Archive for RoboMemo

Serious Games: Who Said Games Had To Be Fun?

Who Said Games Had To Be Fun?
Kotaku.com, NY -Jul 1, 2007
“In a stark counterpoint to the Slate editorial entitled ‘World of Borecraft,’ Gamasutra has their own feature – this one on the rise of serious games and …”

To support the point: we see more and more science-based “serious games” used for brain training to improve cognitive skills: MindFit and Posit Science, Cogmed, Basketball IntelliGym, emWave in Golf Digest. And more are coming. You can keep informed by reading our brain health blog and Brain Fitness Topics section.

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We have moved

Hello dear readers: after a transition period, we have definitively moved to http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

we-moved.jpg

Please visit us there if you want to keep reading our (close to) daily articles. Please update your feed, and any technorati/ stumbleupon/ del.ic.ious account you may have pointing at this old address. Our new location:
http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

We won’t be posting more articles here.

We’ll see you there!
-Caroline & Alvaro

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ADD/ ADHD and working memory training: interview with Notre Dame’s Bradley Gibson

Professor Bradley Gibson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at University of Notre Dame, and Director of the Perception and Attention Lab there. He is a cognitive psychologist with research interests in perception, attention, and visual cognition. Gibson’s research has been published in a variety of journals, including Journal of Experimental Psychology, Human Perception and Performance, Psychological Science, and Perception & Psychophysics.

In 2006 he conducted the first independent replication study based on the Cogmed Working Memory Training program we discussed with Dr. Torkel Klingberg.

A local newspaper introduced some preliminary results of the study Attention, please: Memory exercises reduce symptoms of ADHD. Some quotes from the articles:

- “The computer game has been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms in children in experiments conducted in Sweden, where it was developed, and more recently in a Granger school, where it was tested by psychologists from the University of Notre Dame.

- Fifteen students at Discovery Middle School tried RoboMemo during a five-week period in February and March, said lead researcher Brad Gibson

- As a result of that experience, symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity were both reduced, according to reports by teachers and parents, Gibson said.

- Other tests found significant improvement in “working memory”, a short-term memory function that’s considered key to focusing attention and controlling impulses.

- RoboMemo’s effectiveness is not as well established as medications, and it’s a lot more work than popping a pill.

- Gibson said Notre Dame’s study is considered preliminary because it involved a small number of students. Another limitation is that the study did not have a control group of students receiving a placebo treatment.”

We feel fortunate to interview Dr. Gibson today.

Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Dr. Gibson, thanks for being with us. Could you first tell us about your overall research interests?

Dr. Bradley Gibson (BG): Thanks for giving me this opportunity. Continue Reading

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Working Memory Training

Reminder: 60 or so science bloggers are celebrating the Week of Science presented at Just Science, from Monday, February 5, through Sunday, February 11. We will be writing about “just science” this week, by discussing peer-reviewed research papers in the field of brain fitness.

Yesterday we talked about Cognitive Reserve and Lifestyle, a paper and research area that helps build the case for mental stimulation/ brain exercise if we care about long-term healthy aging.

Today we will approach the subject of cognitive training from the opposite corner: we will discuss immediate benefits of training for quality of life and performance in children with ADD/ ADHD. Some of the most promising effects seen are those that show how working memory training can generalize into better complex reasoning (measured by Ravens), inhibition (Stroop) and ADD/ ADHD symptoms ratings, beyond WM improvements.

Our main character: Dr. Torkel Klingberg, whom we had the fortune to interview last September (full notes at Working Memory Training and RoboMemo: Interview with Dr. Torkel Klingberg), and who has since received the pretigious Philip’s Nordic Prize.

We highlight some of the interview notes:

Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Welcome. Can you let us know where you work, and what your Lab does? Keep Reading

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First Online Brain Fitness Center

See our second press release below, and visit our Press Room for the great press we are starting to get.

SharpBrains introduces First Online Brain Fitness Center 

Unique, Full-Service, Science-Based Fitness Center Ushers in the Next Workout Revolution: Mental Exercise  

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thirty years after the emergence of the exercise boom, the fitness revolution has finally gone to people’s heads: SharpBrains.com has launched the first online brain fitness center. Complete with a variety of science-based mental exercise equipment, personal brain trainers, and nearly 200 articles, interactive blog postings and interviews with industry experts, SharpBrains is spearheading the evolution of the fitness industry to include a sound mind as well as a healthy body.

