Archive for Working memory

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.

Leave a Comment

Doctors: Certain Foods, Exercise May Help Prevent Memory Loss

Doctors: Certain Foods, Exercise May Help Prevent Memory Loss
NBC 4.com, DC -May 21, 2007
“People don’t have to run a marathon to get the brain benefits from exercise, either. Studies of sedentary adults have found that as little as 30 minutes of walking three times a week can stimulate growth in certain areas of the brain.”

Leave a Comment

All about Brain Fitness

Announcement:  

  • We have just launched a new website section titled Hot Topics for you to be informed on latest Brain Fitness developments. Topics include Memory, Brain Fitness, Brain Teasers, Mental Exercise, Stress Management, Physical Exercise, Nutrition, News, Products, Events, Students, Science, Resources, and more.

Some good posts:

- Nintendo BrainAge, Lumosity, Happy Neuron, MyBrainTrainer…

- Posit Science, Nintendo Brain Training, Dakim…WebMD on Brain Fitness.

We hope to hear from you!

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning – Learning & The Brain Conference

Alvaro and I had the good fortune to attend a great conference last week called Learning & The Brain: Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning. It was a wonderful mix of neuroscientists and educators talking with and listening to each other. Some topics were meant to be applied today, but many were food for thought – insight on where science and education are headed and how they influence each other.

Using dramatic new imaging techniques, such as fMRIs, PET, and SPECT, neuroscientists are gaining valuable information about learning. This pioneering knowledge is leading not only to new pedagogies, but also to new medications, brain enhancement technologies, and therapies…. The Conference creates an interdisciplinary forum — a meeting place for neuroscientists, educators, psychologists, clinicians, and parents — to examine these new research findings with respect to their applicability in the classroom and clinical practice.

Take-aways

  • Humans are a mixture of cognition and emotion, and both elements are essential to function and learn properly
  • Educators and public policy makers need to learn more about the brain, how it grows, and how to cultivate it
  • Students of all ages need to be both challenged and nurtured in order to succeed
  • People learn differently – try to teach and learn through as many different modalities as possible (engage language, motor skills, artistic creation, social interaction, sensory input, etc.)
  • While short-term stress can heighten your cognitive abilities, long term stress kills you — you need to find balance and release
  • Test anxiety and subsequent poor test results can be improved with behavioral training with feedback based on heart rate variability
  • Dr. Robert Sapolsky is a very very enlightening and fun speaker
  • Allow time for rest and consolidation of learned material
  • Emotional memories are easier to remember
  • Conferences like these perform a real service in fostering dialogues between scientists and educators

The sessions were broken into several subtopics:

ENHANCING THE BRAIN, COGNITION & EDUCATION
Topics included: neuroethics, school readiness, “back to basics” versus “discovery learning”, functional neuroimaging, the Six Developmental Pathways of physical, cognitive, language, social, ethical, and psychological skills

Speakers included: Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D., Kurt W. Fischer, Ph.D., John D.E. Gabrieli, Ph.D., Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D., Daniel L. Schwartz, Ph.D., Jeb Schenck, Ph.D., Ross A. Thompson, Ph.D., Fay E. Brown, Ph.D., and Mariale M. Hardiman, Ed.D.

MOOD, LEARNING & GENDER DIFFERENCES
Topics included: chronic stress, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, sex differences in learning, and creativity

Speakers included: Robert M. Sapolsky, Ph.D., Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D., Bryna Siegel, Ph.D., Kiki D. Chang, M.D., Michael Gurian, M.A., Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., Lawrence H. Diller, M.D., and Terence A. Ketter, M.D.

ENHANCING MEMORY AND EMOTIONS
Topics included: mirror neurons, stress, anxiety, emotions, pharmacologic manipulations of memory, emotional events, sex differences, and “brain-considerate” learning environments, social functioning, decision making, motivation, achievement, positive-emotion refocusing

Speakers included: Kenneth A.Wesson, Ph.D., Kenneth S. Kosik, M.D., Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Larry Cahill, Ph.D., Mary Fowler, M.A., Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., Ed.M., and Robert Sylwester, Ed.D.

NEUROSCIENCE, LANGUAGE & READING
Topics included: reading disorders, dyslexia, assessment, instructional strategies, the achievement gap, and integration of visual, auditory, and language information

Speakers included: Brian A.Wandell, Ph.D., Connie Juel, Ph.D., and Steven G. Feifer, Ed.D., NCSP.

