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Match Wits With Mensa – Complete Quiz Book

This is a review of the book “Match Wits With Mensa:  The Complete Quiz Book”.

Date:  July 25, 2021

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com

Author: Martin Grossworth and the members of American Mensa, Ltd.

Price:  $14.99

The ultimate book of Mensa-crafted puzzles, brainteasers, word games, number conundrums, and logical mysteries to test your intelligence.

Puzzle fans have bought more than 650,000 copies of the Mensa Genius Quiz series-the only books that let readers “match wits with Mensa,” comparing how well they do against members of the famous high-IQ society. Here, in a giant omnibus edition, are four best-selling titles: The Mensa Genius Quiz Books 1 & 2The Mensa Genius Quiz-A-Day Book, and The Mensa Genius ABC Book. Here are more than 800 fun mindbenders to exercise every part of your brain – word games, trivia, logic riddles, number challenges, visual puzzles-plus tips on how to improve your thinking skills.  All the puzzles have been tested by members of American Mensa, Ltd., and include the percentage of Mensa testers who could solve each one, so that you can score yourself against some of the nation’s fittest mental athletes.

These will undoubtedly be the most difficult and complex problems having to do with IQ that you will ever have to solve.

You might also appreciate knowing that there is a brain game available for Apple and Android, by the title of  “The American Mensa Brain test”.  It’s published by Barnstorm Games.  You can practice taking Mensa tests using that app.

 

WHAT IS MENSA:
Mensa was founded by Roland Berrill and Dr. L. L. Ware in 1961, for individuals whose score on any of a number of recognized standard IQ tests is in the upper 2 percent of the general population.  The organization has 70,000 members worldwide, about 48,000 of whom belong to American Mensa.

 

THE CHAPTERS IN THIS BOOK:
Here is an idea of the Chapters present in “Match Wits With Mensa:  The Complete Quiz Book”:

 “The Mensa Genius Quiz Book 1”:

Are You A Secret Super Brain?

TRIVIA  (Warm-Ups, A Question of Relativity, Match Wits with Mensa)

Vocabulary (Warm-Ups, In A Word, Match Wits with Mensa)

Analogies (Warm-Ups, Analyzing Analogies, Match Wits With Mensa)

Mathematics Reasoning, and Logic (Warm-Ups, The Mensa Diet, Adding It Up, Match Wits with Mensa)

Classics (Warm-Ups, Classic Conundrums, Match Wits with Mensa)

ANSWERS

————————————————————————————————————————-

“The Mensa Genius Quiz Book 2”:

Are You  A Genius?
Trivia (Warm-Ups, No Small Matter, Math Wits with Mensa)

Vocabulary (Warm-Ups, A Way with Words, Match Wits with Mensa)

Logic, Reasoning, and Mathematics (Warm-Ups, It’s Only Logical, Match Wits with Mensa)


Analogies (Warm-Ups, Look At It This Way, Match Wits with Mensa)


Culture  (Warm-Ups, More Than Yogurt, Match Wits with Mensa)

EPILOGUE:  TURN OF THE TABLE

ANSWERS

————————————————————————————————————————–

The Mensa Genius Quiz-a-Day Book

 

To the Reader

 

What Is Mensa?

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

ANSWERS
————————————————————————————————————————–

The Mensa Genius A-B-C Quiz Book

Foreword
Introduction
The “Match Wits With Mensa” Panel
No-Pencil Quickies (Limericks, Flowery Movie Titles, Strange Questions, Abbreviations, Flowery Song Titles, INTERLUDE:  Threesques)

Commoner Puzzles (Miscellany, Same-Size Words, Names and Places, INTERLUDE: Circle Words

Jargon (Math, Law, Business, Chemistry, Medicine, Music, Geography, Zoology, Politics, Clothing, INTERLUDE:  What’s Next?)

Pencil-Optional Puzzles (Missing-Letter Scrambles, Letter Sequences, Vanity Telephone Numbers, Interludes:  Word Makers
Grab Bag
Solutions
How To Join MENSA


————————————————————————————————————————–

“A Word About IQ And What It Is And Is Not”:
An interesting chapter in the book
Close to 100 years ago, Alfred Binet devised a series of tests to help the French government select children for classes for the retarded.  He set up a series of tests and devised a scale based on this. This is how the concept of IQ was developed.


The book states:
“In practice, however, there were many problems with this concept of IQ.  The concept of intelligence, and how to measure it, is under severe criticism right now. …   An IQ test does not measure drive, persistence, creativity, or any of the myriad other skills that often count for more in achieving success out of school”….   “Therefore, scores obtained on such tests should be viewed with some skepticism if they are low.  They measure only one aspect of a total life pattern”.

 

Are You a Secret Super-Brain?
As stated in the book:  “What is the real puzzle in this unique book?  It may be somewhere beyond what you think you see in the mind-expanding, brain-sizzling, devilishly entertaining questions that fill these pages.

Actually, the real puzzle here lies in finding a clue or two to  your own IQ.  THE MENSA GENIUS QUIZ BOOK solves that puzzle by pitting you against people with IQs in the top two percent of the general population”.

 


TEST EXAMPLES
Here are some examples of the actual tests in this book (with their answers):

 

Logic, Reasoning and Mathematics (Warm-Ups)

 

Question No. 5:
Which of the lettered objects comes next in the following series:

Answer:    B

Question No. 15:   Which of the numbered figures best completes the following series?

Answer:  II

—————————————————————————

 

QUIZ A DAY BOOK:

January 2nd :

At my favorite fruitstand in Puzzleland, an orange costs 18 cents, a pineapple costs 27 cents, and a grape costs 15 cents.  Using the same logic, can you tell how much a mango costs?

 

Answer:  A mango costs 15 cents.  The “logic” is 3 cents per letter (that’s the way the stores  in Puzzleland operate).

 

May 28th

You are female.   What relationship to you is your father’s only son-in-law’s mother-in-law’s only daughter?

Answer:  Yourself

 

January 3rd

Even if you don’t like cats, you should be able to determine the following words.  Each of these  includes the word “CAT”.  (Example:  grape – musCAT)

Each of these words includes the letters “CAT”:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
A catastrophe

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
A robber who climbs walls

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
A systematized list

Answer:  Catastrophe, Cat-Burglar, Catalogue

 

PROS AND CONS

PROS:

These very difficult exercises are guaranteed to give your brain a real workout, which is always a goal of ours.  They will definitely make you think “outside the box”.

 

CONS:

None that we could find.

Click here to order directly from Amazon.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

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More brain games can be found under the heading “Brain Games”, by clicking any of the published blogs in the pages listed for the following categories:

“Brain Games For Children”

“Brain Games for Adults”

“Brain Games for Seniors”

“Advanced Brain Training”

“Optimal Brain Health”

In addition, if you want to search for a particular blog, enter its title in the Search bar in the blog roll which appears during blog viewing.

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16 Fast Tips For Getting Smarter Every Day

This is a writeup of a recent article in VCool.com entitled “How to get smarter every day – 16 fast tips”.

How to become more intelligent
Have you ever thought about the ways you can become more intelligent? Do you think that the habits in a routine day can boost your brain capacity? In fact, a recent research study shows that there are a lot of ways to improve your intelligence by doing small things. Many simple habits you may not expect to ever make a difference can remarkably contribute to making you smarter. Therefore, I would like to introduce to you some tips on how to get smarter fast every day. I hope that you will enjoy them.

 

How To Get Smarter – Discover 16 Fast Tips


Tip No. 1.  Drink 2 glasses of water within 30 minutes of waking up

Water is important to our health.  We need to add a certain amount of water to the body after a long night  because, during the period of sleeping (6-9 hours), our body has not taken in water.  The experts recommend that we drink more water to increase our ability to do mental tasks.

 

Tip No. 2.   Read A Book Summary During Breakfast
It is quite interesting to read books, however the time for breakfast is usually quite short.  Therefore, read something shorter.  Book summaries can be found by googling.

 

Tip No. 3.  Listen To Stimulating Podcasts Or Audiobooks During Your Commute
There are a lot of different good sources that you can download on your phone (Ted talks, blinkists, audiobooks, podcasts…).  Take advantage of 10 minutes during your commute.

 

Tip No. 4.  Drink Green Tea While Working
Green tea contains L-theanine.  Research shows that the alpha brain wave can be enhanced by this amino acid.  Green tea can offer the comfort and the relaxed focus without the caffeine present in coffee.  In fact, L-theanine is considered an important element for relaxation and cardiovascular health.

 

Tip No. 5.  Take Naps During The Day
Napping can help refresh your mind. According to the research, taking a nap can increase your learning speed.  It’s a way to regain energy for the mind and the body.  People get sleepy in the middle of the afternoon;  napping can improve your focus, alertness and productivity for the rest of the day.

 

Tip No. 6.  Don’t Eat Sugar During The Day 
Eat fish or eggs for lunch, instead of some sugar or sweets.  The fluctuation of sugar level has a negative impact on brain function.

 

Tip No. 7.   Read A Book Instead Of Watching TV 
Reading book is considered an active exercises for the brain, because it requires your brain to work and process the information and images you have just received.   In contrast, watching TV or video entertainment is quite passive.

 

Tip No. 8.  Do Some Exercises During The Day
There is a strong connection between body and mind. The brain works well thanks to physical activities.  Just doing some push-ups, walking or skipping some stairs are enough, no need to go to the gym.

 

Tip No. 9.  Spend Time With Someone Smarter Than You
In fact, one of the fastest ways to get smarter is to talk or hang out with someone who is more intelligent and brilliant than you.  It might be a blow to your self-esteem, but that’s a small price to pay considering that you can gain a lot from them.

 

Tip No. 10.  Study A New Language
One of the tips on how to get smarter fast is to study a new language. You don’t need to master the new language.  The exposure to the new language can bring you inspiration and a desire to learn more about the language, as well as the culture and customs of people who speak it. That can help you broaden your knowledge.

 

Tip No. 11.  Write Down What You Learn
You don’t need to write a diary about events or your mood, but you should spend some minutes writing down what you learned. It is recommended that just write 400 words a day.  Hand-write your words;  it will help you remember longer than if you were typing.

 

Tip No. 12.  Be Smarter About Your Online Time
You will not be smarter if you are only online to check social networking such as comments or discussions. The Internet provides us a huge source of learning materials in all the fields. Therefore, you can gain the knowledge as well as get the entertainment.

 

Tip No. 13.  Go For A Walk
There are a lot of benefits to be derived from walking through nature.  First, walking is good for your blood circulation. Moreover, you can breathe fresh air because plants produce more oxygen. That makes your mind fresh, making you smarter.

 

Tip No. 14.  Eat Right
Your diet also plays an important role on how to get smarter every day.  Supplement your diet with nutrients like ginko biloba to support brain and improve memory.  And remember to eat enough fats but not too much (cholesterol and fats are two elements that will make the brain function well).  Maintaining a poor diet will make you exhausted.  Add to your diet foods that aid brain function and memory such as broccoli, spinach, berries, fish and tomatoes.

 

Tip No. 15.  Draw
Drawing is considered as one of the best tips on how to get smarter fast.   It can help you enhance your creativity. It is a unique way to cultivate the brain activity.  In addition to helping the coordination of hands and eyes, the memory of the drawing can be stored vividly.

 

Tip No. 16 – Play An Instrument
Playing an instrument is extremely beneficial for brain. It requires the gathering of a lot of skills such as hand-eye coordination, memory, concentration, mathematics, which improve your cognition.  It requires many regions of brain to work at the same time to create music.

 

We hope you have enjoyed this writeup and that you will want to try these 16 suggested tips for “How to get smarter every  day”.  Please write to us and let us know if these Tips made a difference in your life.

 

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15 Memory Exercises Proven to Keep Your Brain Sharp

This is a writeup on a recent article published in TheHealthy (MNS Lifestyle), entitled “15 Memory Exercises Proven To Keep Your Brain Sharp”.

1.  Draw A Map
Research shows that building a mental map is a serious brain-booster.
Memory exercise: Draw a map—of your neighborhood, your commute, or another familiar area—completely from memory. Then, repeat this exercise each time you v
sit a new place.

 

2.  Quiz Yourself Memory exercise
Try making and memorizing a list of grocery items, tasks to complete, etc.
Memory exercise:  Then, see how many items you can recall after one or two hours. The longer (and more complicated) the list, the tougher will be the workout for your brain.

 

3.  Practice simple math problems
Did you think you could bid math farewell after graduating from high school? Think again. According to experts, an addition or subtraction problem a day can keep cognitive decline away.
Memory exercise:  Solve a few simple math problems in your head each morning—no pencil, paper, or calculator allowed. To up increase the difficulty, try to walk or cook at the same time.

 

4.  Test your taste buds
Cooking is a win-win for your brain. Making and eating a meal both activate the brain regions associated with smell, touch, sight, and taste. In addition, using your senses can also improve your recall.   In one study, adults who looked at a series of images were more likely to remember those with a fragrance than the ones without.
Memory exercise:  As you chew, take a moment to distinguish the taste of individual ingredients in the dish, all the way down to the faintest herbs and spices.  Serve some of these brain-healthy foods on your plate for an extra intelligence boost.

 

5.  Tell a story
Storytelling is a great mental stimulant, helping you focus on important details, associate emotion with your memories, and recall important life events with ease.
Memory exercise:  Before you go to sleep at night, replay the day’s events in your head. Try to recall the details from each moment, starting from the minute you woke up to when you climbed into bed.

 

6.  Take a class
To keep your brain in tip-top shape, it’s important to keep learning—no matter your age. Experts believe that continuing to learn throughout your life can prevent mental aging and boost your memory.
Memory exercise:  Whether it is cooking or calculus, enroll in a class that will teach you something new. Trust us, your brain will thank you.

 

7.  Play a new sport
Getting your heart pumping can also keep your brain bumping. Athletic activities that stimulate your mind and body.   Activities such as yoga, golf, or tennis, have been linked to improved brain function and energy levels.
Memory exercise:   Sign up to learn a sport you have never played before, and study up on the rules and procedures.

 

8.  Challenge your fine-motor skills
Mastering an activity, like learning a sport or enrolling in a new class, one that requires considerable hand-eye coordination, can keep your brain active and healthy.
Memory exercise:  Pick up a new hobby that requires you to use your hands, such as knitting, painting, or assembling a jigsaw puzzle.  Even better, chew gum while you do it; one study found that chewing gum while completing a task could improve concentration and memory.

 

9.  Memorize phone numbers
Even a short brain-training session can make a big difference for your memory. By challenging your brain with memorization puzzles, experts believe you can protect your brain cells and strengthen the connections between them.
Memory exercise: Impress your friends by memorizing their phone numbers. As recommended by Ashraf Al, MD, divide each 10-digit number into three sections; for example, 801 555 8372.  It’s much easier to remember that number than 8015558372.

 

10.  Create a mnemonic phrase
Making a mnemonic device is one foolproof way to store an important rule, fact, or to-do list in your memory bank. Some are acronyms, such as RICE, (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), a first-aid treatment for injuries. Others come in the form of sentences, like “spring forward, fall back,” a reminder to reset your clock twice a year.
Memory exercise: The next time you need to memorize something in a hurry, come up with a clever acronym or sentence for it. Need some inspiration? These mnemonic phrases (from Reader’s Digest) will help you remember 14 basic facts.

 

11.  Learn a Foreign Language
Studies show that learning something new and complex over a long period of time can protect an aging brain. Not only are listening and hearing exercises great mental stimulants, but learning a new language can also reduce your risk for cognitive decline.
Memory exercise: Enroll in a foreign language course at your local college or online. If you’re strapped for time, Rosetta Stone or Duolingo will allow you to learn at your own pace.

 

12.  Increase your processing speed
Quick on your feet, or slow to the punch?  If your answer is the latter, your brain might be in trouble. Learning to react and process things at a fast pace can ward off dementia, according to research published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
Memory exercise: Try PQRST, a five-step method for processing lengthy written information quickly. The acronym stands for:  Preview or skim the material.  Ask Questions about the document’s main points, reread it, study the answers to your questions, and test yourself.

 

13.  Repeat it out loud
Saying information out loud can increase your chances of remembering it later, research says.  In a study published in the journal Memory, subjects who read written information out loud showed a five to 15 percent boost in retention.
Memory exercise: To remember something you have just done, heard, or read, repeat it out loud; doing so will nail the memory down in your mind. Here are more habits of people with impressive memory.

 

14.  Conserve your mental energy
Don’t waste valuable brainpower trying to remember where you put your keys or the time of your next doctor’s appointment. By removing unnecessary distractions, you can focus your energy on new information you actually want to remember, instead.
Memory exercise:  Keep a calendar or planner, and designate a space for items you often lose.

 

15.  Use visual cues
Last but certainly not least, there’s no harm in the occasional string around your finger to jog your memory.
Memory exercise:   Place Post-It notes on your computer keyboard, desk, or fridge to serve as reminders throughout the day. You can wear a bracelet or put an alarm on your phone, too. And if all else fails, find out how to train your brain like a memory champion.

 

We hope you have enjoyed this writeup and that you will want to try these “15 Memory Exercises Proven to Keep Your Brain Sharp”.  Please write to us and let us know if these Exercises made a difference in your life.

 

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A Trip To The Playground Can Strengthen Your Child’s Memory

This is a writeup of a recent article in “The Conversation” entitled “How To Use A Trip To The Playground To Help Your Children Strengthen Their Memory”.

To remember things, you need to give them your full attention.

American neuroscientist and bestselling author  Lisa Genova’s key findings on preventing Alzheimer’s disease show how to enhance memory to retain information.   This research can be adapted to children.   Yes, children can be supported to exercise their mind muscles.   They can learn the best ways to get information efficiently into their heads and access it effectively when they need to.

In her book  “Remember: the science of memory and the art of forgetting”, Genova points out that to enhance memory we don’t need to play “computer brain games” or “read books on recall strategies”.  What we simply need to do is improve our skills of noticing.  She writes that “Noticing requires two things: perception (seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling) and attention”.

Put it into Practice
Use  a trip to the playground to help your children strengthen memory muscles and become better learners.  This can be done by paying attention, slowing down, mind mapping, rehearsing, enhancing the senses and mixing things up.

Getting ready
Start by filling your child’s backpack with snacks and drinks, and small figurines such as fairies, lions, tigers, koalas, dinosaurs or favorite small cars and trucks for storytelling and mud play.   Bring  binoculars and magnifying glasses – these are great for noticing and spying on birds and bugs.  Pack watercolor paints, brushes and recycled paper for painting, chalk and brown baking paper for tracing bark, leaves, rocks, hands and play equipment.   Play dough is great for natural sculptures.

Let the children create a mind map
Like all animals, humans use mind mapping to create maps of their immediate environment in order to navigate their surroundings.   Our brains are wired to recall where things are located in space.   (This has to be done on foot. )

Walking to the playground, run your hands across fence palings and smell rosemary twigs.   Encourage your children to do this too.

Have your children collect eucalypt leaves, gum nuts, acorns and other natural loose objects and pop them in the bag to be used later in potions or paintings at the park.  You could also have them make chalk drawings of rivers and fish on the pavement as a way of finding your path back home.

A lot of neural work is happening as children construct a mind map. The more time adds detail to the memory.

Exercising the mind
Once at the park, decrease distractions by not multitasking (turn you’re your devices). This allows space for noticing.  Let your children explore playground equipment until they are out of breath and their bodies are tired.

Now it is time to exercise their minds. Point out and have them notice the layers of the playgrounds, the earth, grasses, tree roots, ants and bugs, plants and trees, leaves, birds and the sky.

Recall the event
Lie on your back with your children and have them close their eyes.   Quietening the mind, through mindfulness, allows children to be dreamy. Relaxing in a meditative state can lower anxiety and tension. Research on children in nature reveals it alleviates hyperactivity and depression. The mind can be “trained to become less reactive, to put the brakes on the runaway stress response”.

Re-enacting stories using figurines or other objects can help children revisit positive and negative experiences they have encountered.    Reactivating the neural circuits through retelling or externalizing experiences helps children forge positive memories and process conflicting emotions.

Click here to read “Don’t worry – your child’s early learning doesn’t stop just because they’re not in childcare”.

Click here to read “Why make-believe play is an important part of childhood development”.

You can encourage your child to make fairy lands or sand pit dinosaur worlds and play out past events. In this way, children can project emotions through the objects as they play out narratives.

Positive emotions like happiness and joy actually enhance children’s recall to re-activate past positive emotions.

You can lie on your back  with your children and all close your eyes. Quietening the mind, through mindfulness, allows children to be dreamy. Relaxing in a meditative state can lower anxiety and tension. Research on children in nature reveals it alleviates hyperactivity and depression. The mind can be “trained to become less reactive, to put the brakes on the runaway stress response”.

Children often tuck away strong emotional responses to events or information until quiet moments. Reactivating the neural circuits through retelling or externalizing experiences helps children forge positive memories and process conflicting emotions.   Re-enacting stories using figurines or other objects can help children revisit positive and negative experiences they have encountered.

 

We hope you have enjoyed this writeup.  Please write us again and let us know if the suggested exercises were effective in strengthening your child’s memory.

 

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The Science of Accelerated Learning

This is a review of the book entitled “The Science of Accelerated Learning” .
Date:  June 21, 2021
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Author:  Peter Hollins
Price:   $13.99

About the Author
Author Peter Hollins has studied psychology and peak human performance for over a dozen years and is a bestselling author. He has worked with a multitude of individuals to unlock their potential and path towards success. His writing draws on his academic, coaching, and research experience.

 

What are accelerated learning techniques?
Accelerated learning is a way of presenting information to the mind so that you can more easily and accurately understand, memorize and recall it later.

The science of accelerated learning starts from the beginning and how we must shape our mindsets to be geared for learning, fertile as the author puts it. Then the author talks about the three types of factors that can make or break us: subconscious psychological, conscious psychological, and environmental.

The central theme of this book is:  Learn how to learn.

 

What you’ll learn from this book
Make learning painless, exciting, habitual, and self-motivating. Absorb info like a human sponge

We’ve never been taught how to learn, and that’s a shame. This book is the key to reversing all the misconceptions you have and making learning fun again. 