The new mental exercise movement is founded on using structured, computer-based brain fitness routines tailored to each member’s specific needs and level of ability. Just as crunches and kick-boxing tone abs and increase cardio strength, programs offered at the brain fitness center target and help train essential core mental muscles to improve memory, concentration, stress management, and decision-making skills. Mental exercise has also been shown to help delay the onset of age-related decline and even dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

“People are realizing that cross-training their brains in addition to their bodies is essential to over-all health,” said Keep Reading

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Hello: may we ask…

…a few questions: how did you find us, what we are doing well, what we can do better?

We have just found out that more than 600 people are receiving our feeds, but we only know-and just a bit- the 50-60 who leave comments and link to us. We enjoy having so many readers not just in the US but in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia…(thanks Google Analytics!).

Would you mind writing a comment HERE to allow us to learn about you and your interests, and also include your feedback for us? If you have a blog, please write the URL so we can pay a visit.

Please remember we have moved to a new URL-that’s why we want your comment there, and not in this blog.

Enjoy the weekend, and thanks a lot for your time and attention!

Caroline and Alvaro

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Award for Dr. Torkel Klingberg, Cogmed Working Memory Training Founder

Dr. Torkel KlingbergWe want to congratulate Dr. Torkel Klingberg, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute and one of the founders of Cogmed, on receiving the Philip’s Nordic Prize for his research on working memory training for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The prize recognizes outstanding research in the field of neuropsychiatry and was presented by the Norwegian royal princess Märtha Louise at the Rikshospital in Oslo, Norway. Translating his research into an active training program, Klingberg co-founded Cogmed, a developer of software-based working memory training products headquartered in Stockholm. Cogmed’s rigorous and rewarding program combines computer-based training and personal coaching to help people with attention deficits strengthen their working memories. More than 80 percent of children who have completed Cogmed’s intensive five-week program have demonstrated dramatic and lasting improvements to their attention, impulse control and problem solving skills.

“I am honored and deeply grateful to receive this award,” said Klingberg. “It is a source of personal joy to see these advances positively affect the lives of children who struggle with attention deficits. This award will help continue the important research on working memory training being conducted at the Karolinska Institute.”

Further Reading

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Neuroscience Interview Series: on learning and “brain gyms”

Given that we are getting new readers let’s re-introduce our Neuroscience Interview Series. If you click on the category (in the right bar) that says Neuroscience Interview Series, you will find the updated list of interviews we have conducted (and also some that have found elsewhere, such as the one with Posit Science’s Dr. Michael Merzenich and Dr. John Ratey).

The interviews we have conducted and published so far, with most recent first:

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Why are so many brain fitness programs appearing now?

Here is question ten of 25 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions. To download the complete version, please click here.

Question:
Why are so many brain fitness programs appearing now?

Key Points:

  • Research on cognitive exercise and its clinical applications and tools have been around for a long time in hospitals and the military.
  • Gaming has become so popular and widespread, that it is an easy and natural medium to utilize for brain fitness.
  • The science is being published showing that brain exercise leads to enhanced neuroplasticity (growth of new neurons and connections between them) throughout life.

Answer:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cogmed, Freeze-Framer, IntelliGym, MindFit, Posit Science

We are spending more time talking to journalists these days. A frequent question we receive is, “OK, which computer-based programs do you consider to be Brain Fitness Programs, not just “games” for pure fun”?.

Our answer: the rate of development of new programs by neuroscientists worldwide is really increasing, and there are already a few out there that combine good underlying science with embedded quality assessments and user-friendly guidelines and exercises from a fitness and prevention (vs. medical “prescription”) perspective. Some of these are:

Cogmed Working Memory Training program (RoboMemo), helps children with attention deficits to overcome the working memory gap. and is distributed exclusively through selected clinical providers.

Freeze-Framer is a biometric-based system that helps people of all ages and occupations (from students to nurses and traders) get into The Zone of optimal learning and performance by managing the negative effects of stress and anxiety. Our partner is the Institute of HearMath.

IntelliGym  provides a mental workout to improve core basketball abilities, such as coordination, attention control, peripheral vision, and perception.  Yes, this can be trained. It is basketball specific, so we don’t recommend it for other sports. Our partner is ACE.

MindFit helps train 14 different cognitive functions that are important for healthy aging. Even if the activities are helpful for people of all ages (I personally use it as my “brain gym” during flights, being in my mid-30s), the look & feel is more appropriate for people over 50, so we recommend it mainly for that group. Our partner is Vigorous Mind.

Posit Science offers an intensive program for training core auditory processing abilities. Auditory processing is one of the areas that typically decline with age, so this would be a great starting point for anyone, usually above 60 given the marketing we see in their website, who may be experiencing problems with his/ her hearing and understanding capabilities. We do not offer this program through our website, but certainly respect their scientists and research.

We are constantly looking for new ones, so keep tuned.

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