THE ARTS, MUSIC & COGNITION
Topics included: artistic process versus art content, effects of music on cognitive performance, and the generalizability of of artistic abilities to cognitive abilities

Speakers included: James S. Catterall, Ph.D. and Frances H. Rauscher, Ph.D.

Conference Co-Sponsors:

Further Reading

Save the Date! April 28-30, 2007 is the next conference, Learning & The Brain – Molding Minds: How to Shape the Developing Brain for Learning & Achievement, in Cambridge, Mass. We will post more information about this conference shortly.

Leave a Comment

The Upside of Aging (SmartBrains)-WSJ

Sharon Begley writes another great article on The Upside of Aging – WSJ.com (subscription required)

  • “The aging brain is subject to a dreary litany of changes. It shrinks, Swiss cheese-like holes grow, connections between neurons become sparser, blood flow and oxygen supply fall. That leads to trouble with short-term memory and rapidly switching attention, among other problems. And that’s in a healthy brain.”
  • “But it’s not all doom and gloom. An emerging body of research shows that a surprising array of mental functions hold up well into old age, while others actually get better. Vocabulary improves, as do other verbal abilities such as facility with synonyms and antonyms. Older brains are packed with more so-called …”

We discussed some of this effects with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, who wrote his great book The Wisdom Paradox precisely on this point, at The Executive Brain and How our Minds Can Grow Stronger.

In our “Exercising Our Brains” Classes, we typically explain how some areas typically improve as we age, such as self-regulation, emotional functioning and Wisdom (which means moving from Problem solving to Pattern recognition), whereas other typically decline: effortful problem-solving for novel situations, processing speed, memory, attention and mental imagery. 

But the key message is that our actions influence the rate of improvement and/ or decline. Our awareness that “it’s not all doom and gloom” and that there’s much we can do is important. You may want to learn more with our Exercise Your Brain DVD.

You can also learn more on the Successful Aging of the Healthy Brain: a beautiful essay by Marian Diamond on how to keep our brains and minds active and fit throughout our lives.

Leave a Comment

Brain Fitness February Newsletter/ Brain Awareness Week

We hope you are enjoying the growing coverage of Brain Fitness as much as we are. Below you have the monthly email update we sent a few days ago.

In this post, we will briefly cover:

I. Press: see what CBS and Time Magazine are talking about. SharpBrains was introduced in the Birmingham News, Chicago Tribune and in a quick note carried by the American Psychological Association news service.

II. Events: we are outreach partners for the Learning & the Brain conference, which will gather neuroscientists and educators, and for the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week.

III. Program Reviews: The Wall Street Journal reviewed six different programs for brain exercise and aging, and the one we offer is one of the two winners. A college-level counseling center starts offering our stress management one. And we interview a Notre Dame scientist who has conducted a replication study for the working memory training program for kids with ADD/ ADHD.

IV. New Offerings: we have started to offer two information packages that can be very useful for people who want to better understand this field before they commit to any particular program: learn more about our Brain Fitness 101 guide and Exercise Your Brain DVD.

V. Website and Blog Summary: we revamped our home page and have had a very busy month writing many good articles. We also hosted two “Blog Carnivals”- don’t you want to know what that means? Continue Reading

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

Special Offer: Learning and The Brain Conference, February 15-17th in San Francisco

The organizers of this amazing conference, whose registration is about to expire, just extended their very kind offer to SharpBrains readers: you can register at the reduced price of $475 (right now the normal price is $545) if you do so by February 9nd. You can register here http://www.edupr.com/reg.html, making sure to write SharpBrains1 in the comments section.

Click to Learn More about the special offer for SharpBrains readers interested in attending the great conference we highlighted yesterday.

This is what we wrote yesterday about the conference:

Talk about neuroscience applied to education: we will be reporting from a fascinating conference in San Francisco, February 15-17, titled Learning & the Brain: Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning And Student Performance, sponsored by leading universities and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

  • Speakers include a truly “Dream Team” of neuroscientists and educators such as Michael S. Gazzaniga, William C. Mobley, John D.E. Gabrieli, Robert M. Sapolsky, Robert Sylwester, and many many others. You can check the program here http://www.edupr.com/schedule2.htm.
  • The description of the event is: “Use this explosion of scientific knowledge to create new, powerful paradigms for teaching and healthcare. Cutting-edge discoveries in neuroscience may soon transform educational and clinical interventions by enhancing memory and cognition. Discover the influences of emotions, gender and the arts. Explore new ways to enhance cognition and to assess potential benefits and pitfalls of using pharmacology, technology and therapy to boost performance.”

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.