Scientifically-proven, step-by-step methods for effective learning
“The Science of Accelerated Learning”  is not a textbook – it’s a guidebook for your journeys in learning. It will show you the most effective methods, the pitfalls we must avoid, and the habits we must cultivate. This book is highly organized and addresses all phases of the learning process, from creating a positive environment, to the biological basis of memory, to learning theories, and more.   It borrows from multiple scientific disciplines to present comprehensive techniques to simply learn more, faster. 

“The Science of Accelerated Learning” consists of Advanced Strategies for Quicker Comprehension, Greater Retention, and Systematic Expertise.

Smarter, faster, and better ways to achieve expertise
The physical and psychological pre-conditions to effective learning.
How our memory works and how to make it work for you.
The learning techniques that work – with evidence.
How to never need to cram again.

Tame distractions and procrastination through specialized habits
Why Einstein loved to play violin while working.
The learning mistakes you are probably committing right now.
Steps to building true expertise.
How to teach effectively, and teach to learn.

Learning To Learn
Outpace others, beat the competition, and get where you want to go in record time.
Learning to learn is one of the most valuable skills you will ever possess because it unlocks everything you want in life.   You will achieve:  better grades, better work product, better relationships, more enjoyable hobbies, and each day you will grow closer to the life you truly want.

This book unlocks the paths you can take, and it unlocks the happiness you can potentially feel.   Learning is growing, and life without growing is not a life worth living.

 

A guidebook for your journeys in learning
Barnes and Noble has this to say about this book:  Make learning painless, exciting, habitual, and self-motivating.  Absorb info like a human sponge.   We’ve never been taught how to learn, and that’s a shame. This book is the key to reversing all the misconceptions you have and making learning fun again.  Scientifically-proven, step-by-step methods for effective learning.   Master your approach and save countless hours.

 

Here are the chapters in this book:
In the book’s Introduction, Peter Hollins has this to say:

The concept of learning, the ability to understand, recall and use new knowledge – well, that’s something which truly begins to matter and can make all difference in  your career, relationships and happiness….In fact, it becomes the backbone of where you end up….Welcome to “Accelerated Learning”, where you can finally learn how to learn.

Chapter 1.  Fertile Conditions of Learning

Chapter 2.  Memory Retention

Chapter 3.  Active Learning Techniques

Chapter 4.  Spaced repetition; no cramming

Chapter 5.  Make learning secondary

Chapter 6.  Mistakes in learning

Chapter 7.  Building expertise

Chapter 8.  Teaching to learn

Chapter 9.  Learning habits

Summary Guide

 

Specific Instances of this revolutionary method for learning
From Chapter 4, you’ll learn:
The Science of Accelerated Learning:  Advanced Strategies for Quicker Comprehension, Greater Retention, and Systematic Expertise.

Advanced strategies include spaced repetition (in order to commit more to memory, space out your exposure to it over a period of several days:  Think about what happens when you have repeated exposure to a concept – you begin to examine it on a deeper level and think about the context surrounding it.   Repeated exposure pushes information from  your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

From Chapter 5, you’ll learn:
Learn Like Einstein:  Memorize More, Read Faster, Focus Better, and Master Anything With Ease…

Albert Einstein once said to his son:  “That is the way to learn the most, when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes”.

When the learning is the secondary goal and it’s done in pursuit of a greater goal, you can learn faster.  Take for instance this young man who wanted to write to his pals on Facebook – he taught himself to type in record time in order to achieve his goal of writing more sentences to his friends on Facebook.

Learning by itself is not enough to motivate most people.  That’s perfectly natural.  The task then become to find relevance, and motivation in an end goal where learning is part of the process.

From Chapter 7, you’ll learn:
Accelerated Learning for Expertise:  Rapid Knowledge Acquisition Skills to Learn Faster, Comprehend Deeper, and Reach a World-Class Level

How to build expertise.    What’s necessary in order to establish expertise in a field?

Deliberate practice:  Expertise can follow a certain number of hours spent  if the hours were spent in a smart way.  Deliberate practice is purposeful and systematic.  It requires focused attention with the specific goal of improving performance rather than just going through the motions.

Everything can be mastered using this intensive technique.  Measure yourself (keep a record of how you’re doing).  Get feedback on how you’re doing (perhaps from a coach).

Expertise is a natural consequence of learning.

 

PROS & CONS

PROS:
Who doesn’t want to discover the concept of learning, the ability to understand, recall and use new knowledge?  Who doesn’t care about unlocking  their potential and path towards success?  Who is not interested in making learning painless, exciting, habitual and self-motivating?   Who is not interested in absorbing information like a human sponge?    None of our readers, for sure!

The conclusion is, of course, that this book is full of great ideas about all these abilities, which can be yours once you understand how to put them into practice.  Click here to go directly to the merchant’s website.

 

CONS:
None that we can think of.   We’re all for any training that will make you smarter and more successful.

 

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10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp

This is a write-up of a recent article in TheHealthy entitled “10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp”.
The article was written by Marissa Laliberte and was medically reviewed by Renata Chalfin, MD.

From exercise to sleep to healthy eating, the choices you make every day can help prevent dementia and keep your brain sharp.

Brain health is important

Keeping mentally sharp is of greatest concern or priority for many people—particularly as they get older. Almost half of people aged 50 to 64 are concerned about their brain health and report worrying about memory loss and dementia, according to the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging.   However, despite brain health being a top concern, researchers found that most people were unsure about the best way to protect their minds; they were either taking supplements or solving puzzles, but most had not talked with their doctors about more effective ways to prevent cognitive decline. So we did it for them. Here are the experts’ recommendations:

 

Here are the recommended 10 healthy habits:

How about eating avocados and salmon?
Don’t worry about eating fat.  If you want a healthy brain, load up your plate with nuts, salmon and avocadoes.  Eating a diet rich in healthy fats can protect your brain as you age, keeping your brain sharp and even delaying the onset of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s, according to a study published in Cell Metabolism.

The featured article has a “more foods that will help with brain health” link and it recommends these other types of excellent brain foods: walnuts, eggs, blueberries, wine and champagne, kale and other green leafy vegetables, coffee, whole grains.  Remember:  you are what you eat!

Anyway, the advice is to stick with a Mediterranean-style diet.  It is loaded with fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fish, with moderate amounts of red wine and limited red meat.  Recent studies have found that older people who closely followed such a Mediterranean-style diet retained more brain volume during a three-year period than those who didn’t follow the diet quite as closely. Our brains are known to shrink with advancing age, and this loss of volume and brain cells has been linked to memory and cognitive deficits.

Never miss a date night
Forget the stereotype of spouses driving each other crazy.   A happy marriage improves brain health and memory, according to a study published in the BMJ. Researchers found that men and women who are married have a 43 percent lower chance of developing dementia.

How about gardening?
Gardening may be one of the healthiest things you can do.  But it isn’t just a good workout for your body, it’s also exercise for your brain, according to research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Scientists found that getting outside and working in the soil protects cognitive health by increasing brain volume and gray matter.

Be a zen master
“Meditation is a simple and effective way to reduce stress and improve your brain function,” says Catherine Loveday, PhD, a psychologist specializing in the neuropsychology of memory, a professor of psychology at the University of Westminster in London, England. Doing a daily meditationsignificantly reduced stress, improved memory, and increased ability to focus, according to a meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

How about learning new things?
Seniors who spend time playing any type of brain game using an app or a computer better remembered daily events and how to perform simple tasks than those in other groups who did activities that didn’t involve learning new skills, such as watching movies or socializing with others, according to a meta-analysis in the journal The Gerontologist. Try it yourself instead of sticking with what you already know.

How about  playing a puzzle?
Scientists are discovering that Crossword, Sudoku, word search, jigsaw, and other types of puzzles aren’t just fun, they’re good for your brain.  They demonstrated that people who regularly played number and word puzzle games showed improved concentration, memory, problem solving and reasoning skills.  Researchers suggest complex brainteasers, which involve planning and readjusting strategies, might help improve memory. The featured article has an area entitled “Free brain games to try”.

Remember to always keep stress in check
“Stress is a killer, both for your body and your brain,” say the scientists. Short-term stress can break your focus but over the long-term stress can have serious cognitive impacts, reducing concentration, learning, and memory, according to research published in Nature. 

Remember to cut back on sugar
Sugary treats drain your brain, say the scientists. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a significant link between high blood sugar and dementia.  A separate study published in the Journal of Neurology found that even people whose blood sugar was on the higher end of “normal” still showed memory loss and cognitive impairment compared to their less sugared-up counterparts.

Always get the sleep you need
The physical process of memory storage in the brain depends on sleep, so don’t skimp on it, say the scientists.  According to a study published in PLoS One, people who got a good night’s sleep did better on tests that measured both working memory and long-term memory.  A good night’s sleep is vital.  Numerous experiments have shown that a lot of memory storage occurs while we sleep.

Do various types of exercise
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to protect your brain health. Anything that is good for the heart will also be good for the brain, say the scientists.  But benefits may go beyond improved blood flow and oxygenation.  In a recent experiment, people who did any type of exercise—including walking, lifting weights, yoga, or taking a fitness class—had sharper memories, faster recall, better retention, and better emotional recall than their couch-potato peers, according to a study published in Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. The featured article contains a link entitled:  50 fascinating facts about your brain that will blow your mind.

 

From exercise to sleep to healthy eating, the choices you make every day can help prevent dementia and keep your brain sharp.

 

We hope you have enjoyed our featured article:  10 Healthy Habits That Will Keep Your Mind Sharp.

Please try some of the suggestions in the article and let us know how they work out for you.  We’d love to hear about your progress!

 

Click on the heading “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

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Train Your Brain To Learn Faster and Remember More

This is a write-up of a recent Lifehack article by Maria Brilacki entitled “8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More”.

Social goals of brain training
By training your brain and improving your cognitive skills, along with your short and long term memory,
you will accomplish the following:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations.   You remember the face, but what was the name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills.   It will be no problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Think of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more. You spend so much time focusing on improving your body; shouldn’t you also focus on learning how to train your brain?

 

Work Your Memory
This is what NYC-based renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp does as a memory workout:  When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.  This is not so easy to do!  Twyla says that most people cannot remember more than three.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

Repetition is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see.

 

Improve The Way You Do Things
Find a new way of doing familiar things
By actually doing something over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this thing better and faster by improving specific cognitive functions.

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait until the last minute to make things happen.  It is a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways to do things (thus avoiding procrastination altogether).

By doing something really small but streamlining the decision-making process, thus getting that task done effortlessly, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.  Cleaning your desk, for instance.  If you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place.  Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it:  Trash? Right cabinet? Another room?  Give it to someone?  You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what to do with it in order to train your brain.  You will transform yourself into an in-the-moment action-taker.

 

Learn Something New
The more you use your brain, the better it’s going to perform for you.

For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating sheet music (something you see), to playing the instrument (something you actually do).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking and a different way of expressing yourself and is good for your brain.

You can even literally take this a step further, and learn how to dance. Research has shown that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s.

If you want to learn new things more effectively, identify your learning style first.  If you don’t know your learning style, take the Full-Life Assessment Quiz in this article.   By understanding your own learning style, you can maximize your strengths in learning and learn quicker.

Follow Lifehack’s rain Training Program
The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while sitting on your couch. For example, Lifehack’s free Fast-Track Class, “Spark Your Learning Genius” .

 

Exercise Improves the Fitness of Your Brain
Indeed, exercise does not just work your body, but it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. Exercise actually helps the brain create those new neural connections faster. Moving your body will make you learn faster and increase your alertness level.

 

Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
If you want to train your brain and develop optimal cognitive abilities, cultivate  meaningful relationships.

Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

 

Avoid Crossword Puzzles
When we think of how to exercise your brain, many of us think of crossword puzzles.

And it’s true—crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies have offered conflicting views and show they are not enough by themselves if you’re looking to train your brain and prevent disease like Alzheimer’s.

 

Eat Right—and Make Sure Dark Chocolate Is Included
Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally in the long term. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

 

The Bottom Line
Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s time to choose one of the above steps and get started.

Improving your ability to learn and remember will take time, and you won’t see results overnight, but will dedicate yourself to a brain training routine, you will absolutely see results. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

You are encouraged to try all the suggestions at the end of this Lifehack article, using the links provided in the article.  Please let us know how you like any of the suggestions provided.  We’d love to hear about your progress!

 

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Keep Your Brain Sharp With The Total Brain Workout

This is a review of the book entitled “The Total Brain Workout:  450 Puzzles to Sharpen Your Mind, Improve Your Memory & Keep Your Brain Fit”, by Marcel Danesi, published by Amazon.com.

Date:  May 24, 2021
Buy from Amazon.com
Author:  Marcel Danesi
Price:  $16.49

BOOST YOUR BRAIN POWER! FLEX YOUR MENTAL MUSCLES
Here is what you’ll find in this book:
(a) Brainteasers and Word Searches;
(b) Cryptograms & Optical Illusions;
(c) Sudoku & Frameworks;
(d) Logic Puzzles & Trivia Puzzles;
(e) and much more!

Did you know that different parts of your brain control different functions and that, with exercise, you can make each part of your brain stronger?

What You’ll Get Out of This Book
In The Total Brain Workout you’ll find 450 fun, challenging and absorbing puzzles designed to specifically target the core parts of your brain that control language, logic, memory, reasoning and visual perception. Each set of puzzles ranges from easy to challenging, and is presented with information on the area of your brain being targeted and the functions it controls, so you can customize your own workout to the specific areas you want to improve.

 

The Benefits Of This Book (from the book’s Introduction)
”Crosswords, Sudoku, Anagrams, Brain-Teasers, the list goes on!  These terms are known to virtually everyone.  But what you may not know if that such apparently ‘trivial amusements’ also foster brain growth by stimulating logical and creative thinking regions of the brain.  Research has, in fact, come forward recently to suggest (although not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt) that puzzles sharpen the mind, improve memory and keep the brain fit throughout life, especially in later life.”

Why Puzzles?
“Since the dawn of civilization, we humans have been fascinated by puzzles of all kinds.”

Puzzles And The Brain
“The brain is a marvelous organ, but, like all organs, it needs to stay in shape, so to speak. In recent years, many scientists have documented studies showing that doing puzzles enhances brain activity.”

“If you want more brain-based puzzles and games after you have worked through this book”….” You might get more by visiting these two websites:  www.sharpbrains.com and www.happy-neuron.com.”

 

CONTENTS OF THE BOOK
The book is divided into an Introduction, nine paragraphs with these titles and contents, and an ANSWERS section:

Introduction

Verbal Thinking (word searches, jumbled words, cryptograms, odd one out, word sequences)

Visual Thinking (optical illusions, figure detection puzzles, visual sequences, stick puzzles, visualization puzzles)

Logical Thinking (IQ logic, deduction puzzles, logical comparison puzzles, liar puzzles, truth puzzles)

Reasoning (drawing and weighing puzzles, movement and crossing puzzles, kinship puzzles, verbal reasoning puzzles, miscellaneous reasoning puzzles)

Outside-the-Box Thinking (trick puzzles, insight thinking puzzles, lateral thinking puzzles, numeral conundrums, miscellaneous puzzles)

Sudoku and Other Placement  Puzzles (Latin squares, warm-up puzzles, standard puzzles, placement addition puzzles, killer placement puzzles)

Brainteasers (magic squares, number patterns, cryptarithms, alphametics, miscellaneous puzzles)

Word Play (riddles, anagrams, ziggurats, word squares, word ladders)

Crosswords and Trivia (frameworks, movies, movie directors, trivia acrostics, writers)

ANSWERS

  

 

SOME EXAMPLES OF THE BRAIN EXERCISES YOU’LL FIND IN THIS BOOK
From Chapter 2 – Visual Thinking
Example No. 6
.  Put a hand over the left side of the figure below.  Then put your hand over the right side.  What do you see?  (The figure in this picture is called the “Devil’s Fork”.  It is an example of an impossible figure because it seems to defy the laws of physics.)

Answer to No. 6:  if you stare at the figure, you’ll see at one moment a three-pronged fork and at another a two-pronged fork.  In other words, the contours of the lines in the figure do double visual duty within it.

 

Example No. 10. Count the number of triangles:

Answer to 10:  7

 

From Chapter 4 – Reasoning
Kinship Puzzles

Example No. 18.  A boy answers the phone.  He asks, “Who’s speaking?”  The caller, a male, answers, “Don’t you recognize me?   Your mother’s mother is my mother-in-law”.  Who is the caller?

Answer to No. 18:  He is the boy’s father.

 

 

From Chapter 5 – Outside the Box Thinking
Example No. 1.  A bull is put on a scale.  But he is so big that only 3 of his 4 legs will fit on the scale.  How much do you estimate the bull weighs when he stands on all four legs?

Answer to No. 1:  The bull weighs 1,000 lbs, whether it stands on all four legs of only on three.

 

Example No. 4.  If it takes 5 minutes to boil an egg, how long will it take to boil 5 eggs?

Answer to No. 4:  Five minutes.  Whether you boil 1, 2, 5 or a million eggs, it takes only 5 minutes.

 

Example No. 8.  After conducting several experiments, a professor of chemistry discovered that it took eighty minutes for a specific chemical reaction to occur when he was wearing his glasses, but that it took that same reaction an hour and twenty minutes to occur when he was not wearing them.  Why?

Answer to No. 8:  Eighty minutes and an hour and twenty minutes are the same.

 

 

From Chapter 8 – Word Play
Riddles

Example No. 1:    It flies, yet it has no wings
It can be long and short, yet it is not a measuring stick.
It can be put into a capsule, but it is not a medicine.
What is it?
(hint:  the first letter is “t”)

Answer to No. 1:  Time, as in “time flies”.  It can be long and short, as in “It’s been a long time” and “Time is short”.  It can be put into a capsule, as in “Time capsule”.

 

Example No. 3.  Among its colors are red, blue, purple and green.
You can easily see that.
But you can’t touch it or even reach it.
What is it?
(Hint:  The first letter is r.)

Answer to No. 3:  A rainbow.  The rainbow’s colors are red, blue, purple and green.  But no one can touch or even reach a rainbow.

 

 

PROS AND CONS
PROS

There are many benefits to be derived from doing puzzles.  It has been shown by many researchers that doing puzzles enhances brain activity.  We are firm believers that an individual should take every opportunity to enhance his or her brain activity as often as possible.  With this type of brain exercise, each part of the brain can be made stronger.

CONS
None that we can think of.

 

Click here to order this book directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

SPECIALS:   Following are links allowing you to explore inspirational promotions, events, deals and products throughout Amazon. 

= = > Spotlight:   Click here to explore What to read in 2021 > = =

= = > Spotlight:   Click here to explore Best Sellers in Software > = = =

= = > Spotlight:   Click here to explore Best Sellers in Video Games > = = =

= = > Spotlight:   Click here to explore Free games and in-game content > = = =

= = >  Spotlight:    Click here to explore  Subscribe and Save Items Only > = = = 

 

 

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Quiz Yourself On Top Mind Teasers – Then Brag About Your Score

This is a review of a free website, Women.com/quizzes, which lets you quiz yourself on the best available mind teasers, trivia, and general knowledge questions, then brag on Facebook about your score.

 

How smart are you?
On this free website, Women.com/quizzes, you’ll find tons of the best mind teasers, trivia, riddles, and general knowledge questions  to test how smart you really are about education, history, geography, math, grammar, spelling, government, and more, in the form of quizzes that you can take online.   And, if you score in the nineties (%), you will have a chance to brag about it on Facebook.   Ready to challenge yourself?  Let’s go.

 

Ready to challenge yourself?
Looking for a math test? A grammar test?  A movie test? Or maybe even a nursery rhyme test? Whatever your heart desires, we can quiz you on it!

 

Here are some Quiz Facts published by WOMEN.COM
“Ready to challenge yourself? Well, you’re in luck! Don’t you worry, we’ve got the best mind teasers, trivia, and general knowledge questions to test how smart you really are when it comes to all things knowledge, education, and more! If you consider yourself a wiz when it comes to riddles, or if you just need a break from the hectic world around you – give this quiz a try!”

“Looking for a math test?   A grammar test?   A movie test?   Or maybe even a nursery rhyme test? Whatever your heart desires, we can quiz you on it! From quizzes about your hometown to quizzes about your favorite songs, women.com has it all!   Visit our quiz pages here to check out some of our other viral content, and as always, don’t forget to share with your friends!”

“Our goal at Women.com is to make people feel good about who they are – and take a relaxing break from the world outside to do something that they enjoy.   So take a breath, stop whatever you’re doing, and get ready to have a little fun. This three-minute escape is exactly what you need!”

 

Here are a few examples of the available tests we found on women.com
(Take the tests.  If you get a top score, you will see a command button entitled “Share to Facebook”, so you can let your friends know).   The examples shown here are all tests that we took and enjoyed, but there are many more!

 

link:  Only 1 in 50 People Know The Meaning Of These 22 Fundamental Words

Link:  Even Geniuses Struggle On This Advanced Vocabulary Quiz

Link:  Few People Can Match All These Cities To Their Countries

Link:  If You Can Name 17/20 of These Cultural Landmarks, We’ll Be Very Impressed

link:  We’re Pretty Sure No One Can Ace This Genius Quiz, Can You Prove Us Wrong?

link:  The High Score On This History Quiz Is 82%.  Think You Can Beat It?

link:  Only Someone With a 135+ IQ Can Complete This Ultimate Trivia Chain

Link:  Think You Can Name Every U.S. President By A Hint & An Image?

link:  You’re Too Smart For Your Own Good, If You Score Over 90% On This Quiz

link:  Do You Actually Know The First Names Of Every Single U.S. President?

 

We hope you enjoyed these opportunities to challenge yourself, learn something new and feel good about your scores.   Please leave us a comment if you enjoyed the blog.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

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Worried About Your Forgetfulness? This Will Put You At Ease

This is a writeup on a recent  article in SentinelSource.com entitled “Worried about your forgetfulness?  This Harvard-trained neuroscientist may put you at ease”.

