Brain training - exercise that tones the memory!

Posted Nov 27 2007 6:43pm

Physical exercise could well be the key to keeping your mind young, as well as your body. That's the opinion of two leading neuroscientists who analysed the results of 18 studies on the brain.

"People who exercise regularly in middle age are one third as likely to get Alzheimer's Disease in their 70s as those who did not exercise. Even people who began exercising in their 60s  have their risk reduced by half," say scientists Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, who've written a new book "Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys But Never Forget How To Drive and Other Puzzles of Every Day Life."

Researchers have recently discovered that exercise increases the number of fresh memory cells produced in the brain by as much as a half. Ron Kalil, a professor of Neuroscience at UW-Madison recently told The Capital Times, "It's incredibly important that people know this, because exercise is something that's so simple to do. You don't need special gear or special talents. You don't have to do anything but get off your butt and get out there and do some exercise - it will help!"

If you're concerned about improving your memory and preventing age related memory loss then you should try the comprehensive physical and mental exercise regimen offered by HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness. These exercises are based upon real life tasks and provide a total workout that will boost your memory, improve your confidence and protect your brain from age-related illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. To find out more, click here.

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Brain exercise keeps memory alive

Posted Nov 22 2007 1:54am

Michael Anderson, a memory researcher at the University of Oregon, has calculated that people squander more than a month of every year compensating for things they have forgotten.  In reflecting on this, Loretta LaRoche, a columnist with the Milford Daily News, said "I think many of us are fearful of losing our memories - one of our most precious gifts. Memories make up our life story and help create our identity."

In her column (click here) she points out that there is a growing body of evidence that suggests 'use it or lose it' is an accurate statement where our memory is concerned. "Using e-mails, Blackberries and Post-It Notes as aides all make for a flabby memory," she says.

Worried that yours is getting soft? Well step up to the brain gym!  HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness offers computer-based brain exercises which strengthen the brain's capacity for memory. Scientific studies have found that performing regular mental exercises can also protect you from age-related memory decline, dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. HeadStrong's brain training program offers more than 200 exercises for less than US$20 a month. To find out more, click here.

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Brain gym - the new mental workout that restores your memory

Posted Nov 22 2007 1:11am

People can enhance their memory by using the five senses in new and surprising ways, says Dr Damon Salzman from the Memory Centre at Memorial Hospital Pembroke. He recommends people try activities like eating dinner in the dark, which heightens their sense of taste; brushing their teeth with the opposite hand (apparently it's harder than it sounds!); or choosing clothing with their eyes closed and using touch to locate the right garment.

Dr Salzman calls these exercises Neurobics.  Leading memory specialist Dr Murali Doraiswamy told CBS that brain exercises like Neurobics help form and strengthen new memory pathways in the brain. "This is like a fertilizer for the brain," he said. "The more Neurobic activities you do for the brain the more connections are formed, and the more connections are formed, the more reserve capacity you have." Read the full story by clicking here.

HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness has developed a software package of brain exercises along similar lines for memory enhancement. Devised by a leading neuropsychologist, these activities work by using the different senses in new ways, thus releasing brain growth factors that stimulate memory. Practising these brain training software exercises regularly can boost memory and enhance your confidence.To find out more about HeadStrong's brain training exercises, click here.

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Aging brain, cholestoral increases risk of Alzheimer's

Posted Nov 11 2007 2:07am

High levels of cholesterol and an inactive lifestyle, both already identified as major risk factors for heart disease and stroke, may also increase an older person's chances of contracting Alzheimer's Disease, according to a new study at Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix.

Using the latest brain imaging technology, the scientists were able to 'see'  the areas of the brain that were active while a person's memory was being tested. According to a report in Science Daily the researchers looked at what happened in people of normal intelligence with high levels of cholesterol who also carried a common Alzheimer's susceptibility gene (known as  APOE4). They found that the subjects had lower-than-normal cell activity in areas of the brain associated with the onset of Alzheimer's. Cell activity was also low in the areas of the brain impaired by normal aging. Add in the inactive lifestyle and the reduced brain activity was significant.

The study's author Eric Reiman, MD, told Science Daily,  "Our findings raise the possibility that higher cholesterol levels conspire with other risk factors to trigger Alzheimer's. They support the possibility that cholesterol lowering treatments might improve brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's Disease as people grow older."

There are other ways to stave off the possibility of Alzheimer's if you're concerned you may be at risk. Recent studies have proven that physical activity for just 20 minutes three times a week can stimulate the brain's production of new memory cells. In addition, brain exercises, such as computer-based memory games, can strengthen the brain's pathways associated with memory and concentration. These exercises can not only improve concentration and memory but also act to protect the brain against age-related memory loss, dementia and even Alzheimer's. To find out more about HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness' internationally acclaimed  brain training exercises, click here.

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Brain research - are you losing your sense of direction or losing your mind?

Posted Nov 8 2007 8:18pm

If you've ever worried that you're losing your sense of direction and that maybe that means you're losing you're mind, relax. Scientists think they now understand why our sense of direction deteriorates with age - and its cause is quite different from that behind dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

In a recent study at Wayne State University, reported in Science Daily, researchers tested men and women aged from 18 to 92 about their sense of direction. (Click here for the full story). The test contained a series of interconnected roadways, some leading to dead ends. Along the way were a series of signs and landmarks - some critical to finding the destination, others not. While 90 per cent of all respondents recalled the landmarks, older people found it significantly more difficult to ignore the irrelevant ones and identify the correct directions associated with landmarks. This underscores other recent research which has found that older people are just as alert to what is going on around them, but their brains lose their capacity to filter out the important from the unimportant.

