. Work your body. Exercise keeps the blood flowing and may encourage new brain cells. Do what you can - like walking 30 minutes a day - to keep both mind and body active.

6. Jog your mind. Keeping your brain active and engaged increases its vitality and builds reserves of brain cells and connections. Read, write, play games, learn new things, do crossword puzzles.

7. Connect with others. Leisure activities that combine physical, mental and social elements may be most likely to prevent dementia. Be social, converse, volunteer, join a club or take a class.

8. Protect your brain. Take precautions against head injuries. Use seatbelts, unclutter your house to avoid falls, and wear a helmet when cycling or rollerblading.

9. Use your head. Avoid unhealthy habits. Don't smoke, drink alcohol excessively or use street drugs.

10. Think ahead. Do something today to protect your tomorrow.

Increasing evidence suggests that another important way of maintaining your memory is to train your brain, in a similar way to training your body. In fact  the latest scientific studies suggest that brain training can even restore ailing memory and keep your concentration, memory and mental speed in peak condition throughout your life. Neuropsychologists have developed targeted brain training exercises, now available as a software computer program, through HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness. To find out more, click here.

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Brain research - how to defeat Alzheimer's

Posted Dec 11 2007 10:23pm

It's now known that only about a third of people who have Alzheimer's Disease actually develop the debilitating symptoms. The rest live perfectly normal lives and only after they have died do autopsies reveal their brains were riddled with the tell-tale Alzheimer's scars. And so what is it that causes these people to resist the disease in their lifetime?

A report in The New York Times says scientists now believe the reason is what's known as 'cognitive reserve' - that some brains develop extra neurons and connections which act as a kind of spare supply, so later on if their brain experiences any loss of memory cells, their brain automatically draws on the reserve and people appear to function quite normally. You can read the full report by clicking here.

So how do people get this 'cognitive reserve'?'The New York Times says scientists know of several key ways in which this happens.

Brain stimulation is crucial. A New York study founds that people who enjoy a busy life full of leisure activities that are active and social had a 38 per cent lower risk of developing dementia. Most helpful are mentally stimulating activities pursued with other people - like community gardening, taking classes, volunteering, or participating in a play-reading group.

Physical activity plays a role, too by improving blood flow to the brain, which in turn stimulates the growth of new neurons, or memory cells, and neuronal connections. People who exercise regularly - just a half hour walk several times a week will do - are one third less likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease in their 70s. Even those who start exercising in their 60s cut their risk in half.

Another way is through brain training exercises. Neurospychologist Nicola Gates has developed brain exercises which are designed to activate different functional systems, including memory, attention, language, speed and problem solving. Regularly doing these tasks can strengthen these areas of the brain and has been shown ti protect the brain against age-related memory disease. Headstrong Cognitive Fitness offers these exercises on a computer software program. To find out more, click here.

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For a healthy memory, work up a mental sweat!

Posted Dec 10 2007 10:20pm

It's now a well-known scientific fact that as we age, we need to 'use or lose' our brains. What is now emerging is how important it is that when we use it we are extending ourselves.

"You need to feel as if you are mentally sweating in order to really affect the brain, and that's regularly, not just once a month," says a new report in The Times of India.

No wonder it's often dubbed 'brain exercise' or even 'brain gym'  by mental health experts who encourage people from their mid fifties onwards to push their brain's beyond their comfort zone., in the same way that getting fit means doing what makes you puff!

Whether it is doing crossword puzzles, playing an instrument, taking up a new hobby or meeting new people, getting your brain to reach a little bit further encourages the production of fresh brain cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain which controls concentration and memory.

As researchers understand more about how our brain works,  neuroscientists like those at HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness, are able to create highly targeted activities which stimulate those areas of the brain responsible for memory. These are far more effective than sudoku or other puzzles at ensuring your brain stays in tip top health regardless of your age. In fact, recent studies have found that doing regular brain exercises can protect the brain from the onset of dementia and even Alzheimer's Disease for years to come. What to find out more? Click here to see what Headstrong's computer-based brain training program can offer you.

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Brain games are "your way to ward of the worst", warns Alzheimer's expert

Posted Dec 3 2007 12:41am

Use it or lose it! It  Working out your brain with regular exercise is so important in staving off memory loss that a leading Alzheimer's expert warns "You, yourself, have the capacity to ward off the worst."

Dr Sid Gilman, a University if Michigan Professor of Neurology and President of the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center told the Detroit Free Press, "People who use their brains for games, reading and the like, wind up doing much better than people who do not actively use their minds."

"When you keep your brain working, using its fuel, that slows down the processes that lead to Alzheimer's, dementia." 

While doing puzzles and games like Sudoko have proven to be helpful, they only target a small part of the brain. For a comprehensive mental workout, a leading neuropsycholgist has developed a series of software-based brain training exercises for HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness. In the same way that regular physical exercise keeps your body fit, regularly practising these exercises is known to boost the brain's memory and protect against age-related illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. To find out more, click here.

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