What, you lost your glasses — again?
And you have no idea where you parked your car?
Can’t remember the name of your favorite sitcom ?  You feel that it’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t quite remember it?

 

“Don’t worry about it”
says Lisa Genova,  a Harvard-trained neuroscientist who  is the author of five bestselling novels, all centering on people with brain maladies.  Such minor forgetfulness is pretty normal”.   (“Still Alice”,  Genova’s bestselling novel about a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, was made into an Academy Award-winning film.)

 

What is “normal forgetting”?
People don’t know what normal forgetting is.  When we’re 20, we don’t care, but by the time we reach age 50 we start getting really scared and anxious about it.

 

How we remember, how we forget, and what we can do to improve our memory
During a recent Zoom presentation to an audience of more than 750 people, hosted by the Friends of the Hennepin (Minn.) County Library, Genova then set out to explain how we remember and how we normally forget and what we can do to improve our memory.

 

On why we forget things
The No. 1 ingredient for creating a memory that’s going to last beyond the moment is attention. You cannot remember something if you don’t pay attention.    You’re only going to keep what you pay attention to.  So when your keys go missing or your phone or your glasses — and we do these things every day — this likely doesn’t involve your memory at all.   This is a symptom of distraction — you did not pay attention to putting your glasses here.

 

On the different kinds of memory
There’s the memory for the stuff we know, the facts and information, like the things we learn in school. And there’s the memory for the things that happen, the episodic memory.   This is the story of your life. There’s muscle memory, which doesn’t actually live in your muscles but lives in your brain. This is the stuff you can do — ride a bike, brush your teeth, drive the car. There’s also the memory for what you plan to do later.

Regarding events in episodic memory , that will change over time with every time I retell the event. Every time I recall it, I have an opportunity to add something to it, subtract something.   Maybe my mood is different now and I can interpret it differently.   Maybe I heard something on the news related to this thing that happened.    When I restore that memory, the new memory is what gets stored and it overwrites the old memory.  And that’s OK!

 

On memory games
The way to improve your memory is not through brain games and crosswords. You’ll get better at doing those brain games and you’ll get good at crosswords, but you won’t then get a better memory in your day-to-day life.    As earlier stated, the No. 1 ingredient for creating a memory that’s going to last beyond the moment is attentionThat’s how you get a better memory.

 

On the importance of sleep
Sleep is super important for your memory. Events are being consolidated into a lasting memory while you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, the hippocampus might not have enough time to do its job.

While you sleep, the glial cells (the janitors of your brain) do their job while you sleep. They clear away the metabolic debris that accumulated during the business of being awake. And one of the things they clear away is amyloid beta. And if amyloid beta isn’t cleared away, it’ll stick to itself and form plaque. That is the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

On stress and memory
Stress will prevent your brain from remembering.   Chronic stress is super bad for memory.   Exercise, even a brisk walk every day, can save our hippocampus (Yoga, meditation, deep breathing).

If you close your eyes and breathe in to the count of four, through your nose, it will calm everything down.   Do this several times throughout the day.

 

On giving in and using Google
If you can’t remember something, Google it.    People think that, if they Google it, it’s cheating.   It’s not. It does not make your memory stronger by forcing yourself to remember it, and you do not make your memory weaker by googling it.

Remember…a normal glitch in your memory doesn’t mean you’re getting Alzheimer’s.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog and will consider using the advice in this article.  Please leave us a comment if you enjoyed the blog.

 

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Advanced Strategies & Techniques to Improve Learning/Memory

This is a review of the book “Learning and Memory:  How to Use Advanced Strategies & Techniques to Remember More, Learn More, Accelerate Your Brain Power & How to Avoid Memory Deficit…Life (Learning & Memory Improvement Book 1)”

Date:  May 12, 2021
Best place to buy:   Amazon.com
Author:  Stirling De Cruz-Coleridge
Price:  $10.95

The mind is a very complex system.   Are you looking for the blueprint for mastering it to make it work for you?  Then this book is for you.

What You Will Find in This Book:

  • Strategies, techniques and tools that you will need to increase or improve your memory.
  • Stay focused longer and be able to concentrate in stressful circumstances.
  • Find out how you can master long-term memory (easily recall stored information), and short-term memory (what you recall in the present moment)
  • Use mental techniques for remembering names or tasks and errands.
  • Use your imagination to help you improve memory recall and focus.
  • Easily remember numbers.
  • Learn to unravel and connect information and ideas in long-term memory.
  • Get tips for better memory retention, as well as methods of increasing memory power and concentration, especially when studying or just generally (in senior years).
  • Be introduced to advanced strategies and tips to boost memory. In this book, we also consider a wide spectrum of factors that greatly affect our learning ability and memory.
  • Find out about habits that prevent you from mentally retrieving important information.
  • Learn a method of thinking that will help you to recall information better.
  • Stay focused longer and concentrate in stressful circumstances.

 

 

MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK…

 

From doing the exercises in this book, you will soon find that you are developing unlimited memory.  You will find out more about this long-term memory process in learning and neurobiology.

Remember that the majority of people hardly access a small percentage of memory recall.

Learning and memory are interdependent.  It  is essential to find out how do we remember and develop strong memories. The role of the brain is vital. Find out more about the long-term memory process in learning and neurobiology.

 

Book Organization

This book is organized in 16 chapters:

Chapter 1:  Brain Work-Out to Improve Your Memory System

Chapter 2:  Exercise to Improve Your Memory

Chapter 3:  Sleep to Boost Your Brain and Aid Learning

Chapter 4:  Socialize to Boost Your Brain

Chapter 5:  Stress

Chapter 6:  Laughter Helps Memory

Chapter 7:  Brain Power Diet to Boost Your Memory

Chapter 8:  Identify and Manage Health Issues

Chapter 9:  Boosting Brain and Learning Power

Chapter 10:  Guide and Support Learning and Memory

Chapter 11:  Eliminating Distraction Tips

Chapter 12:  Memory Loss or  Dementia

Chapter 13:  Skills For Life – Accelerate Memory When Taking Notes To Learn

Chapter 14:  Brain Fog and The Female Menstrual Cycle & The Menopause

Chapter 15:  Memory and The  Male Menopause

Chapter 16:  What Can We Conclude About Learning and Memory?

 

Examples of some of the tips, ideas and exercises in this book
Brain Workout (Chapter 1)
Leave your mobile phone in your overcoat pocket.   And imagine your phone telephones you from your own mobile to say that it is in your coat pocket.  Remember…the more ridiculous the story…the easier to remember!

 

Stress (Chapter 5)
Chronic stress can destroy brain cells and damage the memory area of the brain (hippocampus).

Tips for learning to manage stress:  Learn to be assertive and express your feelings.  Focus on one task at a time.  Classify your “to do” tasks into low, medium and high priority.  Spend 35-40 minutes a day doing Meditation.  Do Yoga exercises.

 

Identify and Manage Health Issues (Chapter 8)
Pay attention to health issues such as heart disease and risk factors, hormone imbalance, diabetes, medications, anxiety, depression.  These can cause memory loss and difficulty in concentrating.

 

Boosting Brain & Learning Power (Chapter 9)
Pay close attention. 
You cannot remember something that you have never learned, and you cannot learn something if you don’t pay close attention to it.  Involve all your senses, if at all possible, when learning and try to relate the information to colors, textures, sounds, smells and tastes.  Recount and link information to what you can already remember, thus forming a web of connected knowledge in your mind.  For instance, form an acronym of what you want to remember:

Example of an acronym:  Remember the colors of the spectrum with the acronym:  ROY G. BIV (= red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

 

What Can We Conclude About Learning and Memory (Chapter 16)
Creating a Memory Palace is one excellent way to improve learning and memory.

One of the main reasons we often misplace car keys, TV remote, or cell phone is because we often store similar versions of these memories in our brain.  With the Memory Palace, we create a precise scene where these objects are always at the same place.  The Memory Palace is helpful because it makes you associate a particular object with a particular place in your house (your memory palace), and that doesn’t change.

It is to be noted that the Memory Palace is one of the oldest memory-enhancing techniques in existence.  The technique was introduced to the ancient Romans and the world via Greek rhetorical treatises.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

You cannot go wrong doing the exercises in this book.  They will definitely improve your learning and memory!   All are goals that I strongly believe in!

Cons

I cannot think of any.  You can never be too smart!

 

Click here to order this book, directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

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Your Brain Is Inviting You To Be Young Again

This is a writeup of a recent article in The Las Cruces Bulletin entitled “Can An Old Dog Learn New Tricks?  Research says yes”.

The more we learn about the human brain the more amazing it is.

What is “brain plasticity”
New research in neuropsychology is telling us that, as we get older, our brains can actually get better, instead of the other way around.   The phenomenon is called “brain plasticity”:  our brains may be the most adaptable organ we have.

While it was once thought that our brain just gradually deteriorated as we aged (from about age 50 on), new findings in neuroscience research are revealing that the aging brain can change and actually improve.

  • This means that learning new ideas, skills, attitudes and behaviors is possible
    For instance, it is suggested that a senior wanting to improve his/her golf game should do the following:
    Since brain plasticity requires motivation, be willing to change and be in a mood to learn new stuff.   In golf, that translates to taking lessons and trying things which are out of your comfort zone.  Try things which are out of your comfort zone.
  • Secondly, we can only change things we’re aware of, and things we’re paying attention to:  High self-awareness is one of the key requirements of mental toughness.  It’s also a critical element in high emotional I.Q. – the very thing that helps us to succeed in social and business settings.  So be sure to pay attention!
  • Thirdly, challenging ourselves with new tasks and games turns on the brain plasticity switches.

 

Your brain is inviting you to be young again
We can go a long way by promoting positive brain change (no, it’s not too late!) by harnessing our potential for brain plasticity.

Be open-minded.  Try different problem-solving approaches.  For instance, if you’re not happy with your current golf game, change it. Revamp your swing; develop new shots; hit the ball farther.  Skill building certainly extends to learning new mental toughness techniques, such as acute visualization.  Be open-minded.  Try different problem-solving approaches. In golf that means different shots and creative strategies.

One of the things we know about the aging brain is that if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, especially when you’re older, you end up making your brain and actions more rigid, and we don’t want to be rigid.

These strategies  for improving brain plasticity, as described in this section,  can be applied to all areas of human endeavor.

 

= = = > See also article in VeryWellMind entitled “How Experience Changes Brain Plasticity”> = = =

 

We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog.  Our goal, as always, is to present new research containing new suggestions for all to try.  Brain improvement, as always, is our GOAL!  Please leave us a comment if you enjoyed the blog.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

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Tech Devices That Read Your Brain. See What’s On The Horizon In Brain Research

This is a writeup on a recent article in the WashingtonPost entitled “Your tech devices want to read your brain.  What could go wrong?”

There’s a massive gap between the possibilities discovered in labs and the products we use in our daily lives. Our scientists are closing this gap by converting brain research into delightful products that can be used by anyone.

 

Neurable, NextMind, Facebook and other tech firms are championing brain-controlled gadgets as the next big thing. 

 

= = = > Read all about Neurable > = = =

In 2015, Ramses Alcaide, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, developed a brain-computer interface that would allow people to control software and physical objects with their thoughts. Today, that interface is behind plans by a Boston-based start-up, Neurable, to begin shipping a set of brain-sensing headphones to let you know when you’re poised for peak productivity.

Using your thoughts to make things happen in the real world was once a thing of science fiction.   Now, it’s moving into reality, and Neurable’s interface is just one of the products companies are trying to develop that would usher in a consumer revolution in electronics.

Already, brain tech allows players to manipulate avatars in video games by concentrating on parts of the screen.

Researchers think these advances might lead to the next big tech revolution — giving human beings essentially a sixth sense:   If you  think it, a computer can capture it, display it and even say it aloud.

Alcaide  foresees the day when you can control your smartphone without touching it with your hands or commanding it with your voice… That technology — promising users that if you think it, it will happen — would be a monumental step in consumer electronics.

“Think of it as a Fitbit for your brain,” Alcaide said.

 

= = = > Read all about NextMind > = = =

Let Your Mind Take Control
(At this stage, only the Developer Toolkit is available.)

The NextMind Dev Kit includes
NextMind Sensor.  A brain-sensing wearable with an adjustable headband.

Next Mind Engine.  Real-time algorithms transfer neural signals into commands.

Next Mind SDK.  Unity resources include tutorials, demo apps and examples.

The Technology:

The science behind NextMind:
NextMind technology decodes the act of focusing.
Scientists have discovered that brain activity can be translated into real-world actions, allowing consenting subjects to control a wide range of digital objects with their mind in real-time.

Decode
The NextMind Engine uses machine learning to decode brain activity and pinpoint the object of focus.

Activate
From the moment you start focusing, you can see your brain acting on the object.  As you focus more, the neural feedback on the digital object increases until it obeys your command.

Next frontier
This technology breakthrough represents the next frontier of human-computer interaction.

Conclusion:

Some say that as things advance, it might even be possible for firms to alter the organ that essentially makes you you (with your full consent, of course).

“The brain is what makes you human. You are your brain.   If technology enters your brain, it’s entering you,” said Rafael Yuste, director of the Neurotechnology Center at Columbia University. He heads a research team that in 2019 discovered it might be possible not only to decode your thoughts but to inject memories into them as well.

Neurotech is a catchall term broadly encompassing an industry set on connecting human brains to computers.

Already, brain tech allows players to manipulate avatars in video games by concentrating on parts of the screen.  And Facebook last month revealed plans to interpret your intent to move a finger to trigger digital commands.

 

= = = > You might also be interested in the article in  MedicalXPress entitled “New brain reading technology could help the development of brainwave-controlled devices”  > = = =

 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, keeping current on the latest development in brain research.  Please leave us a comment if you enjoyed the blog.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

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7 Tips For Worrying Less – A Healthy Brain In A Calm Body

The following is a writeup on a recent article from HealthLine entitled  “7 Tips for Worrying Less”.

What exactly is worrying?
Worrying is defined as distress caused by something that you might possibly experience in the future.   It is a normal part of the human experience — everyone experiences it from time to time. But left unchecked, it can have effects on both your physical and mental health.   While there’s no way to completely rid yourself of these thoughts, it is possible to significantly reduce their negative effects.

The article lists seven tips to keep in your back pocket for keeping your worries under control.

 

Try mindfulness meditation
Practicing mindfulness meditation involves focusing your attention on the present moment. This can help tame racing thoughts. Clinical psychotherapist Kevon Owen explains that mindfulness meditation is “designed to take you out of your mind.”

 

Deep Breathing
 “It sounds like an oversimplification,” says Clinical psychotherapist Kevon Owen, “but increasing your oxygen levels lowers the physiological effects of anxiety on your body.”   In other words, your heart rate goes down, your muscles relax, and your mind slows down — all of which can aid in reducing worry.

 

Explore guided imagery
Conjuring soothing images can be a powerful way to slow down a racing mind. It’s a powerful strategy to enhance your coping skills.    See Article in Frontiers in Psychology, entitled “ Nature-Based Guided Imagery as an Intervention for State Anxiety”.

The article describes how nature-based guided imagery can help trigger positive behavioral and physiological responses.

 

Do a body scan
When you’re worried, it’s normal to store tension in your muscles.   A body scan meditation helps you bring your focus back to your physical being so you can start to release the tension you’re holding.

Start by directing your attention toward your scalp, bringing all of your attention to how it feels.   Are you feeling any tension or tightness there?   Continue scanning down your body, all the way to the tips of your toes.

 

Talk to others
Talking to someone who has dealt with your same worries or understands your situation can provide much-needed validation and support.   Share your concerns with friends who take the time to listen and understand what you are going through.  You’ll feel less alone.

Rather than bottling up your worries, call a close friend and set up a date to get together.   Let your friend  know you just need a moment to vent or talk things through.

 

Keep a Worry Journal
Keeping a record of your worries can help you analyze and process your feelings.   Simply writing down your thoughts about a bothersome situation may allow you to look at them in a new light.  What exactly are you worried about?

 

Get moving
Exercise can have a big impact on your mental state. And it doesn’t have to involve a vigorous gym session or 10-mile hike. Even a 10-minute walk around the block can help calm a racing mind.

 

Could  it be anxiety?
Worrying is a natural instinct protecting you from threatening situations by making you more vigilant.   Anxiety, on the other hand, is unproductive, making you less functional.  You might experience powerful physiological symptoms (increased heart rate, sweating, muscle tension, lightheadedness).

 

When to seek help
While it’s normal to worry from time to time, excessive worry and anxiety can take a toll on your health.

Consider seeking professional help if your worries or anxieties start to have a noticeable impact on your day-to-day life, including your:  eating habits, sleep quality, relationships with others, performance at work or at school.

 

HOW TO FIND A THERAPIST
There is a very helpful section on “7 Tips For Worrying Less”It’s entitled “How to Find A Therapist”.

Finding a therapist can feel daunting…ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • What issues do you want to address?
  • Are there any specific traits you’d like in a therapist?
  • How much can you realistically afford to spend per session?
  • Where will therapy fit into your schedule?

Next, start making a list of therapists in your area. See the link for the American Psychological Association’s psychologist locator.

Concerned about the cost? See “7 Tips for Worrying Less” for their Guide to Affordable Therapy.

 

The Bottom Line
Understanding that worry is a normal part of being human is the first step in diminishing its effects.

It’s okay to feel nervous now and again, but when your concerns become excessive or begin affecting your daily life, it may be time to seek professional help.

 

We hope you enjoyed this blog and the HealthLine article entitled “7 Tips For Worrying Less”.  Do try some of these suggestions, and let us know how they work out for you.  Remember… a healthy brain in a calm body is the goal here.   If you have a calm body, your brain will be healthier and will work better.  And a better working brain is always our goal!

 

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

 

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How The Brain Changes With Age And What You Can Do About It

This blog is based on an article by Alexis Wnuk, published in BrainFacts.org, entitled “How the Brain Changes With Age”.

Our bodies change in noticeable ways as we age 
Our bodies change in noticeable ways as we age. Our hair grays, our skin wrinkles and loses its elasticity. Less obvious are the changes happening in our brains.

Just like muscles and joints, certain cells in our brains can stiffen up too, as evidenced in a recent study in rats. This is just one of many ways our brains change as we age – starting with declines in memory and cognitive abilities, all the way to microscopic changes to brain cells and chemistry.

Cognitive Changes
The normal aging process brings subtle changes in cognitive abilities. Committing new information to memory and recalling names and numbers now takes longer. Autobiographical memory of life events and accumulated knowledge of learned facts and information – both types of declarative memory – decline with age, while procedural memories like remembering how to ride a bike or tie a shoelace remain largely intact.

Working Memory
Working memory is the ability to hold a piece of information in mind, such as a phone number, password, or the location of a parked car — also declines with age. Some studies suggest a slow decline starts as early as age 30. Working memory depends on the rapid processing of new information rather than stored knowledge. Other aspects of this kind of fluid intelligence (such as processing speed and problem-solving), also decrease with age.

Certain aspects of attention (such as divided attention) can become more difficult as our brains age.
We might have a harder time focusing on what our friends are saying in a noisy restaurant.  Splitting our focus between two tasks – like holding a conversation while driving – also becomes more challenging with age.

But it’s not all downhill after age 30
In fact, certain cognitive abilities improve in middle age.
In the Seattle Longitudinal Study, which tracked the cognitive abilities of thousands of adults over the past 50 years,*people  performed better on tests of verbal abilities, spatial reasoning, math, and abstract reasoning in middle age than they did when they were young adults.

You can teach  an old dog new tricks
Contrary to the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, there is growing evidence that we can and do learn throughout our lives.   *Neuroscientists are learning that our brains remain relatively “plastic” as we age, meaning that they’re able to reroute neural connections to adapt to new challenges and tasks.

Structural Changes in the Brain’s Structure and Chemistry
These alterations in cognitive ability reflect changes in the brain’s structure and chemistry. As we enter midlife, our brains change in subtle but measurable ways. The overall volume of the brain begins to shrink when we’re in our 30s or 40s, and the rate of shrinkage increases around age 60.

But, the volume loss isn’t uniform throughout the brain — some areas shrink more, and faster, than other areas. The prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and hippocampus show the biggest losses, which  worsen with advancing age.  Our cerebral cortex, the wrinkled outer layer of the brain containing neuron cell bodies, also thins as we age.  Cortical thinning follows a pattern similar to volume loss and is especially pronounced in the frontal lobes and of the temporal lobes.

The “last in, first out” theory of brain aging
According to a new theory among brain scientists, the  areas of the brain that experience the most dramatic changes with age are also among the last to mature in adolescence. This has led scientists to propose a “last in, first out” theory of brain aging – the last parts of the brain to develop are the first to deteriorate.

Neuronal Changes
Changes at the level of individual neurons contribute to the shrinkage and cortical thinning of the aging brain. Neurons shrink and retract their dendrites, and the fatty myelin that wraps around axons deteriorates. The number of connections, or synapses, between brain cells also drops, which can affect learning and memory.

Strategies to boost neurogenesis, such as regular exercise, can improve cognitive function
The formation of new neurons — a process called neurogenesis — also declines with age. Although scientists once thought neurogenesis came to a halt after birth, we now know that two brain regions continue to add new neurons throughout life:  the olfactory bulbs and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.  Although the jury is still out on these findings, recent studies with mice have found that strategies to boost neurogenesis, such as regular exercise, can improve cognitive function.

Manipulating serotonin levels might help prevent and treat memory loss
As we age, our brains may also generate fewer chemical messengers
Several studies have reported that older brains synthesize less dopamine, and there are fewer receptors to bind the neurotransmitter. One study found 60- and 70-year-olds with mild cognitive impairment had less serotonin in their brains, and the researchers are wondering whether manipulating serotonin levels might help prevent and treat memory loss.   See also “7 Foods That Could Boost Your Serotonin:  The Serotonin Diet”.

Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle
Our brains undergo myriad changes during the aging process.   However, scientists are learning every day how adopting a Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle for Low Stress Living (verywellmind.com)  can delay or minimize the negative consequences of these changes.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog on “How the Brain Changes With Age” and that you’ll want to read up on it.  Please leave us a comment on the website if you enjoyed this blog!

