Archive for the ‘Brain – thinking’ Category

Do brain training games work?

September 26, 2019

These days many online games and apps claim to improve memory, brain processing speed, and overall problem-solving skills … and to postpone the onset of age-related memory loss.

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So, do these games work?

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Does music make you smarter … longer?

September 25, 2019

More from my summer reading on brains …

There seems to be scientific evidence that music can, in fact, make you smarter and keep your brain sharp longer as you age.

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“Basically, findings on how music affects the brain indicate that musical training—and perhaps even habitual engagement with listening to and appreciating music—can help the brain enhance its natural neuroplasticity (i.e. build “neural networks”) and improve countless abilities and cognitive skills.” Source

More specifically…

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Is your GPS dulling your brain?

September 24, 2019

Last week, we posted Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

We argued that persistent reliance on Google searching for routine information foregoes opportunities to strengthen your brain’s memory muscles … and,  minimizes the amount of memory “dots” that you have stored — lowering the likelihood of your being able to mentally connect-the-dots to draw insights.

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Today. let’s consider another technological advance — our indispensable GPS navigation devices — and their impact on our mental dexterity.

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Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

September 20, 2019

First, some background …

The tests I used to give to my students always included some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students were repulsed by them and oft-shoutdc the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

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What’s wrong with that argument?

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Diets: KETO vs. MIND

September 19, 2019

Earlier this week we posted that the MIND Diet is being promoted for brain-friendly nutrition.

A loyal reader asked: “I’ve been hearing a lot about the KETO diet.  How does the MIND diet compare?”

Good question.

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With the disclaimer that I’m not a nutritionist, here’s what I found…

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I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

September 17, 2019

Continuing on the subject of mental health, I’ve oft noticed that I seem to do my best thinking when I’m asleep.

Specifically, I like to get on the computer as soon as I jump out of bed (literally) … and  I often find myself doing a brain dump of thoughts that weren’t top of mind before I’d gone nite-nite.

When I mention that to folks, the revelation initially gets some chuckles … then some start nodding and chiming in with “me, too” variants on the story.

Of course, some remained unconvinced.

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For the skeptics, here some science …

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Brain health: The MIND diet.

September 16, 2019

In prior posts, we’ve addressed how intermittent fasting can improve (and prolong) brain health.

See: Can fasting make you smarter? and Is breakfast over-rated?

A logical question is: “So, what to eat when not fasting?”

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The answer: The MIND Diet.

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Can fasting make you smarter?

September 12, 2019

Let’s connect a couple of topics today…

Earlier this week, we posted how aeorobic exercise can stimulate neurogenesis — the growth of new brain cells.

And, last month, we posted that recent research suggests that intermittent fasting (e.g constrain daily eating to 8 hours – fasting for the other 16 hours) may be a better route to weight loss and improved health.

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Among the health benefits cited is lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

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More: Exercise for a stronger, sharper brain…

September 11, 2019

Yesterday we posted that you should Exercise to keep your brain alive and well…

Specifically, we reported studies demonstrating that aerobic exercise stimulates the development of new brain cells … a process called neurogenesis.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I spotted this on the wires:

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A team of German scientists concluded that improving physical fitness leads to improved cognitive ability, including elevated memory retention and superior problem solving

Specifically…

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Exercise to keep your brain alive and well…

September 10, 2019

I’ve always been interested in the brain … mostly job-related … trying to understand how students learn.

These days, my focus has become more personal: keeping my brain alive and well in retirement … dodging the dementia bullet.

Specifically, I’ve been reading up on neurogenesis (how to stimulate growth of new brain cells) and neuroplasticity (how to “rewire” your brain by building new neural pathways).

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One of my first conclusions: exercise really matters!

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I do my best thinking when I sleep … another scientific rationale.

April 24, 2018

 By default, your brain “defragments” when you sleep.

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In a prior post, we reported some scientific evidence that most people really do think when they sleep.

For details, see: I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

Let’s take the science a step further…

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First, an analogy…

Have you ever defragmented your computer’s hard drive?

Just in case your answer is “no” – or, you’ve never heard of defragmentation – here’s a short course:

When you save a file on your computer (think: Word, Powerpoint, Excel), the file isn’t stored in one piece.