A key factor in how well you filter information is how fit you are, according to another study at Jacobs University in Germany. There, scientists studied individuals aged 61 to 79, and found the brain regions responsible for making decisions and directing specific attention were still strongly activated in those who were physically fit. In individuals not as fit these areas of the brain were much less activated.

Fitness isn't the only way to shore up your memory. Another is brain training. In the same way that physical exercise strengthens the muscles and keeps the body physically flexible and adaptive, brain training strengthens the neural pathways - the channels which are used to convey thoughts, memories, and concentration. The world's leading brain exercises are from HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness. The company  has the support of Professor Elkhonen Goldberg, a globally recognized authority on cognitive fitness, and Professor of Neurology at New York University. To find out more about brain training and how it works, click here.

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Gene identified in short term memory loss

Posted Nov 8 2007 7:16pm

Scientists believe they have discovered a gene which may be responsible for triggering dementia and severe  memory decline in the elderly. The culprit: the BDNF gene which controls healthy growth of brain cells involved in  memory and higher thinking.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have found that senior citizens with two normal copies of the gene may be more resilient to age-related changes in the brain than those with one or two mutated versions of the gene. Previous studies among young people have associated a mutation in the BDNF with intelligence. But this latest study, reported in Science Daily, has highlighted that age brings out the problem and that individuals with a BDNF mutation "showed a steeper age-related decline" in memory when compared to those without.

The researchers point out that BDNF may be just one culprit and it is likely that more than one gene is responsible for triggering brain memory loss. But once scientists have identified these genes it would one day be possible to create gene-screening programs for people in middle-age. "It is possible that through early identification of susceptible individuals early intervention through lifestyle changes and other interventions could be facilitated to increase an individuals resilience to the effects of ageing," said the study's co-author Daniel Weinberger, Phd.

One of those techniques Dr Weinberger is referring to is brain exercise. Clinical studies have shown that in the same way that physical exercise keeps our bodies healthy, targeted mental activities can strengthen the brain's pathways associated with memory and concentration. As a result, the brain is more resilient and able to protect itself against age-related memory decline. HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness is the world's leader in producing computer software-based brain training exercises. They are developed by leading neuropsychologist Nicola Gates and endorsed by the internationally renowned authority on cognitive neuroscience, Professor Elkhonen Goldberg, PhD, clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Want to know more? Go to www.headstrong.com

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New drug can combat brain memory decline

Posted Nov 7 2007 10:28pm

A drug that is commonly used to treat high blood pressure and enlargement of the prostate, called prazosin, may also protect the brain from stress-hormone related damage, including that caused by Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and even post traumatic stress disorder.

It works on inhibiting the stress steroid called glucocorticoid. In low does, the steroid can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.  "We think prazosin protects the brain from being damaged by excessive levels of corticosteroid stress hormones," the study's co-author Paul M. Berger told Science Daily. "The one thing we don't know for sure is, would you have to get it before you're traumatized?"

His team are now conducting further research to determine this and how to develop ways prazosin can be applied to humans for use in memory protection. To see the full report on this research in Science Dailyclick here.

While the race is on in the scientific community to find surefire ways to cure stress related brain damage and drug treatments for memory protection, there already exists a proven way to strengthen the brain's memory pathways which can help protect against memory loss, dementia and even Alzheimer's symptoms. It's called brain training.

In the same way that physical exercise keeps muscles strong and yourbody limber, doing brain training exercises on the computer strengthens the neural pathways and ensures that your memory stays fit and in peak condition regardless of your physical age. To find out more about the science of braintraining, click here.The exercises developed by leading neuropsychologist Nicola Gates for HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness are rated the world's most scientifically sound by SharpBrains, the leading distributor of brain training software. You can participate for as little as US$20 a month. To sign up, click here.

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Brain research - news on predicting your risk of Alzheimer's

Posted Nov 1 2007 2:01am

Breakthrough research at Duke University Medical Centre has identified a new marker that may help identify those people most at risk of age-related dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. The study was supported by the National Institute on Ageing.

The study followed people with mild cognitive impairment, MCI (clinically diagnosed memory loss and confusion), over three and a half years.  By using fMRI, a tool which provides a live image of the brain in action, they tracked regions of the brain that turn on or off during memory related tasks. Dr Jeffrey Petrella, MD,  told Science Daily that they tested the theory that it wasn't what switched off in the brain that became the source of brain malfunctioning, rather what stayed on. "Our theory is that the brain's 'cruise control' normally deactivates when we are trying to remember things, so resources can be sent to other areas of the brain that encode memories. However, in people with MCI the deactivation does not happen and the [cruise control] remains active." From this evidence they were able to significantly predict which patients would go on to develop Alzheimer's Disease.

The study's co-author P. Murali Doraiswamy, MD, said, "The Holy Grail in this field is to predict with 100 per cent accuracy whether a 50 year-old who forgets names will get dementia or not. We are not there yet but are inching closer and closer every day." To read the full report of the study click here.

Meanwhile other clinical studies have shown that the amount of activity a brain performs over its lifespan brain is related to risk of developing Alzhiemer's Disease, and the LEQ or Life time Expereince Questionnaire can provide your risk score.  You will be able to access the LEQ at HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness. To find out more about  the science of brain activity and how brain exercises work to ensure your brain stays in peak condition regardless of your physical age, click here.

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