 

= = = > Click here to read another article published  in Medical News Today:  What Happens to the Brain As We Age> = = =

 

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Sharpen Your Brain With These 125 Best Brain Teasers Of All Time

This is a review of the book entitled The 125 Best Brain Teasers of All Time:  A Mind-Blowing Challenge of Math, Logic, and Wordplay
Date:  April 6, 2021
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Author:  Marcel Danesi, PhD
Price:  $10.99

As stated on the Amazon product page:  “Put your noggin to the test with the most famous brain games of all time.  Puzzles and brainteasers can be found throughout history and around the world.  This book collects 125 of the most popular and challenging mind benders for hours of fun-filled entertainment that helps sharpen your logic, language, and problem-solving skills….”  “Get ready to sharpen your mind with the ultimate book of mind-blowing brain teasers.”

 

This book will provide hours of entertainment and mental challenge.

Did you know. . .
Since the dawn of civilization, we have been fascinated by conundrums, rebuses, riddles and enigmas of all kinds.  The oldest known cipher  is a Sumerian text written in cuneiform, a form of communication which dates back to 2500 years BCE.

 

The Riddle of the Sphinx
One of the oldest puzzles in existence is the Riddle of the Sphinx.

The Sphinx was a monster who stopped all those about to enter the city of Thebes and asked them a riddle.  Those who failed to answer the riddle were killed on the spot.   The hero Oedipus finally came up with the right answer,  and the Sphinx destroyed itself.

For the curious among you, the riddle of the Sphinx (No. 25) is included in this collection:

“What creature moves on four legs at dawn, two at noon, and three at twilight?   (Answer:  Humans, who crawl on all fours as babies (the dawn of life), then walk on two  legs as grown-us  (the noontime of life), and finally need a cane in old age  (the twilight of life) to get around.”

 

A few fascinating facts about puzzles and brain teasers (as pointed out by author Marcel Danesi):

  • There is no culture on earth without puzzles and game traditions.
  • Many puzzles are associated with myth and legend.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association in the  United States has endorsed Sudoku as a preventive therapy against the disease.
  • The number of possible sukoku puzzles that can be made with the first nine digits is calculated to be 6,70,903,752,021,072,936,960!   It would take a computer over 211 billion years to solve them all!
  • Cryptograms greatly appeal to our sense of mystery, as evidenced by their frequent use today in mystery  and  adventure  movies.
  • Perhaps more than any other puzzle, the riddle genre has appeared in several movies, notably  “Die Hard With a Vengeance” and “The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey”.

 

Lateral-thinking puzzles truly sharpen the brain.  A classic example:  “How can it be that someone can fall from the window of a 50-story building and still survive?  The answer:  “He or she fell from the ground-floor window”.

 

Chess is an important element in the movie “Blade Runner” (1982), suggesting that the game is a gauge of human creativity and intelligence.

 

The most famous use of chess in film is Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film “The Seventh Seal”.

 

What you’ll find in this book
Here of some examples of the brain-teasers that you’ll find in this book, grouped in levels of increasing difficulty:

 

Level 1:  SmartyPants
17:  Palindrome – Round and Round

The problem:  What seven-letter English word starting with r can be read forward and backward, and refers to something which makes things go round and round?

Answer:  Rotator

 

Level 2:  Prodigy
27:  Odd One One:  Shapes

Which of the words in this set does not conceptually belong?
triangle, cube, square, octagon, pentagon

Answer:  Cube is the odd one out because it is a three-dimensional figure; the others are all two-dimensional.

 

Level 3:  Brainiac
56:  Anagram – Space Traveler

If you put together the worlds “roast” and “tuna” and anagramatize them, you will get a word meaning “space traveler”.

Answer:  Astronaut

 

Level 4:  MasterMind
79:  Number Riddle:  A Warm-Up:

I’m a number between 20 and 30.  If you multiply me by 3 and divide the result by 9, you’ll get 11.  What number am I?

Answer:  33.33 multiplied by 3 = 99 divided by 9 = 11.

 

Level 5:   Genius
106:  What Day Is It:

Alma, Barb, Charlene, Dina, Emma, and Fanny are good friends, but they love to argue – literally over the time of the day!   Here, they are arguing over what day of the week it is, only confusing the issue further.

Alma:  Yesterday was Friday.
Barb:  Today is Saturday.
Charlene:  No, today is not Saturday.  Nor is it Monday or Wednesday.
Dina:  The day after tomorrow is Tuesday.
Emma:  Tomorrow is Wednesday.
Fanny:  Tomorrow is Friday.

Only one of their statements is true. All the others are false.  Can you determine which day of the week it is?

Answer:
Friday.   Barb and Charlene give contradictory statements, namely that today is Saturday (Barb), or that today is not Saturday (Charlene).  So one statement is true and the other is false.  With that deduction, we have located who gave the only true statement,either Barb or Charlene.  This means that the other statements are all false.   Fanny’s statement implies that today is Thursday, since she says that tomorrow is Friday.  That being false, we can eliminate Thursday.  Emma’s statement implies to today is Tuesday, since she says that tomorrow is Wednesday.  That being false, we can also eliminate Tuesday.  Dina’s statement implies that today is Sunday, since she says that the day after tomorrow (Monday)   is Tuesday .  So we can eliminate Sunday too.  Alma’s statement implies that today is Saturday (since she says that yesterday was Friday).  That being a lie, as well, we can also eliminate Saturday.   We can now see that Barb lied, claiming that today is Saturday, so Charlene told the truth.  She allows us to eliminate Monday and Wednesday from the list, as we can now see from her statement.  This leaves Friday as the only possibility.

 

The book contains 10 puzzle-solving tips to solving these puzzles and brain teasers
Here are four examples out of the 10 puzzle-solving tips included in this book:

Before attempting to solve any particular puzzle, ask yourself the following questions:  what does it ask me to do?  What linguistic, logical or mathematical feature is applicable? You have  to grasp the basis of the puzzle  before attempting to solve it.

If a puzzle seems particularly difficult or complicated, ask yourself:  Can the puzzle be reduced to, or compared to, a simplier version that  I have solved before?

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of trial and error.  If one approach works, end of story.  If it does not, examine it to find out why .  On that basis, try  out a new hunch.

If you do not get the correct solution to a puzzle, read the answer at the back of the book, which generally explains the reasoning behind the solution.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

You cannot go wrong doing puzzles and brain-teasers.  They will sharpen your brain without any doubt!   And these will force you to think “outside the box”.  All are goals that I strongly believe in!

Cons

I cannot think of any.  You can never be too smart!

 

Click here to order this book, directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Why Wealthy Affiliate Is The Best Way To Learn Affiliate Marketing

Please refer to my blog entitled “Working Online from Home Stimulates the Brain”
for an introduction to this blog.

If you are interested in working online from home as a way to stimulate the brain, you might be interested in the following program for making money online:  “Wealthy Affiliate”

The following is a review of the Wealthy Affiliate product, a platform designed for affiliate marketers of all levels.

–What is Wealthy Affiliate?
You might have heard of Wealthy Affiliate but have no idea what it is. Would you really like to know how it works and why it’s so popular?

If you’ve been searching for a way to make money online, you’ve probably seen their product reviews.

I’ve been a member of Wealthy Affiliate since 2020, so I can let you in on some secrets about how it works.  With over 2 million of members, Wealthy Affiliate is the No.1 online affiliate marketing training platform.   It’s way ahead of the competition, in my opinion.  The training, internal tools, resources and community are what set’s WA apart.  WA trains you to become a successful Affiliate Marketer.  And you can get started for FREE!

 

–Task Oriented Training
Your Brain Is Capable of Amazing Things
A proper education is all it takes to motivate you to do things you never thought  you were capable of.  As you take action on the tasks and work your way through the lessons at Wealthy Affiliate, you are going to realize your true potential.  You are capable of creating brilliant and beautiful businesses in the online space, if you are just shown how.  From the moment that you join WA, you are going to be walked through their state of the art, step-by-step training platform.

As the Wealthy Affiliate website states:  “The online business world changes rapidly as search engines change, as the techniques and strategies for building a business change, and as technology rapidly progresses. The education you will get at WA promises you a competitive advantage over your fellow webmasters and keeps you ahead of the curve in terms of what works today and what will work tomorrow.”

 

–Earn While You Learn.  It’s the New Normal.
A Live Education
(Online Entrepreneur Certification course)
As stated on the Wealthy Affiliate website:  “Absolutely everything about your learning experience is live and interactive.  You can engage and communicate directly within the lessons and get help with any questions that you may have.  Live Chat, Live Classes, Live Interaction, and Live Expert Help are all big components of your educational experience at Wealthy Affiliate.”

 

–Affiliate Marketing Training & Bootcamp
In addition to the Online Entrepreneur Certification course, Wealthy Affiliate offers the Affiliate Bootcamp for those choosing to build a website in the MMO niche.

 

The main purpose of the training is to get you an income producing website via search engine rankings. This means ranking website articles highly in Google, meaning your website traffic is free. It’s a long term sustainable model that will work for many years to come.

 

–WordPress Hosting:   SiteBuilder (the Most Powerful Website Platform in the World)
To begin at Wealthy Affiliate, you’re going to require a website. This is where you get real value for money, because website hosting is included as part of your membership.

 

Choose a Domain, choose a name,  Build a Website using the  ‘Build My Website’ button to have your website automatically built in WordPress.  You can have your website ready I n 5 minutes!  A website that once took weeks, if not months, to build, can now be built in the blink of the eye.  Wealthy Affiliate takes care of all the technical aspects of building a website.

 

–All other free tools available under SiteBuilder:

  • Site Manager – All your websites listed with usernames, passwords and other relevant website details.
  • Site Builder– As explained above.
  • Site Domains– Where you can purchase a new personal domain.
  • Site Content– A dedicated area for writing new content articles.  Included are:  free images via WA, and a counter showing how many words you’ve written. You can publish your articles directly to your website through here.
  • Site Comments– Comments on a website are extremely helpful for ranking.  This area allows you to ask for comments from other WA members, and allows you to make comments on their websites. Submitting comments will earn you credits, and you can use these credits by asking for comments on your website.
  • Site Support– An amazing support system for the hosting of your website.  You will get instant help if you have any major issues with how your website is performing.

 

–Website Security:
Website security is a big part of running a successful business.  WA has created a line of defense against some of the the most sophisticated attacks that can happen to your website.

WA monitors all websites 24 hours per day, offers full redundancy, daily snapshot backups.  If there is any suspicious activity, WA gets to the bottom of it right away.

 

–Your Website is Always Awake
Wealthy Affiliate double-hosts your site.  Unlike any other hosting platform in the world, Wealthy Affiliate  offers all clients  “double hosting”.  Your websites have full redundancy, meaning that if one of your websites were to go down, Wealthy Affiliate has a “mirror” of your website running at all times.    This layer of redundancy to uptime is unparalleled in the industry.

 

–Website Backups done every 24 hours
Wealthy Affiliate takes daily snapshots of  your website.  If you ever mess things up, Wealthy Affiliate can help get your website back and running for you.

 

–Wealthy Affiliate Success.  It’s Happening
What’s  your idea of success?  $10/day?  $100/day?   More?  Each of these are entirely possible with the education, the websites, and the community you can take full advantage of at Wealthy Affiliate.

Every single day there are new member success stories being posted.  There is no upper limit to the level of success  you can achieve.

 

–Jaaxy Keyword Tool
A keyword tool called Jaaxy is included in your WA platform.  Because WA teaches organic search engine ranking by using keywords in your articles, they provide this keyword tool as part of the premium membership.

Jaaxy provides keyword ideas, shows you the competition you’ll be up against for the keyword, as welk as the chances of it ranking in search engines and how many times the keyword is searched each month.

 

–Live Events
Every week, Jay, a prominent technical expert within the Wealthy Affiliate community, does a live training session. If you’re logged into your WA account, a notification will appear during the week to remind you of this live session. The title of the training session will give you an idea of what will be in store.

These live coaching sessions last approximately one hour, with 20-30 minutes of Q & A afterwards. The topics include website help, ranking, keywords, social media and various other topics of interest to the newer members with less experience.

 

 –WA Live Chat
Anytime you’re logged into your Wealthy Affiliate account, you can talk to other WA members and get their help and advice. Many WA members are extremely experienced and are willing to share their expert knowledge.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

Use your brain power to learn Affiliate Marketing through Wealthy Affiliate.  Your brain is capable of amazing things.  Why not combine this with learning how to be an Affiliate Marketer through Wealthy Affiliate?  I did that last year and now I’m earning money as an Affiliate Marketer while keeping my brain sharp and learning new things from Wealthy Affiliate.   Plus, the studying is keeping me busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Cons

I cannot think of any.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

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Struggling With Brain Fog? Here’s How to Clear Your Head

From an article entitled “Struggling with Brain Fog?  Here’s How to Clear your Head”  in Explore Real Simple.

A few lifestyle tweaks can help clear out mental clouds
When you were younger— you could easily turn a phrase, name that actress, that restaurant, or your fourth grade teacher.   Now that you’re older,  however, your brain may not be quite as nimble.   Add to that poor diet, an overload of mental input, stress and anxiety, and you may sometimes struggle to find the right words or remember the name of that guy who was in that show about that thing.   It’s called “brain fog” and it can be nerve-racking, creating a brain fog anxiety that can send you to Google to search for answers.

So what is brain fog exactly?
It’s when you really just don’t feel like yourself.   It’s actually your brain’s way of telling you that something isn’t optimal,” explains Mike Dow, PhD, PsyD, brain health expert and author of The Brain Fog Fix. “It can unfold differently for different people. It could be trouble bringing words to mind, a gray mood, low energy, or forgetfulness.

The good news is that it’s usually just temporary, and with the right lifestyle changes, you can get your brain back on track. We talked to experts to learn what you can do to clear away the brain fog.

Change up your diet
Believe it or not,  poor gut health is one of the leading brain fog causes. “There is a ton of emerging research suggesting that the sugar and processed foods, which feed the bad bacteria in our gut, lead to inflammation not only in the body, but in the brain,” explains Sarah Bridges, PhD, a Minnesota-based psychologist.   It’s why you may often feel sleepy after a sugary treat or carb-heavy meal.

While you may not want to skip your favorite goodies entirely, experts recommend incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and taking prebiotics and probiotics, can introduce healthy bacteria into the gut, which will help your body produce those brain-boosting neurotransmitters.   You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting enough omega-3s, either from clean seafood or supplements, which can also remedy brain fog.

Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting—limiting your eating “window” to 10 hours per day—may also improve brain function. “Intermittent fasting causes new brain cell growth, called neurogenesis.   By giving your body a break from digesting, you’re actually giving your brain a break as well.

 

Alleviate your stress
7 Brain-Boosting Beverages to Sip on Foggy Mornings (Besides Coffee)
These days, our brains are inundated with information from the news, social media, and the constant influx of texts and emails flooding our smartphones. The result is that Our brains are fatigued.   When you have too much of a cognitive load—meaning you’re doing too many things at once, or have too much on your mind—it taxes your mental reserves.  It’s too much for your brain.

 

What are “ultradian rhythms”?
According to experts, we have “ultradian rhythms” – cycles that play out during our waking hours. According to experts, research suggests that working in 90-minute intervals, and then taking a break to get water, take a short walk, or make a phone call, can help improve your brain power.

 

Meditation can also help clear your head
It is recommended that you meditate for 12 minutes every day.   And absolutely, try to put the phone down for a few hours a day to prevent information overload.

 

Improve your sleep habits
Here’s How to Manage Stress So You Feel in Control
Sure, a bad night’s sleep here and there is going to leave you sluggish the next day, but if your overall sleep patterns aren’t optimal, your brain won’t be at its best.   Poor sleep habits can hit us in two ways, increasing our stress levels and disrupting the brain’s opportunity to rest and recover,  according to the scientists.

Get a walk in
We know that a good workout gets the blood and oxygen flowing through the body, so it makes sense that exercise would also give the brain a boost.  According to the scientists, exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, helping it to perform at its peak. The good news is you don’t always have to hop on a spin bike to get moving.   Even a daily walk—an hour is best—can reset your brain.

 

Play some brain games
According to scientists, when it comes to the brain, the phrase “use it or lose it” is really  true.   So turn off the mind-numbing TV for an hour and instead, play some solitaire, do a crossword, or play a board  game (preferably one with a memory element).   Even learning something new—as long as it’s engaging and not stressful—can give your brain a much-needed tune-up.

 

= = = > RELATED BLOG:   5 Ways to Train Your Brain for Lifelong Mental Fitness > = = =

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog on “Struggling with Brain Fog” and that you’ll want to try the suggestions offered.  Please leave us a comment on the website if you enjoyed this blog!

 

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How Meditation Benefits The Brain

This is a write-up of a recent article in Mindworks entitled “How Meditation Changes the Brain”.

Meditation benefits the brain because it changes and nurtures the brain
Did you know that simply sitting and breathing mindfully can significantly change the brain? It’s true!

 

How Meditation Nurtures the Brain
We’ve all heard that meditation leads to greater mental clarity, lower levels of stress and reduced anxiety. But how does meditation benefit the brain? Studies have shown that mindfulness practice brings about positive physiological changes that make the connection between meditation and the brain even more profound.

 

In recent decades, meditation has become more conventional. People are spending time working with their minds, following their breath and learning to appreciate the power of the present moment.  Now scientists are discovering evidence that it changes the brain for the better.

 

Research in the field of psychology has confirmed what every meditator knows: meditation is good for body and soul.

 

Science is now able to reinforce the claims by show how meditation physically impacts the extraordinarily complex organ between our two ears. Recent scientific evidence confirms that meditation nurtures the parts of the brain that contribute to well-being.

 

How does meditation affect the brain?

In an interview in the Washington Post, Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar explains how four regions of meditators’ brains associated with healthy brain function become more substantial, while one of the areas associated with undesirable behavior actually shrinks. Let’s have a look at these areas.

 

Meditation affects the Left Hippocampus
This is the area in the brain that helps us learn.   Cognitive ability and memory are found here, as are emotional regulators associated with self-awareness and empathy. Research confirms that as the cortical thickness of the hippocampus grows in volume through meditation, gray-matter density increases and all of these important functions are nurtured.

Meditation affects the Posterior Cingulate
The posterior cingulate is connected with wandering thoughts and self-relevance – that is, the degree of subjectivity and referral to oneself when processing information. It seems that the larger and stronger the posterior cingulate, the less the mind wanders and the more realistic the sense of self can be.

Two of the vitally important effects that meditation has on the mind are the ability to remain attuned to the present moment…and the ability to observe sensations and emotions that arise in the mindstream without necessarily identifying with them. Meditation seems to increase the density of the posterior cingulate.

This is a very busy and important part of the brain where many of the neurotransmitters that help regulate brain activity are produced. Located in the middle of the brain stem, it is involved in a great number of essential functions, including sleep, facial expressions, processing sensory input, and basic physical functioning. Meditation strengthens the pons.

Meditation affects the Temporo Parietal Junction (TPJ)
We like to think that we’re good people – empathetic, humane and just. Empathy and compassion are associated with the temporoparietal junction of the brain… We might say that the posterior cingulate focuses on “me” while the TPJ shines a light on everything else. The TPJ becomes more active when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, for example. A stronger TPJ—combined with other benefits of meditation like lower stress and present moment awareness—can help us be the good people we aspire to become.

Meditation affects the Amygdala
There is another area of the brain that is changed through meditation: the Amygdala—that pesky corner of the brain that produces feelings of anxiety, fear and general stress. The smaller it is, the less apt it is to dictate our emotional responses, especially those of the “fight-or-flight” genre. No wonder we feel so great when a daily meditation regimen is incorporated into our lives.

If you’re interested in learning more about meditation’s effects on the brain, check out our companion article What Happens to your Mind, Brain and Body During Meditation.  Also, Altered Traits: What Science Reveals About How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson will provide you with insights and plenty of food for thought.

But meditation won’t change your brain for the better unless you actually sit down and practice! What are you waiting for, Einstein?

= = = > We’re so sure you’ll benefit we now offer you Mindworks Journey Level 1: Meditation Fundamentals course for Free. Click this link to learn more. < = = =

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the benefits of Meditation on the Brain.  Please leave us a comment on the website if you enjoyed this blog!

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

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399 Games to Keep Your Brain Young

This is a review of the book entitled “399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed To Keep Your Brain Young”.
Date:  March 16, 2021
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $11.26

Cross-train your brain.

All it takes is ten to fifteen minutes a day of playing the right games and having fun.  These games train your long-term memory, working memory, executive functioning, attention to detail, multitasking and processing speed.

In a Foreword by Daniel Amen, MD, he has this to say:  “It’s never too late to improve your brain.  Whether you’re forty-five or ninety-five, you can slow, and in many cases, reverse the aging process if you start making some brain-smart choices now.”

 

“While getting older is not optional, having a brain that feels older is.  You can reverse the aging process if you start making some brain-smart choices now.   If you’re thinking about improving your brain’s health, you need three things:  (1)  Brain envy:  You have to want to have a better brain!  (2)Then you need to avoid anything that hurts your brain (such as alcohol, drugs, brain injuries, obesity, hypertension diabetes, sleep apnea, depression and excessive stress.  (3) And finally, you need to engage in regular brain healthy habits (healthy food, quality sleep, physical exercise,  good mental workouts).”

“Scientific research has shown that the biggest mental declines occur after we complete our formal schooling and after retirement.  Why is that?  Because we are no longer exercising our brains and pushing ourselves to continue to learn and grow….   Adding these 399 Games on a daily basis to your healthy brain habits will pay you back many times over with increased feelings of calm happiness, and focus   You will improve your memory, reasoning skills, and executive functioning (the capacity fo control and apply your mental skills).”

“New research even suggests that regular brain engagement and training in the form of games can enhance an strengthen your brain.  So make time in your schedule… for a fun brain workout!”