Rather, it’s automatically broken into smaller pieces … and each piece is stashed in the first place that the computer finds an open space on the hard drive.

Since the file is stored in scattered pieces, the computer has to reassemble it when you subsequently re-open the file.

That takes time … and slows the process.

There’s a process called “defragmentation” that sorts through a computer’s hard drive, eliminates “dead links” and reassembles “live” files into contiguous pieces … making the save & open processes more efficient.

Well, it turns out that your brain comes with a process analogous to defragmentation … it’s called “synaptic pruning” … and it happens automatically when you sleep.

Here’s how it works …

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Odds: I bet you’re a Democrat …

October 18, 2017

… if your parents were Democrats.

And, I bet if your parents were Republicans, then you’re a Republican.

According to Smithsonian.com

“The party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time.”

That’s pretty good, but “new research suggests ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes.”

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More specifically, researchers say that they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center politically with 82.9 % accuracy.

Here’s the study and its implications …

(more…)

I do my best thinking when I sleep … another scientific rationale.

May 17, 2017

 By default, your brain “defragments” when you sleep.

=========

In a prior post, we reported some scientific evidence that most people really do think when they sleep.

For details, see: I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

Let’s take the science a step further…

image

First, an analogy…

Have you ever defragmented your computer’s hard drive?

Just in case your answer is “no” – or, you’ve never heard of defragmentation – here’s a short course:

When you save a file on your computer (think: Word, Powerpoint, Excel), the file isn’t stored in one piece.

Rather, it’s automatically broken into smaller pieces … and each piece is stashed in the first place that the computer finds an open space on the hard drive.

Since the file is stored in scattered pieces, the computer has to reassemble it when you subsequently re-open the file.

That takes time … and slows the process.

There’s a process called “defragmentation” that sorts through a computer’s hard drive, eliminates “dead links” and reassembles “live” files into contiguous pieces … making the save & open processes more efficient.

Well, it turns out that your brain comes with a process analogous to defragmentation … it’s called “synaptic pruning” … and it happens automatically when you sleep.

Here’s how it works …

(more…)

So, are you left-brained or right-brained?

February 23, 2017

Yesterday’s post prompted some questions re: what exactly is left-brained and right-brained thinking, so … 

For decades cognitive psychologists has characterized folks as being either left brain dominant  – logical – or right brain dominant – creative.

Browse the lists below and pick your dominant brain side – left or right.

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= = = = = 
So what? What to do?
= = = = =

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Odds: I bet you’re a Democrat …

June 23, 2016

… if your parents were Democrats.

And, I bet if your parents were Republicans, then you’re a Republican.

According to Smithsonian.com

“The party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time.”

That’s pretty good, but “new research suggests ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes.”

image

More specifically, researchers say that they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center politically with 82.9 % accuracy.

Here’s the study and its implications …

(more…)

HITS: Are you left-brained or right-brained?

November 13, 2014

HITS: HomaFiles’s Ideas To Share

For decades cognitive psychologists has characterized folks as being either left brain dominant  – logical – or right brain dominant – creative.

Browse the lists below and pick your dominant brain side – left or right.

image

= = = = = 
So what? What to do?
= = = = =

(more…)

HITS: Are you left-brained or right-brained?

September 13, 2013

HITS: HomaFiles’s Ideas To Share

For decades cognitive psychologists has characterized folks as being either left brain dominant  – logical – or right brain dominant – creative.

Browse the lists below and pick your dominant brain side – left or right.

image

= = = = = 
So what? What to do?
= = = = =

(more…)

Odds: I bet you’re a Democrat …

February 20, 2013

… if your parents were Democrats.

And, I bet if your parents were Republicans, then you’re a Republican.

According to Smithsonian.com

“The party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time.”

That’s pretty good, but “new research suggests ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes.”

image

More specifically, researchers say that they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center politically with 82.9 % accuracy.

Here’s the study and its implications …

(more…)

HITS: Are you left-brained or right-brained?

November 27, 2012

HITS: HomaFiles’s Ideas To Share

For decades cognitive psychologists has characterized folks as being either left brain dominant  – logical – or right brain dominant – creative.

Browse the lists below and pick your dominant brain side – left or right.

image

= = = = = 
So what? What to do?
= = = = =

(more…)