Archive for October, 2006

Brain Fitness Programs for all ages-including early Alzheimer’s

Sandy at the Mouse Trap blog has a good post on Cognitive programs that keep you fit, mentioning 2 papers recently published on 2 separate interventions for the elderly. One, Posit Science’s for training of auditory processing-you can find the link to the paper in Sandy’s post.

For the other, you can read an article linked in Sandy’s post, and here the paper A randomized pilot study to assess the efficacy of an interactive, multimedia tool of cognitive stimulation in Alzheimer’s disease, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, by researchers from the Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades in Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

A quote from the article: “While Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative condition, studies have shown that in the early stages, the brain is still able to learn and change. This indicates that increasing brain activity, especially in regards to memory and cognition, may help stave off cognitive loss in people with Alzheimer’s,” said James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and a co-author on the study.


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Executive functioning and ADD/ ADHD: is Brain Fitness coming here too?

Great day at CHADD today. Very good conversations on Brain Fitness with Dr. Torkel Klingberg and the Cogmed team, pediatricians such as Dr. Arthur Lavin, who was the first clinical provider of Cogmed Working Memory Training in the US, and neuropshychologist Dr. Sam Goldstein-this conversation around how biofeedback devices can help golfers better manage their stress levels and improve their game.

Mark Katz won a well-deserved award and talked about his interest in resilience and emotional endurance, and Richard Barkley, in his keynote, showed preliminary findings from his research on adults with ADD/ ADHD and concluded that most relevant symptoms to diagnose an adult with ADD/ ADHD involve executive functioning and frontal lobe problems. We have talked about this earlier, but in short: executive functions reside in our brain’s frontal lobes (behind our forehead), and deal with abilities such as inhibition, working memory, organization to time and future events, emotional management, self-motivation, and planning.

Will add some relevant links over the weekend, when I have some time.


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Posit Science Brain Fitness Channel

Posit Science has just started offering good information on Brain Fitness in their site.

Including a good article on the “Crossword myth”, which we touched on 2 weeks ago with Brain Coach Answers: Aren’t crosswords and sudoku sufficient brain exercise?.

A number of sites and blogs, including us, may slightly disagree with their claim that “This free website is the first of its kind”, but they do offer good content for this nascent field.

You can also check there an assessment for auditory processing speed they developed for their Brain Fitness program.

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RoboMemo Working Memory Training in CHADD (ADD/ ADHD)

Landed in Chicago a few hours ago, and will write a longer update during the weekend on what is going on here with Cogmed Working Memory Training, RoboMemo, one of the most solid (but demanding) Brain Fitness Programs we have come across. Read the rest of this entry »

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Menopause and Brain Fitness – Crisis or Just Change?

The Houston Chronicle ran an interesting story the other day that adresses a number of common perceptions about menopause. The one that caught our attention is:

The hormonal changes of menopause turn your brain to mush.
Unproven. There is some evidence that women with low estrogen levels experience faster cognitive decline, and women who take estrogen supplements sometimes do better on certain memory tests. But the evidence is inconsistent. According to the Women’s Health Initiative, women older than 65 who took Prempro had a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia than women taking dummy pills. Other studies, however, have suggested that estrogen use protects against Alzheimer’s if it’s started near the onset of menopause. Some experts now believe estrogen can protect both the brain and the heart if it’s started early, before age-related deterioration sets in, but not after that window of opportunity closes.

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Brain and Mind News: good blogs

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Stroop Test, Inhibition and Brain-based coaching

Stephanie at Idealawg alerts us of a recent  article, titled A Brain-based Approach to Coaching, that serves as follow-up to the one we wrote about on the Neuroscience of Leadership”.

The authors, David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz, are hosting a a free webinar on Thursday November 2, 2006, from 2 to 3 PM Eastern. Read the rest of this entry »

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Science of Hypnosis: if you are in a trance, don’t read this

People in my Exercising Our Brains classes ask all kinds of fun questions. A typical one is about the scientific validation of hypnosis.

Well, I am very happy that MindHacks and Seed Magazine are coming to the rescue. MindHacks has a great post on Neuropsychology of hypnosis, that links to Seed’s Science finally tackles hypnosis: Neuroimaging studies may domesticate the long-controversial practice.

“The long-controversial practice of inducing a trancelike state through suggestion is getting a modern makeover by scientists armed with the latest neuroimaging tools and techniques. These researchers are beginning to offer evidence that, neurologically at least, hypnosis is entirely real.”

But, as MindHacks warns, “hypnosis actually increases the number of false memories recalled, rather than making remembering more accurate.”



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Waltzing Your Way to Physical and Mental Fitness

“From a mind-body perspective, anything you do successfully on the physical end will positively affect your mental and emotional states.” commented Jenny Susser, Ph.D., a sports psychologist at the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery, a leading center for sports medicine. The article Dance Your Way To A Better Body goes on to say:
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Cogmed’s Working Memory Training in CHADD (ADD/ ADHD)

Am getting ready for CHADD conference in Chicago later this week. Will get to meet the Cogmed team, including Dr. Torkel Klingberg, coming from Sweden for the ocassion.

A number of people have asked me for some preliminary information from the replication studies done based on Cogmed’s Working Memory Training Program. Here you have a couple of univeristy articles (peer-reviewed journal papers take longer to appear): Read the rest of this entry »

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