 

Neurogenesis
Thinking in new and novel ways triggers “neurogenesis” (in which proteins, enxymes and stem cells all combine to grow new brain cells that rejuvenate your brain and help it to work better and more efficiently.)

Elect optimum level of difficulty
The idea of exercise, both physical and mental, is to select an optimum level of difficulty and gradually increasing it.  Long-term memory

 

Critical mental functions for healthy brain aging
Long-term memory
Working memory
Executive functioning
Attention to Detail
Multitasking
Processing speed

 

Brain improvement
Playing an assortment of different games each  day is the best strategy for diversified brain improvement

 

Following is a sampling of the games in this book:

WARM-UP:
In this game, all the answers in this word definition game contain either the word “play” or the word “time”:

Question:  “where kids go to swing and seesaw”  –
Answer:  playground

Question:  “Punch this, if you want to get paid”  –
Answer:  time-clock

Question:  “Additional time worked…and the pay earned for additional time worked” – Answer:  overtime.

Question:  “A script written for the movies” –
Answer:  play.

Question:  “Charts with train or bus schedules” –
Answer:  time table.

 

FEDERAL HOLIDAYS:
How many of the ten official U.S. federal holidays can you name in thirty seconds?

 

RUN THE ALPHABET – ANIMALS:
Can you come up with at least one animal for every letter of the alphabet?  For an extra brain boost, see how many you can name in two minutes

 

FAMOUS MOVIE LINES:
Who said:  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
Who said;  “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
Who said:  “There’s no place like home!”

 

FINISH THE JINGLE
“The incredible, edible ____________”
“Like a good neighbor,__________________________is here”
“See the U.S.A. in a ________________________
“Winston tastes good, _________________________”
“Double your pleasure, _________________________”

 

 WHO THE WHAT?
In this game we supply the who, and you must supply the what.  For example:  “Felix” the “Cat”.
“Bozo the_______________________”
“Attila the ____________________”
“Dennis the ____________________”
“Kermit the __________________”
“Frosty the __________________”
“Popeye the _________________”
“Billy the___________________”
“Blackbeard the __________________”
“Alexander the _________________”

 

MUM’s THE WORD
All the answers in this word definition game begin and end with the letter “M”
A delicious fungus – but watch out for a poisonous one
[Answer:  “mushroom”]

The Guggenheim or the Louvres
Answer:  “museum”

One thousand years
Answer:  “millennium”

Screening test for breast cancer
Answer:  “mammogram”

A brief note or written message
Answer:  “memorandum”

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  If you want to keep up with current research on how to keep your brain sharp with these “399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed To Keep Your Brain Young”, this is the book for you!

 

Cons:  None that I can see.   You can never be too smart!

 

Click here to order this book, directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

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Why Music Is Good For Your Brain

This blog is based on a recent article entitled “New AARP Report Shows Power of Music on the Brain“, published by AARP’s Brain Health & Wellness.

Sing, dance, move to the beat: It’s all good for mood, memory and more

New AARP Report Shows Power of Music on the Brain

How Music Can Keep Your Brain Healthy
“Nothing activates the brain like music”
Says Jonathan Burdette, a professor of neuroradiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a contributor to the GCBH report.

And all that brain activation results in some serious health benefits. Researchers have found that music can improve sleep and sharpen memory, as well as reduce stress and stimulate thinking skills — all of which are good for maintaining brain health as we age.

“Music makes everything we know about improving your brain easier”
According to Sarah Lenz Lock, senior vice president for policy and brain health at AARP and executive director of the GCBH. “Music makes the medicine go down.”

Music boosts mood, inspires movement
“When music hits your ears, the sound waves are translated into nerve impulses that travel to several areas of the brain, including those that release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure”, explains Psyche Loui, an assistant professor in the department of music at Northeastern University and director of the Music, Imaging and Neural Dynamics (MIND) Laboratory.

“In other words, when you hear music, it makes you feel better,” says Jonathan Burdette, who emphasizes that one type of music isn’t superior to others when it comes to its mood-boosting benefits. It all boils down to personal preference, be it Mozart or Madonna.

Music makes everything we know about improving your brain easier. It makes the medicine go down”
According to Sarah Lenz Lock, executive director of the Global Council on Brain Health

A 2020 AARP survey of more than 3,100 adults found that a higher percentage of people who engage in music self-rate aspects of their quality of life and happiness as excellent or very good. They also report lower average levels of anxiety and depression.

Music Facilitates Social Interaction
“What’s more, music facilitates social interactions — another boon for the brain. When adults sing or perform together, they experience less loneliness and a better quality of life”, compared with adults who don’t create music with others, says Julene Johnson, a professor at the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  And both strong social ties and improved mental well-being are associated with reduced risks for cognitive decline and improved brain health, previous reports from the GCBH have found.

Music promotes movement – another key component to brain health
As stated by AARP-founded Global Council on Brain Health:

“Along with improving mood, music promotes movement — another key component to brain health. Emerging research shows that one of the best ways to protect the health of your brain as you age is to embrace healthy lifestyle habits, including regular physical activity.”

 

Music has healing powers, too
Experts are harnessing the power of music to help adults recover from brain injuries and diseases and to ease the symptoms they cause.

One example can be seen in stroke rehabilitation. Many adults who suffer a stroke lose their ability to speak. Oftentimes, however, they can still sing, and music therapists can help stroke survivors regain their speech through singing. Similarly, many adults with Parkinson’s disease struggle to walk, but music and dance can strengthen movement and improve gait.  Music can thus canhelp the brain restore impaired movement.

For older adults with dementia, caregivers and therapists use music to trigger memories. A song from someone’s childhood, for example, can help the patient recall people and places from that time in her life.

Music can improve brain health now
The best news from the report is that it takes very little time, money and effort to reap the brain benefits that music provides. Recommendations from the report include singing and dancing more, listening to new and familiar tunes, and engaging in music with others.

Of course, playing an instrument is good for the brain, too, as it requires the use of many cognitive skills, such as attention and memory. “But not everybody can do that,” Wake Forest’s Burdette observes. “And I don’t want people to feel bad if they’re not learning how to play the violin at age 75.” Rather, he says, it’s about making a little room in your life for music, more broadly. Even just listening to music has its benefits, AARP’s Lock says.

Looking to the future
Studies exploring music’s impact on health and well-being have come a long way in recent years. Last September the National Institutes of Health announced a $20 million investment to support research into music’s benefits for a wide range of medical disorders. Even so, experts say more needs to be done to fully understand the protective and healing benefits music can have on brain health.

 

 = = = > click here to read the report from the Global Council on Brain Health, entitled “Music on Our Minds:  The Rich Potential of Music to Promote Brain Health and Mental Well Being” 
(aarp.org) > = = =

 

We hope you have enjoyed reading our selected articles about “Why Music Is Good For Your Brain”, and that these  will give you food for thought and help you reach your own conclusions.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

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Who Is Smarter – Men Or Women?

According to an article entitled “Who Is Smarter – Men or Women”  in Intelligence For Your Life:

Who’s smarter, men or women? A comprehensive study was done by University College London which compared the IQs of men and women all over the world. Here are some of the results, according to Newsweek magazine.

  • First, MEN score higher on IQ tests when it comes to spatial awareness skills. In other words, guys are better at reading maps – no matter what their wives say.
  • On the other hand, WOMEN are better with language skills – meaning they can communicate ideas better. When it comes to overall IQ and SAT scores, women around the globe come out slightly ahead of men.

Guess how smart you are
When researchers asked men and women to guess how smart they are, the results were interesting.

  • For instance, MEN tend to believe they’re the smartest person in the room. Maybe not Albert Einstein-level brainiacs, but men think they’re smarter than women – and overestimate their IQ.
  • However, WOMEN tend to underestimate their intelligence. In fact, when asked to guess how smart they are, women – on average – presume their IQ is five points LESS than it really is. The experts say there is no smarter gender.
  • Here’s something both men and women agree on
    When asked to identify a smart person, in history or in their own family, people generally pick a MAN!
  • So what does this all mean? Adrian Furnham, the psychologist who led this study, believes society sends misleading messages to children right from birth. We may not give girls enough praise for their abilities, while boys get praised for skills they don’t always have.

– 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 –

Another article sheds some interesting light on the topic, indicating that perhaps men are better at some tasks while women are better at other tasks.

See what this article “Girls Are Much Quicker than Boys at Timed Tasks”  in Live Science has to say on this topic:

 

Girls Are Much Quicker than Boys at Timed Tasks
A new study of 8,000 people age 2 to 90 found females handle timed tasks more quickly than males.

The difference is most pronounced among pre-teens and teenagers.

“If you look at the ability of someone to perform well in a timed situation, females have a big advantage,” said Stephen Camarata of Vanderbilt University.

The study did not reveal significant overall intelligence difference by gender, however.

 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 –

We want to present another point of view in discussing this topic.  Please see article entitled “Who is smarter – Men or Women?”  In PracticeAptitudeTests.

 

Are men or women really smarter?  New research yields surprising findings
Who fares better when it comes to numbers?   And are females really better at expressing their emotions?

Armed with data from people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and education levels, these scientists decided to settle the conundrum once and for all and crown the smarter sex with the results from their aptitude tests.

 

The voice of reason
Popular opinion may state otherwise, but the scientists’ data shows that women are actually more logical than men, at least before they get older.  In fact, women scored an average of 63% in their logical reasoning tests, compared with an average of 59% of men.  Interestingly, these scores were almost completely reversed after the age of 55, with men scoring 64% and women coming in behind at 59%.  In logical reasoning tests, wmen actually scored a higher average of 63%, suggesting the idea that men are more logical is a myth.

You win some; you lose some
When it comes to sums, it seems it’s men who have the answers.  The results from their numerical reasoning tests showed you’re more likely to do well if you’re male (they scored an average of 53%), just beating the women, who came in at 52%.   Both sexes showed a significant decline in mathematical ability after the age of 55.

It’s true that men tend to perform better at math, but only when they’re younger.   Sudoku, anyone?

Not surprisingly, women reign supreme as the sex with the gift of gab – scoring 66% in verbal reasoning tests, while men lagged behind at 63%.  But the good news is:  unlike most of the other skills that were tested, women’s verbal reasoning gets better with age!  In other words, women are not just better at communicating, but the gap grows with age!

 

A learning curve
Unsurprisingly, education had a resoundingly positive impact.  The higher the level of education, the higher the average score – irrespective of gender.

 

Crowning a cognitive champion
After extensive testing, scientists finally discovered that by a margin of just 2%, women are intellectually superior!  Females tend to reach ther intellectual peaks earlier (between the ages of 18 and 24) while males mature with age and hit their stride at age 45.

 

We hope you have enjoyed reading our selected articles about “Who is Smarter?  Men Or Women”, and that these  will give you food for thought and help you reach your own conclusions.  Here I might add that, based on my own experience, girls might be smarter than boys as children – I recall how often I beat my male classmates as a child for the “First in the class spot”!

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

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Improve Your Memory and Keep Your Mind Sharp

This blog is an introduction to the unusual Dakim Brain Fitness exercises.   I discovered these exercises while doing a Google search on “brain games” a few years ago and have been doing them ever since.  These exercises, unlike any others out there, provide the following:

A boost of your day-to-day brain power
As you boost your day-to-day brain power, you’ll also be developing what brain researchers call a cognitive reserve (a reserve of neural connections), so that brain power — essential to performing at your best — will be there in the future when you need it.

Fun and engaging games for memory prowess
Dakim’s brain fitness approach is designed to stimulate six essential cognitive areas: Dakim believes that mental exercise for those with memory loss or those who aim to prevent memory loss needs to be fun and engaging to maximize effectiveness. Dakim offers seniors a free trail of their brain fitness software.

What are those essential cognitive areas?
See “What Are Cognitive Abilities”
Cognitive Abilities are Brain Functions.

What are the goals of Dakim BrainFitness exercises?
Real, Achievable Goals. Dakim BrainFitness has been clinically proven to significantly improve cognitive performance in the two most important areas — memory (immediate and delayed) and language abilities — as users strengthen attention, focus, and concentration!

What types of exercises will I find on Dakim?
Memory exercise
You are shown six pictures and asked to remember them.
Then you are told:  “The pictures you just saw have shifted positions, and one has been replaced.
Click the new picture.”   Then you’re shown the original grouping again and asked to click the picture that was replaced a moment ago and has now returned.
Recalling the details of a breaking news story
You read a breaking news story and are asked afterwards to recall many details from memory.
This exercise is repeated several times during a session, thus exercising your aptitude for remembering story details after a change of subject.
Vocabulary game
You are shown a word, then asked to choose another  word that is most similar in meaning.
Find the dissimilar picture
You are shown four pictures, and told:  “These pictures may look alike, but one is slightly different from the others.  Look carefully, and click the one that’s different.”   One picture is slightly different from the others.   You must look very carefully because that difference is very difficult to detect.
Select a coded word
You are shown coded words and their codes.  You are asked to decode the coded words and enter them. Choose a word based on its codes, from three selections.
Object pictured fewer times than the others
You are shown a series of objects, pictured  in a cluster as multiples.  You must select  one of the objects in the cluster that is pictured  FEWER times than the others.
Which one of the boxes below was made from this pattern?
You are shown a pattern and asked to match it with one of the shown boxes.  The question is “Which one of the boxes below was made from this pattern?”
Minute Math
You must make fast math calculations under a “Math Tutor”.
Famous People and Little-Known Facts
You are shown a series of pictures of famous  people and little-known facts about them.  After watching the whole series, you are asked:   “Which famous person is associated with this little-known fact?”
Objects and Their Silhouettes
You are shown objects and their silhouettes, then are asked to identify which silhouettes belong to which objects.
Puzzle pieces
You are asked to identify the missing pieces in a puzzle, from three given choices.
Two missing letters
View a word with extra letters in it.  Reveal a four-letter word by popping the two ballons that don’t belong.  Just click the balloons you want to get rid of.  In this case:  the balloons to be clicked are “D” and “Y”, leaving  “Moon”.

The benefits of Dakim BrainFitness
When you use clinically-proven Dakim BrainFitness, the real benefits of increased cognitive performance can be yours:

Remember facts, lists, names and faces more easily
Organize your thoughts more rapidly
Hold more ideas in your head at one time
Find the right word when you need it
Perform complex calculations in your head
Remember more details of what you read
Quickly evaluate information and make decisions in less time

How to get the most out of life
Getting the most out of life depends on having a sharp mind and keeping it that way. And clinically-proven Dakim BrainFitness is the web-based brain training program created especially for Boomers, to help them do just that!

Designed for senior living, DakimBrainFitness Professional has been clinically proven to significantly improve memory (immediate and delayed) and language abilities, the two aspects of cognitive function that have the greatest impact on quality of life, are the most noticeable to individuals, and are of the greatest concern to people over age 50 –  memory (immediate and delayed) and language abilities.

These gains were achieved as users strengthened attention, focus and concentration.

And more than two decades of medical research has concluded that long-term participation in rigorous cognitive stimulation, where multiple domains of the brain are exercised routinely – creating what brain researchers call a cognitive reserve (a reserve of neural connections) – is associated with as much as a 63% reduced risk for dementia!

 

We hope you have enjoyed reading about Dakim BrainFitness.  Please give them a try and let us know how you like their brain exercises.  An individual subscription to Dakim BrainFitness is $14.95/month.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

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New Discoveries To Help You Slow Down The Aging Process

This is a review of the new book “Chasing Life:  New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today” by Sanjay Gupta
Dated:  Feb. 18, 2021
Best place to buy:  Amazon
Price:  $12.67 (paperback)

What is “functional aging”?
For centuries, adventurers and scientists have believed that not only could we delay death but that “practical immortalitywas within our reach and, today, many well-respected researchers would be inclined to agree. In a book that is more about functional aging (extending your healthy, active life) than anti-aging, Dr. Sanjay Gupta blends together some of the most up-to-date scientific breakthroughs from around the world with cutting-edge research and advice on achieving practical immortality in this lifetime.

Gupta’s unusual advice is often counterintuitive: longevity is not about eating well, but about eating less; nutritional supplements are a waste of your money; eating chocolate and drinking coffee can make you healthier. Chasing Life tells the stories behind the breakthroughs while also revealing the practical steps readers can take to help extend youth and life far longer than ever thought possible.  In fact, Gupta’s book is a treatise on how to keep yourself in good health, thus avoiding disease.

 

First chapter in this book:  Beginning the Chase –  modern-day quest for practical immortality
In scientific circles, scientists are quickly coming to the realization that the only limit on life span might simply be an individual’s decision to stop living.  These scientists are demonstrating not only the  slowing of aging but the actual reversing of it.  Gupta describes a fascinating interview he had with a very interesting scientist:  Dr. Alexander Tepliashin who offers his clients  revitalizing “Youth” injections (stem-cell treatments).   Dr. Tepliashin considers his treatments extremely safe, proving it by injecting himself and achieving  a more youthful appearance while simultaneously lowering his cholesterol.  Other benefits of stem-cell treatments have included:  darker hair, more youthful skin, and more energy.

 

The reason these stem-cell treatments are so successful is that the stem-cells themselves are extracted from the patient himself/herself.  Tepliashin says that his  stem-cell treatments make patients live longer, reversing the effects of stress, bad food, radiation from X-rays, and viruses.  In short, these treatments help patients chase life.

 

Questions that we should ask, and these are explored in this book…
What keeps us from growing old even more quickly than we do?

We must realize that most of us would not choose to live longer for its own sake:  We want to live longer, but we want a sound mind and at least a minimally functional  body when  we do.

Currently, most of us reach our physical  peak between the ages of 20 and 35 and begin a steady decline after that.  By the age of 70, we have lost 40% of our maximum breathing capacity, muscle and bone mass have declined, body fat has increased, and sight and hearing have gotten worse.   Truth is, however, that, when it comes to extending life, remarkable progress has been made in the last century.

By the end of the twentieth century, life expectancy has risen to 76.9% and it continues to inch upward.  The challenge for science now is to help us survive and thrive in our golden years.  Tehcnology has given us a new faith in what is possible.  Now, not only do we expect to make it into our seventies and beyond, but we want to remain physically and mentally active for years to come after that.  There are many things that we can do right now to improve the quality and length of our lives.’’

The goal of this book is to help you extend your active life. This book will explore where longevity research is heading and what you can do now – based on the latest research.

 

This book explores the following topics:
What are the right types of activity that will be most beneficial in the long run?
What is the best way to reduce your stress level?
Physical fitness can have profound effects on your cognitive abilities later in life.
Your mental outlook can be a profound effect on your long-term physical health.
Taking lots of supplements vs. eating a low-calorie diet  (triggering a cellular reaction) leading to a cascade of events ultimately leading to a longer life.
How much exercise and what  types of exercises you do can make a difference.
Eating foods like dark chocolate and turmeric , drinking red wine, green tea and even coffee can help you live longer and  healthier, with a dramatically sharper mind.

 

Nothing can stop aging but we can take steps to increase our chances of  living longer, healthier lives.  For this book, Sanjay Gupta has looked at the burgeoning field of antiaging medicine, cutting through the conflicting information out there and tell you what you actually do right now and what treatments may be available in the future to help you age well.  His hope is to get you to the point where you are living longer, free of disease and of sound mind.

 

Here’s a look at the remaining chapters in this book: 

Living to a hundred –
Main points:  Eat a healthy diet, don’t overeat (Extra Calories Are Killing Us),  eat more fruits and vegetables.  Listen to your gut – if it fells distended, you’ve overeaten.  Don’t go for seconds!

We are living in a constant feast!   We need exercise just to get rid of all the extra calories!

 

The Supplement Boon –
Main points:  Herbs, herbal teas and supplements should be part  of the formula for maintaining good health.  Fight free radicals with antioxidants.  Eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Look for a promising supplement containing green tea, turmeric, milk thistle, ashwaganda and bacopa, which, according to biochemist Joe  McCord,  stimulate the body to produce SOD, a substance that scavenges 99 percent of all free radicals in the body.  Always check with your medical doctor before taking supplements, however, as supplements can sometimes  interact with prescription drugs and cause adverse reactions.

Sanjay Gupta believes in the scientific method:  if a well-run trial shows that a treatment does not work any better than a placebo, we should first try to replicate the results and then think twice about continuing that course of treatment. It might be preferable to “eat your supplements” , substituting a healthy variety of foods, eaten in moderation, to the taking of handfuls of popular supplements.

See what Sanjay Gupta has to say about “unlikely elixirs” that are good for your health:  dark chocolate, coffee, red wine and green tea.  And remember that “moderation is key”.

 

Run for Your Life
A study published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology proves that  much of the decline in exercise capacity as we get older is not from an aging cardiovascular system but largely as a result of plain and simple inactivity.  As we grow older, we tend to lose lung capacity, flexibility and strength.  Exercise more, age less!  Walk for health, lift weights  (hire a trainer at a gym to show you how the equipment works), get motivated (sign up for an exercise boot camp), all are good suggestions.  Assuming you have a clean bill of health, you should exercise vigorously enough so talking is difficult, but not so hard that you can’t talk at all

 

Memories R Us
Protecting the mind.  Keeping our minds sharp and preserving our memories is much more basic to who we are and to living well in our senior years.  What can we do to keep our brains sharp?  Do what the memory athletes do:  Memory athletes use techniques converting names, numbers, cards, or whatever else they want to remember into moving images – experiences – that they place in their minds around their virtual homes or some other well-known place.

There might be an Alzheimer’s vaccine in our future.  In the meantime, it is up to us to do what we can to live in a way that lessens our chances of ever getting Alzheimer’s in the first place.

 

Taming the Beast
Since Richard Nixon declared “War on Cancer” in 1971,  medical cancer researchers has found ingenious ways to “tame “ what cancer patients call “the beast”:   they have made major advances in the treatment of a wide range of cancers.  The total cancer mortality has been falling  at the rate of 1 percent per year.  Targeted molecular therapies are now used instead of chemo-therapy for certain types of cancer, producing better outcomes.

There are things we can do to minimize our risk of developing cancer:

Avoiding risks (such as drinking and smoking, obesity, inactivity, a diet with too few fruits and vegetables, unsafe sex, urban air pollution, indoor smoke from household fuels, and contaminated injections in health care settings).  Add to these risks eating meats containing nitrates, consuming artificial sweeteners, and exposure  from  cell phones and teflon.

 

A Growing Problem
Could I tell just by looking at you whether you are at risk for heart diseases, stroke, and diabetis?  What I would be checking is your waist size.  How big you are around the middle now is a harbinger of problems down the road.  Abdominal fat is a killer.  But, a brisk walk around the block a few times a week could stop the waistline from further expanding.

Take your past test results with you to your doctor’s office.   Be armed with knowledge about your blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, high cholesterol, atheriosclerosis.  You don’t want a heart attack to be the first thing the doctor diagnoses.  Remember that exercise is the first step toward lowering your risk of heart disease.

 

Sunny-Side Up
People who live into their nineties share one characteristic:  An upbeat disposition.  These people seem to be able to cope with hardships better than most, to adapt to the curveballs life throws, to maintain an interest in learning new things, and to exude a positive attitude.  Can optimism help you live longer?   A recent study found that longevity is increased dramatically by positive self-perceptions of aging.  The link between optimism and good health  appears to be related to stress.

For reasons great and small, it is  important to reduce the stress in our lives (through exercise, meditation or prayer).    To avoid stress, try the relaxation response:  think of stressful situations as challenges, not as threats.  Consider whether you have done everything possible to change the outcome.

  

The Future is Coming
So the obvious goal in the quest for immortality is to reach very old age with vitality.  We’ve discussed what we can do now to  help fight aging and live long, healthier lives.

A gene called SIR2 has generated a lot of interest among researchers.  Researchers believe that this gene, part of a family of genes called “sirtuins” ,may help organisms survive adversity by regulating a survival mechanism.  Understanding SIR2 could someday lead to knowledge that will allow us to live longer, disease-free lives.  It was discovered that  Reservatrol activates SIR2.  Researchers are studying the oldest Americans, looking for clues to their longevity on the 23 pairs of protein strands that form human chromosomes.  Several other studies are described.

 

Chasing Life
Chasing life is as much about keeping your mind sharp and functional as it is your body.  Getting older doesn’t mean you have to forget your past or your present.  You can always learn – the more you learn the bigger reserve you’re going to have.  As Sanjay Gupta says:  “Taking a hard look at all the simple changes you can make in your life today makes me realize that we are already on the road to a practical immortality.  Immortality is on the horizon, and it is within our reach for the first time.”

 

Happy reading!

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  If you want to keep up with current research on immortality, and how to slow down the aging process, this is the book for you!   It is full of interesting discoveries.  And the book was written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a recognized authority on the human body and on brain health in particular!

 

Cons:  None that I can see.

 

Click here to order the book “Chasing Life:  New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today”, directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Neurobics Exercises To Keep Your Brain Alive

This is a review of the book entitled “Keep Your Brain Alive:  83 Neurobic Exercises to Help Prevent Memory Loss & Increase Mental Fitness”.
Date:  February 7, 2021
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $8.95 paperback

What is Neurobics
Neurobics is a unique brain exercise program that can be done anytime, anywhere. Based on the latest neuroscience, these unusual exercises stimulate brain nutrients to help new brain cells grow. The key to keeping your brain strong and healthy is to break routines and use all five senses in unexpected ways. Offbeat, fun, and easy, these 83 exercises will result in a mind fit to meet any challenge—whether remembering a name, learning a new app, or staying creative in your work.

 

Neurobics – The New Science of Brain Exercises
Most people panic when they experience small memory lapses.   However, research has discovered that, although annoying, mild forgetfulness is not a disease  like Alzheimer’s and action can be taken to combat it.   Brain research points to new approaches that can be incorporated into everyday activities to develop and maintain brain connections.

 

Myths about the aging brain
There are numerous myths about the aging brain that neuroscientists are disproving daily.  With the help of new technologies, the traditional view of the way the brain ages is rapidly being revised.  Evidence clearly shows that the brain does not have to go into a steep decline as we age.   In fact, recent research shows that new brain cells are being generated in adult humans.

 

All about dendrites
Also, contrary to popular belief, the mental decline most people experience is not due to the steady death of nerve cells.  Instead, it usually results from the thinning out of the number and complexity of  dendrites, the branches on nerve cells that directly receive and process information from other nerve cells that form the basis of memory.  Dendrites receive information across connections called synapses.  If connections aren’t regularly switched on, the dendrites can atrophy.  Recent research has also shown that old neurons can grow new dendrites  to compensate for losses.

 

New Theory of Brain Exercise
Discoveries such as these are the basis of a new theory of brain exercise:   Neurobics can help you take charge of your overall mental fitness. 
Neurobics aims to help you maintain a continuing level of mental fitness, strength and flexibility as you age.

 

What’s Different about Neurobics Exercises?
Neurobics is very different from other types of brain exercise usually involving logic puzzles, memory exercises and solitary practice sessions that resemble tests.  Instead, Neurobics exercises use the five senses in novel ways to enhance the brain’s natural drive to form associations between different types of information.  Associations are the building blocks of memory.

 

These are the informative chapters to be found in this book:

Neurobics:  The New Science of Brain Exercise

  1. How The Brain Works
  2. How Neurobics  Works
  3. Starting and Ending the Day
  4. Commuting
  5. At Work
  6. At the Market
  7. At Mealtimes
  8. At Leisure

 

Examples of neurobics exercises found in this book:

What Makes an Exercise Neurobic and Gives Your Brain a Workout

Using your non-dominant hand
Decide one day to write change the hand you normally write with.

Involving one or more of your senses in a novel context
Get dressed for work with your eyes closed.

Taking a completely new route to work
Break a routine activity in a novel, non-trivial way, giving your brain a good workout.

Navigating your home by touch
Instead of using vision, get into your home with your eyes closed.  Make your way through your home  by touch, with your fingers, in the dark.  These non-routine actions activate and reactivate seldom-used nerve connections involving  the sense of touch.

The Scent of Music
Listening to a piece of music:  During your drive home, use aromas to form association between smells and sounds.  This  associates auditory stimulation – a piece of music – with a specific odor.

The Midas Touch
Place a cup filled with different coins in a cup holder.  Try to determine different denominations by feel alone, using only your sense of touch.  Because we normally discriminate between objects  by looking at them, our tactile discrimination abilities are flabby, like underused muscles.

Say What?
Wear earplugs when joining the family for breakfast, and experience the world without sound.  Blocking a major sensory route by blocking sound forces you to use other cues to accomplish simple things like knowing when the toast is done.

Leave the Driving to Others
On a bus or a train, close your eyes and use other cues, such as the speed of the train or bus, or turns in the road, the sound of brakes, or people getting on or off, to visualize where you are or what it looks like  outside.

 

= = > Click here for further reading  about neurobics exercises for your brain > = = =

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  Although I haven’t actually done all the exercises in this book, I’ve tried many.  Anyway, you can’t go wrong doing any of these unusual exercises!  They will definitely give keep your brain in good shape, as you will definitely form new associations, the key to having a good memory!

 

Cons:  None that I can see.

 

If you want to purchase  this “Brain Training Mastery” book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.                                                             

 

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How To Super-Charge Your Brain

This is a review of a recent article published in Dakota Student and entitled “How to Super-Charge Your Brain”.

Limitless
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars held their 2021 Leadership Summit on January 27th. The final speaker of the day, and one of the most famous, was Jim Kwik.   Author of the intellectual development book, “Limitless”, Kwik is known as one of the world’s “super brains”.

 

Supercharge Your Brain
For the basis of his seminar, Kwik explained some of his ways to essentially supercharge your brain. He claims that these practices encourage faster reading as well as the ability to be powerfully present while learning.

 

Eat a Good Brain Diet
Kwik’s first rule to supercharging your brain is having a “good brain diet”. To give an example, if an Olympic athlete ate McDonald’s before they competed, they obviously would execute themselves poorer than if they ate a diet that supported peak physical performance.

 

Beneficial Foods for Brain Function
“People understand the physical effects of food on their bodies but forget that the brain needs the same dietary care”, Kwik says.   “Some of the most beneficial foods for brain function are avocados, blueberries, broccoli, eggs, olive oil, and salmon. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are recommended, and even dark chocolate! Kwik’s secondary tip is to add in brain supplements that one isn’t able to get from their diet alone.”

 

Be Well-Rounded in Self-Care
As Kwik says:  “The mind, body, and spirit cannot function independently and one of the most important things to improve your brain is to be well rounded in self-care…  Along with taking care of your brain, exercise is a vital step to improving memory and comprehension.  Optimal brain function happens when you are moving your body.”

 

Killing the ANTS
Kwik explains that one of his most successful practices growing up was “killing ANTS”.Automatic negative thoughts”, he says, “have the ability to limit us and confine us to negative labels.”  By allowing those automatic negative thoughts to enter his head, Kwik trained his brain to believe them. He started banishing his limiting beliefs and is now one of the few individuals that can utilize his brain to its fullest capacity. 

 

Surround Yourself with Winners
Another thing that Kwik believes in:  “How you surround yourself both socially and environmentally has a large impact on the functionality of your brain. Socially, the brain needs a positive peer group to induce positive thoughts and limitless beliefs.”

 

The Secret to Will Smith’s Success
Kwik is a very popular mentor among celebrities. While working on set with Will Smith once, he asked Smith why he thought he was able to be so successful during his life. Smith responded that he never fails to do two things during his day: walking and reading. “To supercharge your brain, you must be committed to learning every day”, says Kwik.   “Reading is the most beneficial way to exercise your brain and train yourself to memorize and comprehend successfully.”

 

Jim Kwik’s Podcast
Kwik has a podcast, has written a novel, and offers one on one training options for anyone looking to supercharge their brain.  His podcast can be found by clicking here:

 

I hope you enjoyed this article on How To Super-Charge Your Brain.  Please try some of these good ideas and let us know how they work out for you.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

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New Brain Exercises To Improve Memory, Cognition and Creativity

This is a review of a recent article in Medical News Today, entitled “22 brain exercises to improve memory, cognition and creativity”.

 

The brain is the most complex organ of the body, requiring brain training exercises for optimal health. The brain regulates multiple bodily functions, interprets incoming sensory information, and processes our emotions. It is also the seat of memory, intelligence, and creativity. You can indulge in the best brain exercises for memory improvement and mental flexibility.

Brain exercises can be as simple as actively engaging the brain in everyday tasks.   Others are targeted workouts for the brain, specifically designed to enhance memory, cognition or creativity.

Exercising the brain may help improve brain function and boost connectivity between the different areas. This may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

 

Meditation
Meditation generally involves focusing attention in a calm, controlled way. Meditating may have multiple benefits for both the brain and the body.

According to a recent research study, meditation may benefit the brain by slowing brain aging and increasing the brain’s ability to process information.

Click here for the different types of meditation  you can do:   Mindfulness , focused, spiritual, movement, visualization, and chanting meditation.

 

Visualizing More
Visualization involves forming a mental image to represent information. The mental image may be in the form of pictures or animated scenes.

A recent study demonstrated that visualization helps people organize information and make appropriate decisions.

  

Playing Games
Playing card games or board games can be a fun way to socialize or pass the time. These activities may also be beneficial for the brain. A 2017 study found a link between playing games and a decreased risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

 

Playing Memory Card Games
Memory card games test a person’s short-term memory and ability to remember patterns. They are a simple and fun way to engage the brain and activate areas related to pattern recognition and recall.

 

Practicing Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles are a popular activity that may stimulate the brain.

A 2011 study notes that crossword puzzles may delay the onset of memory decline in people with preclinical dementia.

 

Playing chess
Recent research has demonstrated that chess and other cognitive leisure activities may lead to improvements in  memory, executive functioning  (the ability to monitor and adapt behavior in order to meet set goals), and information processing speed.

 

Completing jigsaw puzzles
Completing a jigsaw puzzle can be a good way to pass the time and may also benefit the brain. A 2018 study found that puzzles activate many cognitive functions, including:  perception, mental rotation, working memory, reasoning.

The study concluded that doing jigsaw puzzles regularly and throughout life may protect against the effects of brain aging.

 

Playing Sudoku
Number puzzles, such as sudoku, can be a fun way to challenge the brain. They may also improve cognitive function in some people.

A 2019 study of adults aged between 50 and 93 years found that those who practiced number puzzles more frequently tended to have better cognitive function.

 

Playing Checkers
A 2015 study found that there is a connection between regular participation in checkers or other cognitively stimulating games and larger brain volume and improved markers of cognitive health in people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Playing video games
A 2015 review notes that some types of video games — such as action, puzzle, and strategy games — may lead to improvements in attention, problem solving, and cognitive flexibility.

 

Socializing
Enjoying company of friends may be a mentally engaging leisure activity and may help preserve cognitive function. A 2019 study found that people with more frequent social contact were less likely to experience cognitive decline and dementia.

 

Learning new skills
Learning new skills engages the brain in different ways and may help improve brain function.

 

Increasing personal vocabulary
Increasing one’s vocabulary range is a great way to broaden knowledge while exercising the brain.

A simple way to increase vocabulary is to read a book or watch a TV program and note down any words that are unfamiliar. A person can then use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word and think up ways to use the word in a sentence.

 

Learning a new language
A 2019 study notes that bilingualism increases and strengthens connectivity between different areas of the brain. The researchers propose that this enhanced connectivity may play a role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

 

Listening to music
A 2018 study published in Brain Sciences found that listening to music a person enjoys engages and connects different parts of the brain, leading to improvements in cognitive function and overall well-being.

 

Learning a musical instrument
Learning an instrument exercises parts of the brain that are responsible for coordination.

According to a 2014 study, playing an instrument may benefit cognitive development in a young brain and help protect against cognitive impairment in an aging brain.

 

Taking up engaging hobbies
Taking up a new hobby can be mentally stimulating and exercise the brain in new ways.

Hobbies that require coordination or dexterity will activate a person’s motor skills.  Such hobbies may include knitting, embroidery, drawing, painting and dancing.

 

Exercising regularly
Regular physical exercise is beneficial for both the brain and the body. Authors of a 2019 review note that exercise improves the following aspects of brain health:  memory, cognition and motor coordination.

 

Dancing
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exercise has beneficial effects on the following aspects of cognitive health:  memory, planning and organization.

Dance is a form of exercise that may also engage areas of the brain involved in rhythm and balance.

 

Engaging in sports
Certain sports are both physically and mentally demanding.   Some require a range of cognitive skills, such as:  sustained attention, planning, multitasking and the ability to adapt rapidly to changing situations.

 

Practicing tai chi
Tai chi is a form of physical exercise that involves gentle body movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation.

A recent study found that the tai chi practitioners had enhanced connectivity between different regions of their brain. They proposed that this may improve cognition and decrease the rate of memory loss.

 

Sleeping
While not necessarily an active exercise, sleep is crucial for both the brain and the body.

A 2015 review notes that sleep has been proven to boost memory recall, reduce mental fatigue and regulate metabolism.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article describing 22 brain exercises to improve memory, cognition and creativity.  If you did, you might want to try some of these exercises and let us know the results you obtained.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

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Keep Sharp – Build A Better Brain At Any Age

This is a review of the book “Keep Sharp – Build a Better Brain at Any Age” by Sanjay Gupta (MD), just off the presses!

Date:  January 21, 2021
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Cost:  $16.88 hardcover

Keep your brain young, healthy, and sharp
with this science-driven guide to protecting your mind from decline, authored by neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta.

Do you want to find ways to keep your mind sharp and effortlessly productive?
Throughout our life, we look for ways to keep our mind sharp and effortlessly productive. Now, globetrotting neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta offers insights from top scientists all over the world, whose cutting-edge research can help you heighten and protect brain function and maintain cognitive health at any age.

What This Book Contains
Keep Sharp debunks common myths about aging and cognitive decline, explores whether there’s a “best” diet or exercise regimen for the brain.

Is it healthier to play video games that test memory and processing speed or engage in more social interaction?
The answer is in this book.

Super-brained people
What we can learn from “super-brained” people who are in their eighties and nineties with no signs of slowing down—and whether there are truly any benefits to drugs, supplements, and vitamins.

About Brain Disease
Dr. Gupta also addresses brain disease, particularly Alzheimer’s, answers all your questions about the signs and symptoms, and shows how to ward against it and stay healthy while caring for a partner in cognitive decline.

Twelve-week program of strategies to strength your brain every day

Dr. Gupta provides you with a personalized twelve-week program featuring practical strategies to strengthen your brain every day.

The only brain owner’s manual you will ever need
Keep Sharp is the only owner’s manual you’ll need to enjoy a healthy brain for life!

 

You do all sorts of things to keep your body healthy and fit, but how often do you do the same for your brain?
You probably do all sorts of things to keep your body healthy and fit, but how often do you do the same for your brain?  Until recently, even the scientific community thought the brain developed only up to a certain age – but that thinking is wrong.  An increasing volume of evidence shows you can enjoy a quick-thinking brain throughout your entire life.

 

Best practices for a healthy brain
In “Keep Sharp”, Dr. Gupta draws on cutting-edge research from his travels around the world, engaging with the scientists discovering the secrets to cognitive longevity.  He wades through the gimmicks and myths about brain health and reveals evidence-based best practices.  Whether it’s the ideal diet, physical activity, supplements, or mind-set, Dr. Gupta presents what works and, more important, explains why.  He even provides an innovative twelve-week program that anyone can use to build a better brain starting today.  And he would know:  he’s put all these practical strategies to the test himself!

 

Make your brain resilient to disease
The years before memory problems begin afford a remarkable opportunity to make your brain resilient to disease – even if you have genetic risk factors.  For those already experiencing cognitive decline or caring for a loved one with dementia, Dr. Gupta offers guidance and insights for a more productive and positive tomorrow.

 

What you can expect from this book:
Here is the book’s Table of Contents (as you can see, it is chock-full of extremely interesting topics):

Introduction:  Nothing Brainy about It

Self-Assessment:  Are You At Risk for Brain Decline?

 

Part 1:

THE BRAIN:  MEET YOUR INNER BLACK BOX

1:  What Makes You You
2:  Cognitive Decline – Redefined
3:  12 Destructive Myths and the 5 Pillars That Will Build You

 

Part 2:

THE BRAIN TRUST:  HOW NOT TO LOSE YOUR MIND

4.   The Miracle of Movement
5.   The Power of Purpose, Learning, and Discovery
6.   The Need for Sleep and Relaxation
7.    Food for Thought
8:    Connection for Protection
9:    Putting It All Together:  12 Weeks to Sharper

 

Part 3:

THE DIAGNOSIS:  WHAT TO DO, HOW TO THRIVE

10.   Diagnosing and Treating an Ailing Brain
11.   Navigating the Path Forward Financially and Emotionally, with a Special Note to Caregivers

Conclusion:  The Bright Future

 

A special note on the chapter “What Makes You You
This chapter contains a very interesting section entitled “THE ESSENCE OF MEMORY, THINKING, AND HIGH MENTAL FUNCTIONING”.   Memory is the most commonly recognized cognitive function.  In addition to memory, cognition includes attention, writing, reading, problem-solving and performing everyday tasks like navigating your way while driving, figuring out the tip at a restaurant, appreciating the benefits or harmful effects of the food you eat, or admiring the works of different artists.  Memory is the cornerstone of all learning.  What we store in our memory helps us process new situations.

 

Here are some unusual recommendations that you’ll see in this book:


How to Keep a Sharp Mind
The 5 pillars of brain health: 

Move (Aerobic and nonaerobic exercise)

Discover (picking up a new hobby, learning a new piece of software, learning a foreign language)

Relax (stress-reducing activities, restful sleep)

Nourish  (there is a definite link between diet and brain health)

Connect  (connect with others; having a diverse social network improves the brain’s plasticity)

 

The power of purpose, learning, and discovery
Mark Twain said:  “The two most important days of your life:  the day you are born; and the day you figure out why”.

Purpose:  do some meaningful work past retirement age.  Have a purpose in life!  (one recent study showed that, for each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent).

Staying engaged in a job, especially one that is satisfying, tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged.  See my blog entitled “Working Online from Home Stimulates the Brain”.

Building “brain resiliency” or “cognitive reserve” by staying as engaged in life as possible through socialization and participation in stimulating activities.

Learning:  standard classroom learning (with other students) is better for the brain than online programs.

Discovery
and Cognitively Stimulating Activities:
Activities such as reasoning and problem-solving are truly cognitively stimulating (examples are:  learning a new foreign language, learning to play a musical instrument, learning to write computer code, writing a novel, thus acquiring new knowledge and new aptitudes).

 

Happy reading!

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  Definitely the only “Brain Owner’s Manual” that you will ever need.  You will discover many things about your brain that you never knew.  And the book was written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a recognized authority on the human body and on brain health in particular!

 

Cons:  None that I can see.

 

Click here to order the book “Keep Sharp – Build a Better Brain at Any Age”, directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Are Memory Problems Hereditary?

This is a review of a recent article by Michelle Braun, Ph.D., ABPP, a Yale- and Harvard-trained board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and brain health expert, in Psychology Today  entitled “Are Memory Problems Hereditary?  Optimize Your Memory, Regardless of Your Genetics”.

Optimize your memory, regardless of your genetics
Many people with a family history of memory problems wonder whether they will also experience memory problems (beyond those associated with normal aging). Although there are multiple considerations in determining the hereditary risk of memory problems, two questions provide some guidance:

What type of memory problems does your family member have? 
Their memory problems might be caused by a sudden medical event (such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or infection)  or to potential reversible factors (such as depression, sleep disorders, vitamin deficiencies,or thyroid issues, factors that are generally not hereditary.  However, memory problems related to Alzheimer’s disease, or memory problems without a clear cause and with concerning symptoms (such as forgetting well-known information, difficulty performing well-known tasks, and progressive worsening) may be more hereditary.

 

Optimize your memory, regardless of your genetics
Is your family member a first- second- or third- degree relative?
A 2019 study showed that people with one first-degree relative (a parent, sibling, or child) with Alzheimer’s had nearly twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Having two first-degree relatives was linked to a nearly 4 times greater risk, and having four first-degree relatives was linked to a 15 times greater risk.

Conclusions of the Study
There is no direct genetic cause for 99 percent of cases of Alzheimer’s. However, the Apolipoprotein (APOE) gene on chromosome 19 has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The APOE gene assists with cholesterol transport and helps clear beta-amyloid protein from the brain. (Beta-amyloid protein is naturally occurring in the brains of all individuals, but has been linked to Alzheimer’s when it clumps together abnormally.)

The APOE gene
The APOE gene has two alleles, or genetic sequences: one inherited from each parent. One of the alleles—“e4″ or “epsilon 4”—is linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, and is present in about 20% of the population. Having one copy of the APOE e4 allele increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s two to five times, and having two copies of the allele (one from each parent, which is present in about 2% of the population) increases the risk 9 to 12 times.

 

= = => click here to read an article by the Mayo Clinic about the APOE gene > = = =

 

How important are genetics (the APOE gene) in the development of Alzheimer’s?
In spite of everything, about 50 percent of individuals with one copy of APOE e4 do not go on to develop Alzheimer’s.  Conversely, the absence of genetic risk factors or a family history of memory problems isn’t a guarantee of protection against Alzheimer’s. About 60 percent of people with Alzheimer’s do not have a genetic risk and about 75% do not have a family history of the disease.

Alzheimer Association’s position on genetic testing
Alzheimer Association does not support genetic testing to determine the risk for the disease.  The fact that Alzheimer’s is linked to several non-genetic factors is one of many reasons for this decision.  A person genuinely concerned about their dementia risk, or the risk of a loved one, based on family history, should consider making lifestyle changes regardless of genetic status. Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits.”

In conclusion, optimize your memory, regardless of your genetics

You can minimize your risk of Alzheimer’s regardless of your heredity
A recent groundbreaking randomized controlled trial—the FINGER study (the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability)—has added to a growing body of research showing that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, regardless of heredity or family history. The FINGER study showed that a combination of exercise, a brain-healthy diet, cognitive training, and vascular risk management (such as improving blood pressure and cholesterol) resulted in a 30% reduction in cognitive decline after just two years. Those benefits continued for two more years after the study, and are still being tracked. Even more exciting, FINGER showed that people with the APOE e4 gene had the same level of reduced cognitive decline as those who did not have a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s.

 

A proactively healthy lifestyle holds the greatest promise in reducing risk of developing Alzheimer’s
Given that the cellular changes related to Alzheimer’s can develop 30 years or more before symptoms begin, it has become increasingly clear that we are unlikely to successfully treat it with a medication that is administered decades after the disease has taken hold. Years of research shows that a proactively healthy lifestyle holds the greatest promise in reducing risk of the disease. There is strong evidence that individuals with Alzheimer’s who had healthy habits may have delayed the expression of their symptoms, sometimes by several years.

Five factors maximize memory
The five factors with the greatest ability to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s include cardiovascular exercise, a brain healthy dietcognitive and social engagementlowering stress, and enhancing sleep.

 

A Game-changer
The knowledge that lifestyle factors are equally as powerful for individuals with a family history of memory problems and/or a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s is a game changer. This information provides hope and guidance in the context of myths that overemphasize the impact of heredity on memory.

 

Build a healthy brain:  engage in a brain-healthy lifestyle
As 2021 begins, let’s refresh our motivation to engage in a brain-healthy lifestyle, empowered by the knowledge that it is never too early and never too late to build a healthy brain, regardless of our heredity.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article on the interesting topic of Memory Problems – Are They Hereditary?   If you did, you might want to try some of the suggestions offered for building a healthy brain by engaging in a brain-healthy lifestyle.   And please leave us a comment on the results you obtained.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

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What Does It Take to Become a Super Ager?

This is a review of a recent article written by Rosalyn Kunin in PrimeWomen entitled “Are you Becoming a Super-Ager?”

Defeating physical decline
Too many of us have dreaded aging and advancing years because of what we thought was inevitable physical decline. Our bodies would give out. We would become slower, stiffer and fatter.  How wrong these old chestnuts are proving out to be!

We now know, and many of us are demonstrating it every day, that we can stay speedy, supple and slender. Exercise, Pilates and yoga, along with a little attention to what we eat, can keep our bodies in prime shape for decades.

 

What About Keeping Our Minds In-Shape?
The idea of losing our mental capacity is scary. Won’t our brains start to fail us as we age?   Well, maybe not after all.   There are two relatively recent and very positive research findings about brains in older adults. First, we no longer believe that once we reach adulthood the brain cannot grow and develop new connections. Science has dispelled this myth.

= = = >Click here to read:  “WHAT HAPPENS IF OUR BRAIN BETRAYS US?”> = = = 

Our brains are like our muscles. If we use them, they can grow and develop throughout our lives. This brain development is called neuroplasticity. It is developed through activities and exercises. Not only do such activities enable us to keep our minds and memories sharp. They are also effective in helping to alleviate memory loss or other mental challenges that may have already been experienced.

Disease is a Factor in Mental Decline
The second positive research finding about our brains is that cognitive decline is not something that happens over time. Rather, it is highly correlated with the presence of disease.   When older and even very old people are free from disease, not only their bodies but also their minds continue to function like those of much younger individuals.

 

Super-Agers
Those who do continue to have minds and bodies that function like young people’s are called super-agers. Definitions differ, but the term usually refers to people in their 90’s or close who are not only in excellent physical shape (and we won’t say ‘for their age’) but also have the mental capacity and the brains, as revealed by MRI’s, of much younger people.

= =  = > Click here to read:   “IS THERE A MAGIC POTION FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN?”> = = = 

 

Studying Super-Agers to Live Longer, Healthier Lives
Since the best way to figure out how we can live long and well is to study those special people who have already done that, super-agers are a much-studied group. Some researchers have sought out communities of long-lived people, often called blue zones, and they have written books describing what they have found.

What Does It Take to Become a Super-Ager?

Although scientists need more work and more time before they can give us definite answers on how to live well as we age, we know by the presence of super-agers that living long and well is possible. There are steps we can take right now to enjoy many years with good physical and mental health.

·         Stay Physically Active
To maintain mental health, we do need to maintain physical health. If you are not already following an exercise plan then consult with your doctor to find one that works best for you. Then stick with it! By continuing and slowly increasing the amount of exercise you do your body and brain will benefit!

= = = >Click here to read “Fitness Articles on PrimeWomen”< = = = 

 

·         Practice Brain Exercises
Exercises for your brain, such as learning a musical instrument, a language or even a new sport can move you along the path to becoming a super ager. You can also try other conventional brain exercises. if you like words, try daily crossword puzzles. If you’re a numbers person then daily games of sudoku might be more your speed.

= = = >Click here to read “Brain Health: The Things You Can Do To Make It Stronger” > = = = 

 

         Find Your Community

Maintaining old friendships and establishing new ones is an important part of healthy aging. If you’re learning new skills or perfecting established ones, try and find a group of like-minded individuals. Or check out online groups, like the Prime Women Facebook group, to find other women who are interested in similar things or going through experiences like yours.

= = = >Click here to read “How To Find Friends in the Digital Era”> = = = 

With a little bit of work and activity, you can have a healthy body and brain well into your prime years. Get started with some simple brain exercises and some physical activity, and keep up with it and you may well be on your way to becoming a super-ager.

= = = > Click here to read “5 HEALTHY HABITS FOR GOOD BRAIN FUNCTION”> = = =

= = = > Click here to read “TOP 5 FOODS THAT CAUSE BRAIN FOG”> = = =

 

I hope you enjoyed this article on the interesting topic of Super-Agers.    If you did, you might want to try some of the suggestions offered.   And please leave us a comment on the results you obtained.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

 

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Brain Training Mastery Strategies You Can Do At Any Time

This is a review of “Brain Training Mastery: Advanced Learning Strategies to Improve and Expand Memory Concentration and Be More Focalized”
Date:  January 7, 2021
Best Place to Buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $13.99  paperback

Do you struggle with tasks that were once easy for you?

Ever wondered what happened to all that information that used to inhabit your mind?

Believe or not, you do not actually lose that information, you simply lose the ability to access it. It is still stored in there somewhere, and if you can figure out how to remind yourself to access it again, you can reclaim that knowledge and those skills.

BRAIN TRAINING MASTERY is here to help you access all that knowledge and skills.

What I like is that these brain strategies  can be done at any time, once you know them.  You don’t have to follow in a book.

The book contains ADVANCED LEARNING STRATEGIES designed to improve and expand your memory and concentration, and help you become more focalized.

 

What’s in Brain Training Mastery?

The book is broken down into 6 Chapters describing the nature of:

Chapter 1:  The Brain

Chapter 2:  Concentration

Chapter 3:  Association

Chapter 4:  Connections

Chapter 5:  Photographic Memory

Chapter 7:  The Body and Remembering
In this chapter are several concepts worth noting:

The Body and Remembering:  Some people happen to find that they learn best  when they use their bodies as clues.  Learning becomes so much easier then.

The Senses and Memory:  If you find that playing music or chewing gum help you remember things better , go ahead  – it has been proven that people can remember things better  if you can create the same sort of sensory input.  Your senses work well to help you remember things.

Using the Body and Memory:  Pairing the information with some sort of movement or sensation can help you remember.

Clenching Fists to Concentrate and Remember:   Some people find that clenching fists for brief periods of time can actually increase brain activity.

Moving Eyes from Side to Side To Improve Learning.

 

The book contains ADVANCED LEARNING STRATEGIES designed to improve and expand your memory and concentration, and help you become more focalized.    Here are examples of practical exercises to train the brain on HOW TO:

  • Remember names and faces
    If you know that this name and face is important, remind yourself of the consequences if you fail to remember it.  Is this the name of your new boss or the person who  interviewed you?  Is it the name of someone who will be relevant to you later on?
  • Remember numbers and data
  • Remember directions
  • Associate an image with left and right
  • Repeat the details back
  • Associate the details with a story
  • Create landmarks and associations
  • Remember shopping lists
  • Write your list in a silly font
  • Use a Memory Palace
  • Create nonsense acronyms
  • If, at the end of the day, what you need  is memorable, what is more memorable than something that sounds ridiculous?
  • Using creativity
  • Repeating things back to yourself, but using different words
  • Let your imagination run free
  • Calculation
  • Replacing subtraction with addition
  • Multiply in parts instead of as a whole
  • Multiplying by 4 or 8 just requires you to double numbers
  • Speed reading
  • The pointer method
  • The track and pace method
  • The scanning method
  • Brain food
  • Physical Exercises for the brain

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  Although I haven’t actually done all the exercises in this course, I’ve done many and, as I said earlier, you can do them at anytime, even while waiting in traffic – you don’t have to follow in a book, a definite advantage!   Anyway, you can’t go wrong doing these!  They will definitely give keep your brain in good shape!

 

Cons:  None that I can see.

 

If you want to purchase  this “Brain Training Mastery” book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.                                                             

 

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How To Sharpen Your Mind During Downtime

This is a review of a recent article in mindbodygreenhealth entitled “3 Neurologist-Approved Tips To Sharpen Your Mind During Downtime”.

How to Relax and Sharpen Your Mind Simultaneously
In this podcast, the board-certified neurologist and fellowship-trained M.S. specialist Mitzi Joi Williams, M.D., on the mindbodygreen podcast, discusses ways to relax and sharpen your mind simultaneously.  A win-win scenario.

Downtime is downright essential for overall well-being

See, burnout is real, and is even amplified in a work-from-home setting, so prioritizing rest is actually crucial for your productivity in the long run. Taking time off when you feel you need it is imperative, and you should use that time for whatever feels good to you at that moment. It is called self-care.

However, if you’re looking for creative ways to fill your downtime (you might be feeling antsy or nervous) take these tips from Dr. Williams:

 

Unplug

The first tip to sharpen your mind is not to cram it with information but to know when to let it rest. “One of my biggest tips is to know when to unplug,” says Williams. “Sometimes we get so flooded with information that it can be extremely stressful.” As you may know, chronic stress has been shown to impair brain function over time, so overstimulating your mind with waves and waves of information can actually backfire.

Rather, take this time to relax your mind. “Possibly meditate, spend some quality time with whoever’s in your household, and just kind of unplug,” Williams notes. That way, when you do return to regular programming, you’ll be ready—hungry, even—for more information to come your way.

 

Foster social connections

“I also think finding creative ways to connect with your community is extremely important,” Williams adds. Like many other experts, she wholeheartedly believes in the power of social connections for physical health. For brain health in particular, research has shown that people with large social networks have a lower risk of cognitive decline as they age.

Stay connected

“Make sure that you stay connected.  This is especially important for folks who don’t have people in their house with them.” Whether that be virtual hangouts, Zoom happy hours or celebrations, or even through small acts of kindness, find some way to create high-quality connections with others.

 

Pick up a new (or old) hobby

Like, for instance, brain games: “Find good ways to use your time,” says Williams, “especially since you might not be able to do some of the activities you once loved pre-COVID. It can be so easy to pass the time by watching season after season of a TV series, but Williams suggests taking advantage of your days by finding a new hobby—no matter how inviting curling up on the couch may seem.

Do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do

“Take the opportunity to do some of the things that you’ve always said you wanted to do, but didn’t have time because you were on the move so much,” she says. Research has even found that participating in many different leisure activities builds brain resilience. That’s why Williams, herself, dove into puzzles, books, and dabbled into some new music—old hobbies that found new life during her increased downtime.

 

The takeaway

Downtime is essential, and you should use any time off to do what feels right for you. But, if you’re feeling a bit stir-crazy and searching for activities to fill the time, why not make said activities stellar for brain health? According to Williams, some of the most relaxing ventures can actually sharpen your mind.

 

Hope you have enjoyed this writeup.   Hopefully this article will inspire you to try some of the suggested activities to sharpen your mind during downtime.  Give it a try and let us know how creative you have become!  Leave us a comment.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

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Brain Foods You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

This is a writeup of a recent article in Nutritious Life entitled “5 brain food eats to always have in your kitchen”.

You will notice what NUTRITIOUS LIFE considers important by the headings on their website, which you might enjoy perusing:
Eat Empowered
Sleep Deep
Drink Up
Nurture Yourself
Live Consciously
Sweat Often
Love More
Stress Less

 

Here are the topics that I want to cover today:
Eat empowered.  Develop healthy eating habits. 

Are you eating brain food?
Eating brain food is a super smart move.   Did you know that there are certain foods that will actually improve your brain health?

Are you just not as sharp as you’d like to be?   Are words failing to find their way into your mouth?  Do you struggle with minor lapses in memory that drive you batty?

Maybe you need to feed your brain, like you feed the rest of your body, with a little extra love and care. Put these brain foods on your fork, in your hand, and in your mug, and you may even remember the name of the block that your best friend lived on when you were 7.   Or even just where you left your keys 5 minutes ago.

 

Here Are 5 Brain Foods You Need To Always Have in Your Kitchen

Blueberries
Did you know that blueberries can help delay memory loss?  Research studies have shown that blueberries improve focus and increase memory recall.   Eat them fresh, make a tea, add them to quinoa.  You can even use them dried or frozen in your yogurt, oatmeal or smoothie.

Tomatoes
Did you know that the same lycopene that is good for prostate health is also fabulous for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s?   Eat tomatoes in any form, but know that lycopene is most concentrated in tomato based sauces and paste.   Try chopping them up with feta.  Or, for a more concentrated punch, try a zesty tomato soup.

Pumpkin seeds
Did you know that pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, which plays an important role in cognition and memory?   These beauties are perfect on top of a salad, sprinkled into yogurt, simply toasted, or mixed into your favorite trail mix.

Fatty fish
Salmon, trout, herring and sardines.   Did you know that these fish are high in omega-3s DHA and EPA, which are important in brain health, joint functioning and overall wellbeing?   Try them baked or broiled, in a wrap, or even for breakfast.

Coffee
Did you know that the caffeine in coffee (or tea) is linked to brain boosting effect?  Coffee is loaded with antioxidants.   Enjoy it in moderation (1 to 2 cups per day) to help you focus on important tasks.   Sprinkle on cinnamon,   add some pumpkin pie spice or a shot of vanilla for added flavor.

Hope you have enjoyed this writeup.   Hopefully this brain boosting bit of information will inspire you to fuel your noggin. Give it a try and let us know how many fewer times you misplaced your sunglasses this week!  Leave us a comment.

 

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How To Keep Your Mind Sharp As You Age

This a review of an article recently published in SouthFloridaReporter entitled “6 Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp As You Age“.

Are you keeping your mind sharp?
As knowledge about the aging process, as well as medical research and technology, continues to advance, so do the options for managing the many ways aging impacts your life. While biologically everyone ages differently, you can control some things by committing to healthy lifestyle choices that can keep your mind sharp for years to come.

 

Are you staying in motion?
A study published in “Neurology” found that formerly sedentary people who started walking three times a week actually improved executive function.  Executive function includes the myriad processes required for people to plan, focus attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks.  Predicted brain age was lowered by nine years in just six months. In fact, exercises such as hiking were discovered to have an increased impact on brain health.

 

Are you enhancing brain performance?
Emerging medical advancements show that it may be possible to influence the aging process. The medical journal “Aging” published a world-first study in which researchers significantly enhanced cognitive performance of older adults by using a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) program. Some of the  main areas of improvement were those that typically declined with age, including memory, attention, information processing speed, stamina and       energy.

 

Are you improving your diet?
Diet is often seen as a pathway to weight loss but, as you get older, it’s important to understand the ways that your diet holds the keys to your health and physiology, as well as impacts brain function and the ability to concentrate. For example, fatty fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 acids, which are linked to lower risk of dementia, stroke and slower mental decline, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Berries, apples and tea can help lower dementia risk, as found in a study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

 

Are you developing good sleep habits?
A healthy amount of sleep can go a long way toward maintaining good cognitive health. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night to adequately rest their brains.  Here are some steps you can take to develop good sleep habits:   (1)  going to bed and getting up around the same time each day,  and (2) avoiding caffeine or food too close to bedtime.

 

Are you reducing and managing stress?
Few things cause aging as intensely or negatively as stress. Stress can lead to a variety of cognitive issues and manifest itself in your physical appearance, as well as in chronic conditions such as heart disease, depression and other psychological disorders. To help reduce and manage stress, consider practicing yoga or meditation, spending time enjoying nature, decluttering your home and getting adequate sleep.

 

Are you feeding your brain?
Like any muscle in the body, the brain needs stimulation and regular exercise to avoid atrophy and decline. Brain games and activities such as listening to music, reading, or arts and crafts can help maintain brain fitness. Blogging can also help engage your inner storyteller and use the brain to do something outside of its usual routine, something that involves both passive and active thinking.  There’s plenty of “brain food” available to devour. By reading and experiencing new things, as well as keeping your mind active with puzzles and games, you can slow age-related cognitive decline.

 

Learn more about enhancing your cognitive and physical performance, and feeling your best at any age, at Aviv-Clinics.com.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this writeup.  If you can use any of these suggestions, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

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30 ways to increase your mental capacity

Want to increase your mental capacity?  Do things outside of your comfort zone

This is a writeup of a recent article in Life Optimizer, entitled “30 Ways to Increase Your Mental Capacity”.

If you want to grow in life, increasing your mental capacity is a must. By increasing your mental capacity, you will be able to handle more things and assume larger responsibilities.

 

Increasing your physical capability
To increase your physical capability, you train yourself  to lift heavier and heavier weights.   You should be able to lift heavier weights effortlessly while those with less capability will tire themselves out or even not be able to lift it at all.

 

Are you training your mental muscles?
The way to increase your mental capacity by training your mental muscles is similar to increasing your physical capability:
So, how should you train your mental muscles to increase your mental capacity?  Do that by doing things which are just outside your comfort zone.

 

This will introduce some inconvenience in your life, but only in a bearable way. As a result, your mental muscles will grow stronger and your mental capacity will increase.

To help you put it into practice, here are 30 ways to do things which are just outside your comfort zone to increase your mental capacity:

  1. When someone asks you to do something, make your default answer “yes” (but don’t forget to say “no”when appropriate).
  2. In a gathering (class, conference, etc.), sit next to someone you do not know.
  3. Visit a place you normally wouldn’t visit (museum, monument, national park, etc.).
  4. Eat at a new place.
  5. Try a new kind of food.
  6. Go to a conference or seminar in a topic you are not familiar with.
  7. Email or call an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time.
  8. Initiate conversation with someone you don’t know.
  9. Find the most unpleasant task in your to-do list and do it first.
  10. Email or message someone you don’t know and initiate a friendship.
  11. Learn a new hobby.
  12. Learn a foreign language.
  13. Join a new club and interact with the people there.
  14. Practice an art you normally wouldn’t do (painting, music, etc.).
  15. Learn a new musical instrument.
  16. Dare to ask. This is in order to familiarize yourself with rejection.
  17. Read fiction if you normally read non-fiction, and vice versa.
  18. Read a new author.
  19. Read an old book.
  20. Visit a new genre of blogs.
  21. Find friends from a new country (i.e. a country from which you haven’t had any friends before).
  22. Find friends from different professions.
  23. Volunteer for activities conducted by your social or business group.
  24. Do your groceries at a different store.
  25. Take a different route to work.
  26. Attend an art festival.
  27. Listen to a new genre of music.
  28. In a bookstore or library, browse books in a section you wouldn’t normally visit.
  29. Watch a new genre of movies.
  30. Read history more than news.

 

Not only will this be good for you, increasing your self-confidence, but it will also prevent you from getting “Hardening of the Attitudes”.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this writeup.  If you can use any of these suggestions, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

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5 Keys to Boost Your Mental Health During the 2020 Holidays

This is a write-up of a recent article on the Relevant website, entitled “5 Keys to Boost Your Mental Health During the 2020 Holidays”.  This article is part of their wellness series, produced in partnership with United Health Share Ministries.

 

Joyful Time of the Year Causes Stresses
In a normal year, the holiday season is viewed by many as a joyful time to celebrate with family and friends, attend or host parties and spend hours at the mall shopping for the perfect gifts. For others, however, this time of year may be a stressful trigger that can elevate mental health problems, increase feelings of loneliness and isolation, or intensify grief for lost loved ones. And in this unprecedented year, there is the added burden of being in the middle of a pandemic that affects all of us in one way or another. Holidays aside, stress, anxiety and depression have skyrocketed as people try to navigate their way with so much uncertainty.

 

Connect with Others In Spite of Social Distancing
While social distancing has been a real challenge, it’s interesting to see how so many people have found ways to adapt for the short-term. The phrase “necessity is the mother of invention“ really rings true as we find more creative ways to connect with one another. To help you make the best of the holidays this year, here are five tips for managing your stress and bolstering your mental health.

One:  Reach Out and Connect with Others
Even though you can’t spend time with family and friends in the same way you normally would, that does not mean you can’t be social! Whether it’s through Zoom, FaceTime or any other app, you should make an effort to schedule connections. Also, reach out to people you know are alone. They may be struggling silently and your gesture of kindness will be very meaningful to them.

Two:  Steer Clear of Sugar and Alcohol
Food is either medicine, or it is poison. Sugar-laden treats tend to be prevalent during the holidays, but sugar is one of the most harmful foods for your mental and physical health. It increases inflammation and decreases brain activity, which can make it harder to resist those sweet temptations. As an alternative, choose healthy, low-sugar treats made with fresh fruit and nuts instead. Alcohol affects judgment, decision-making and impulse control. This can lead to overindulgence or to seeking out conflict with others at the Christmas dinner table—which is no fun for anyone! In addition, alcohol worsens depression.

Three.  Stay Active and Sleep Well
It’s really important to maintain your fitness regimen as much as possible during the holidays. Exercise is one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage stress and your overall mental and physical health. In this unique year, we’ve all had to adapt by finding new ways to exercise due to the requirements of social distancing. When you can, take your workout outside. Walking and hiking with family and friends are wonderful ways to de-stress and connect with others.

Regular exercise helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.  It can also help you sleep better. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly is optimal, so be sure to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and turn off your devices at least 1 to 2 hours prior to bedtime. The blue light they emit stimulates brain activity, which is definitely not what you want when you’re trying to fall asleep!

Four.  Engage in Prayer or Meditation
One of the most powerful ways to support your mental health is by staying grounded with prayer or meditation. A regular practice of quieting your mind and connecting with your spirituality helps you better manage life’s stressors. It can also provide you with greater clarity about what’s important in your life. Especially this year with its multitude of challenges, staying connected to your faith helps to give greater meaning to even the small things in life.

Five.  Practice Gratitude
Make an effort to identify at least 3 things each day for which you are grateful. During times of hardship, it can be easy to slip into focusing on what you don’t have. But doing so can really impact your mental health in a bad way. Choosing to count your blessings instead leads to increased feelings of hopefulness and optimism—and a greater sense of well-being.

 

We can get through this together!

 

I hope you have enjoyed this writeup.  If you can use any of these suggestions, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

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Brain exercises to improve your memory

This is a review of How to Improve Your Memory in Just 30 Days
Date:  December 15, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $14.95 paperback
Author:  Ron White

 

As I was checking out memory books on Amazon.com, I came across an intriguing book with the title “How To Improve Your Memory in Just 30 Days”,  just what I had been looking for:  a program for improving my memory gradually!

 

Have you ever walked into a room and couldn’t remember what you went there for?
* Have you ever grasped the hand of a potential client and then when the handshake broke, the name seemed to disappear from your memory?

* Or have you ever left a prospect or an important meeting and as you drove away remembered a key point that you should have shared with them?

The problem is NOT with your memory. The problem is with the “Filing System” your brain currently uses to store and retrieve memory items. Change the filing system and you’ll double and even triple your memory comprehension.

Two-time USA Memory Champion Ron White will teach you the same 2,000-year-old memory method that he has already taught thousands to:
* Give presentations and speeches without notes…
* Memorize chapters of books word for word…
* Retain information from workshops or training classes…
* Improve your grades and study skills…
* Remember names and faces, even years later…
* Routinely memorize 100 digit numbers after hearing them only once…
* And lots more!

 

–> Included with this book is an offer for a FREE bonus video of U.S. Champion Ron White teaching you “Easy As 1-2-3 Memory Tricks” <– 

 

About Memory Training
As psychologists tell us, if we do something every day for 21 days, it will become a habit.  So go ahead:  make instant recall memory a habit!

 

The program is divided into 30 sections to be completed in 30 days; it should take you about 10 minutes a day.  However you may progress at your own pace (you can do more than one lesson per day if you wish, in which case you’ll get thru the training faster.)

 

Can you devote at least 10 minutes a day to improving your memory?
The author points out that some people who buy this course oppose any kind of change.  They don’t want to make the effort to train their memory.  But, those who do stand to reap rich benefits:   they should be able to effortlessly recall names, faces, numbers, and giving speeches without notes. Yes, this system can help you in every area of your life!

 

So, enjoy the 2500-year old techniques you are about to learn and remember:  you are the greatest computer ever created! 

Here are some excerpts from this intriguing book:

 

The Levels of Memory Skills
Basic Association (Remember every item in a list of 20 by picturing  a number associated with each item)

An example:  To remember these items:

  1. Pencil
  2. Sink
  3. Circus
  4. Track
  5. Star
  6. Bullet
  7. Die
  8. Hourglass
  9. Baseball
  10. Fingers
  11. Goalpost
  12. Eggs
  13. Flag
  14. Necklace
  15. Paycheck
  16. Car
  17. Magazine
  18. Soldier
  19. Golf clubs
  20. Shotgun

 

Do this basic association:
Pencil looks like a No. 1 (associate it with the number 1)
A sink has two knobs and two options (hot and cold), thus the association with the number 2)
Circus (associate with 3 for three-ring circus)
Track (associate it with the fact that there are 4 lanes in a track)
Star (associate it with the number 5 because there are five points in a star)
Bullet (associate with the number 6.  If someone shoots you, you’re 6 ft. underground, aren’t you?
Dice (associate with the number 7, for “lucky seven”)
Hourglass (associate it with the number 8, because an hourglass looks like a number 8, doesn’t it?
Baseball (associate it with the number 9:  9 innings, 9 players on a team)
Fingers (associate it with the number 10:  We have 10 fingers)
Goalpost (associate it with the number 11:  there are 11 goalposts in a football game)
Eggs (associate it with the number 12:  you buy eggs by the dozen)
Flag (associate it with the number 12:  There were 13 original colonies in the United States, and 13 stripes on the current flag)
Necklace (associate with the number 14:  a 14-karat gold necklace)
Paycheck (associate with the number 15:  most people get paid on the 1st and 15th of the month, right?)
Car (associate with the number 16:  the age when people can get their driver license
Magazine (associate with the number 17:  Remember, “17 Magazine”?)
Soldier (associate with the number 18, the age when someone is eligible for the draft)
Gold clubs (associate with the number 19.  There are 19 holes on a golf course)
Shotgun (associate with the number 20.  Ever heard of a 20-gauge shotgun?)

 

Chain of Visualization  (an easy way to remember a story)
An example:  To remember these items:  Associate a story with these items

Mount Rainier
Bicycle
German shepherd
Glass of water
Shoe
TV set
Pillow
Trampoline
Airplane
Dallas
Richard Nixon
Brown hat
Black boots
Check for $50,000
Keys to a brand new Corvette
Mount Rainier

The story:  A German shepherd is coming down Mount Rainier on a bicycle, carrying a glass of water with one hand and a shoe with the other. At the bottom of the mountain, he crashes into a TV set.  He lands on a pillow, bounces on a trampoline and bounces off the trampoline into an airplane.   The airplane lands in Dallas, and Richard Nixon is waiting for him.  Nixon has black boots and a brown hat.   He hands the German shepherd a check for $50,000 and gives him the keys to a brand new Corvette.  He drives the Corvette back to Mount Rainier.

 

2000-year old memory method
To recall anything,  you need 5 things: Focus, Location, Code, Action and Review

Location:   The code your memory recognizes is pictures,  so turn everything you want to recall into a picture.  Your mind stores the picture in a “file” (a circuit) in your mind.  That is the place where you mentally store the information.

 

Other chapters in this Memory Training course include such fascinating exercises as  (guaranteed to impress your friends):
Skeleton Files
Pencil List Practice
Counting in Japanese
Memorizing Math Formulas
Creating Your House Files
Poems and Quotes
Memorizing Sales Presentations
Uses for Files
Giving Speeches Without Notes
Foreign Languages
Intro to Number Memory
How to Memorize Numbers
Pictures for Numbers to 1000
Memorizing the Presidents
Names and Faces
Fun Memory Demonstrations
Memorizing a Deck of Cards
Memorizing Scripture
Working on Speed Memory
Things to Do, Directions, Names
Memorizing Sub Points
Alphabet Files

 = = = > You might be interested in this related article from Harvard Health Publishing entitled “Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills” < = = =

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  Although I haven’t actually done all the exercises in this course, I can see from the ones that I’ve done that they definitely sharpen your brain and impress your friends!   You can’t go wrong doing these!  They will definitely give your brain a workout!

 

Cons:  None that I can see.

 

Click here to order the book How to Improve Your Memory in Just 30 Days, directly from the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

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Doing Google Searches Is Good For Your Brain

This is a review of a an article recently published by the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, entitled “Your Brain on Google: Patterns of Cerebral Activation during Internet Searching“.

 

Your Brain on Google
Previous research suggests that engaging in mentally stimulating tasks may improve brain health and cognitive abilities. Using computer search engines to find information on the Internet has become a frequent daily activity of people at any age, including middle-aged and older adults. As a preliminary means of exploring the possible influence of Internet experience on brain activation patterns, the authors performed functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain in older persons during search engine use and explored whether prior search engine experience was associated with the pattern of brain activation during Internet use.

The study’s participants
The authors studied 24 subjects (age, 55–76 years) who were neurologically normal, of whom 12 had minimal Internet search engine experience (Net Naive group) and 12 had more extensive experience (Net Savvy group). The mean age and level of education were similar in the two groups.

The measurements during MRI scanning
Patterns of brain activation during functional MRI scanning were determined while subjects performed a novel Internet search task, or a control task of reading text on a computer screen formatted to simulate the prototypic layout of a printed book, where the content was matched in all respects, in comparison with a nontext control task.

The Results
The text reading task activated brain regions controlling language, reading, memory, and visual abilities, including left inferior frontal, temporal, posterior cingulate, parietal, and occipital regions.   During the Internet search task, the groups showed an activation pattern similar to that of their text reading task, and demonstrated significant increases in signal intensity in additional regions controlling decision making, complex reasoning, and vision.

Conclusion
Although the present findings must be interpreted cautiously in light of the exploratory design of this study, they suggest that Internet searching may engage a greater extent of neural circuitry not activated while reading text pages but only in people with prior computer and Internet search experience. These observations suggest that in middle-aged and older adults, prior experience with Internet searching may alter the brain’s responsiveness in neural circuits controlling decision making and complex reasoning.

 

The study’s participants
The authors studied 24 subjects (age, 55–76 years) who were neurologically normal, of whom 12 had minimal Internet search engine experience (Net Naive group) and 12 had more extensive experience (Net Savvy group). The mean age and level of education were similar in the two groups.

The measurements during MRI scanning
Patterns of brain activation during functional MRI scanning were determined while subjects performed a novel Internet search task, or a control task of reading text on a computer screen formatted to simulate the prototypic layout of a printed book, where the content was matched in all respects, in comparison with a nontext control task.

The Results
The text reading task activated brain regions controlling language, reading, memory, and visual abilities, including left inferior frontal, temporal, posterior cingulate, parietal, and occipital regions.   During the Internet search task, the groups showed an activation pattern similar to that of their text reading task, and demonstrated significant increases in signal intensity in additional regions controlling decision making, complex reasoning, and vision.

Conclusion
Although the present findings must be interpreted cautiously in light of the exploratory design of this study, they suggest that Internet searching may engage a greater extent of neural circuitry not activated while reading text pages but only in people with prior computer and Internet search experience. These observations suggest that in middle-aged and older adults, prior experience with Internet searching may alter the brain’s responsiveness in neural circuits controlling decision making and complex reasoning.

 

= = > Click here  to view a YouTube video by Gary Small discussing technology and the brain, entitled “Your Brain Matters:  The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program lecture presented by Dr. Gary Small”.  Dr.  Small is known for his focus on keeping the brain healthy and avoiding stress  in order to avoid dementia.  He believes in training but not straining the brain, and sees a link between technology and the brain.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and YouTube video and will agree with me they present interesting ideas about brain activities and brain training.

 

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Keep your Brain Healthy at Any Age

In this post, I’m reviewing a recent Forbes Magazine article entitled “How to Keep Your Brain Healthy at Any Age, According to Neurologists”.

The following tips come to us from Dr. Dean Sherzai, neurologist and co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center, California.

 

The brain is arguably one of the most important organs in your body
It does everything from reasoning and regulating thoughts and emotions to controlling breathing and motor skills, among other things. This is why keeping your brain in optimal shape should be a top priority.

Eight surefire tips to keep your brain active and young
While changes to your brain (and the rest of the body) are inevitable and totally normal as you age, certain lifestyle habits can help slow age-related cognitive decline and keep dementia at bay. Here are eight surefire tips to keep your brain active and young, according to experts:

  • Exercise has an enormous impact on brain health
    Sweat it out.
      Exercise can increase blood flow to the brain, reduce the stiffness of the blood vessels and prevent cholesterol plaque build-up in the vessels leading to the brain.
  • Exercise helps grow the brain by releasing BDNF
    Another way exercise helps grow the brain is by exponentially increasing the release of a very important brain growth factor called BDNF—short for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This neurochemical helps with the growth of the connections between neurons, therefore increasing the size and function of the brain.
  • The most important eight hours of the day
    Get quality sleep.
    The most important eight hours of the day, for your brain’s health, are the ones you spend sleeping.  Sleep has two very important functions. First, it helps consolidate and organize memories and thoughts from the previous day and week. Second, sleep does some serious cleaning of all the waste and by-products that have accumulated…..Short-term lack of sleep can impair memory and focus while long-term sleep deprivation can lead to a significant accumulation of waste and destructive toxins that predisposes one to cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s.
  • Watch your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
    High blood pressure and high sugar levels are two of the most damaging pathologic processes in general, but especially to brain health.  When it comes to high blood pressure, the damage is mostly at the vascular  Over time, the high levels of pressure in the large arteries going to the brain or the medium and small-sized arteries within the brain lead to rupture of the arteries—affecting the blood supply to that region of the brain.
  • For better cognitive performance, eat well
    Food is the single greatest tool that we have for building better brain health. Healthy meals can help heal the brain while less healthy foods can especially harm the brain.   Sherzai  recommends a balanced, plant-centered diet for maximum brain health benefits, such as the Mediterranean Diet.  Research also indicates that adhering to this diet may be associated with better cognitive performance.
  • The Neuro Nine foods
    There are certain foods that should be consumed daily to optimize brain health and function. These include leafy greens, whole grains, seeds, beans, berries, nuts, crucifers, teas and herbs and spices,” tells Dr. Sherzai. “These foods contain massive quantities of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients, as well as catalytic (building) vitamins along with the ever-essential mono- and polyunsaturated fats,” she notes.
  • Learning something newbuilds cognitive reserve and brain growth
    Another great way to boost brain health is by learning something new. You could learn to play a musical instrument, pick up a new hobby, or learn a new language or a professional skill. The key is to choose an activity that activates all parts or domains of your brain, like learning to play guitar…. And when you visually process the notes, it stimulates the occipital brain (visual processing brain)…. When your brain stops to learn, especially as you grow older, it starts conserving energy and actually starts shrinking by pulling back connections.
  • The most efficient way to build and grow your brain – Stay socially connected
    This is the most efficient way to build and grow your brain as these human connections activate all parts of the brain. In addition, creativity is invoked when one creates new meaning and content to keep the conversation going, and that builds the parietal lobe.   Moreover, being emotionally invested in the relationship and conversation grows the limbic emotional part of the brain…. Besides engaging in meaningful discussions and conversations, playing challenging games together like bridge or monopoly are also great ways for brain-building and brain preservation.   The article contains a few easy suggestions for staying connected even during the pandemic.
  • Avoid smoking
    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 14% of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide are potentially attributed to smoking. The toxins in cigarettes damage the blood vessels feeding the billions of neurons in the brain.  In addition, smoking leads to inflammation and oxidative stress which also harm the blood vessels.   The net effect is loss of blood supply to the brain tissue when the arteries rupture, bleed or get clogged.
  • Cut back on alcohol
    Binge-drinking can be harmful to your brain health, both in the short and long-term.  Regular excessive drinking may physically damage the brain itself, increasing the risk of dementia. It may also negatively impact one’s mental health.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and will agree with me that it contains excellent suggestions that you can incorporate into your daily living.

 

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

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How To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses

In this post, I’m reviewing an article recently published in the Huffington Post entitled “Brain Exercises:  How To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses”.

Playing games with your mind?
It’s exactly what experts believe you should do to stay sharp, no matter how old you are.

 

Do you know your Brain’s exact storage space for memories?
Experts say our brain’s exact storage space for memories is hard to calculate, according to Scientific American. The size of an average person’s memory can vary from person to person, and memories with more details can take up more space. One infographic shows there are three general ways our brains store memories: encoding (visually looking at a picture or scene for example), storage and retrieval of information.

 

Remembering memories
But do you still remember your first crush? Or the first car you owned? One study shows that the brain may begin to lose sharpness or memory and powers of reason and understanding as early as 45, according to an article in The Guardian.

 

Improving your memory is all about stimulating your senses
According to Dr. Stephen Brewer, medical director at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, improving your memory is all about stimulating your senses.

“Using two senses can increase the likelihood of remembering something.  Smell is the most powerful sense for memory,” he said at the second annual St. Lucia Health and Wellness Retreat in Castries, St. Lucia.

 

The benefit of doing Brain Exercises
Our senses work to engage our attention and helps our brain become more alert of our surroundings, Brewer says. Brain exercises, like playing Sudoku or crossword puzzles in the morning paper, have been shown to help improve not only intelligence, but also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, according to the Archives of Neurology.

 

Challenge your brain
Brewer says challenging your brain throughout the day — like using the opposite hand when you brush your teeth or talking to yourself — can not only help improve our memory, but also delay health risks associated with it.

Dr. Stephen Brewer’s 8 unique ways to improve your memory – without any Sudoku or crosswords

 

Turn Your Photos Upside Down

If you find yourself losing focus or easily distracted during your work day, Dr. Stephen Brewer, medical director at the Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, says try engaging your brain and attention levels by turning pictures upside down in your house or on your desk at work. He says the instant your pictures are upside down, you brain will automatically go into “alert mode” and help you pick up other small details during your day.

 

Involve Other Senses In Your Routine

Start your day by stimulating your senses when you get dressed. “Try dressing with your eyes closed or choose outfits based on texture and not how they look,” Brewer says. Engaging unused senses for day-to-day routines can improve your memory and stimulate your mind, according to Health.HowStuffWorks.com.

 

Wake Up To A New Smell

You may already be used to waking up to the smell of coffee or pancakes on the weekend, but Brewer suggests stimulating your senses by leaving cooked vanilla beans by your bed or in your kitchen overnight. This can enhance your sense of smell the next day.

 

Use Your Other Hand

When you’re brushing your teeth or brushing your hair, Brewer suggests switching hands — or using the ‘other hand’ — to help stimulate your brain and senses. One study found that using the opposite hand or less dominant hand can increase your brain’s creativity levels, according to the Lake Michigan Shore.

 

Meditate

Sit back and relax. Meditation, Brewer says, can improve your memory and help your mind focus. One study found that meditation can improve brain function and could even prevent mental illnesses, according to CBC News.

 

Get Some Sleep!

Brewer says sleeping — at least 7 to 8 hours a night — can also help improve your memory. One study found that getting a good night’s sleep can trigger changes in the brain and can boost your memory levels, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.

 

Go To A Beautiful Environment

We all have memories of our favourite places. Maybe it’s your childhood backyard or vacation to a sandy beach. These memories stay with us in rich detail, Brewer says, and travelling to these places (if possible) or finding new places that help create memories of equal depth can also help improve your memory.

 

Talk To Yourself

Thinking out loud can do more good than harm. One study found that talking to yourself can help improve your memory temporarily, according to ABC News. The study found that people who talked to themselves had better luck finding things that were lost.

 

Dr. Stephen Brewer’s conclusions
Our senses work to engage our attention and helps our brain become more alert of our surroundings, he says. Brain exercises, like playing Sudoku or crossword puzzles in the morning paper, have been shown to help improve not only intelligence, but also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, according to the Archives of Neurology. An estimated 500,000 people have Alzheimer’s or a type of dementia in Canada and over 70,000 of them are under the age of 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto.

Challenging your brain throughout the day — like using the opposite hand when you brush your teeth or talking to yourself — can not only help improve our memory, but also delay health risks associated with it.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and will agree with me that it is chock full of excellent suggestions.

 

 

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How to have an unlimited memory

Review of the book by Jack Oliver:  Unlimited Memory:  Techniques to Improve Your Memory, Remember What You Want, Brain Training, Speed Reading, Visual Memory, Unlimited Concentration”.
Date:  December 2, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $6.99

In this book, you’ll find all the tools, strategies and techniques you need to improve your memory.   If you’re ready to harness the incredible power of your mind to remember more in less time, this book is for you.

This book is meant for many and can serve as a great revelation for someone passing through difficult times. It has questions that seek to find answers for people who are always worried about humanity but are ready to make the right decision. What are the possibilities of man? Are they limited? In addition, if limited, then what? Limits of human capabilities are not all about training the brain. It is the brain – a unique tool of human cultivation – that helps everyone to transform his or her life. Support of this work is an effective method of training the attention function.

 

The Prelude to the Book states the following

“The Human Brain, a wonderful mechanism created by nature.  It coordinates the work of all the other systems in the body.  However, as with other components of the body, it gets tired and gradually loses its speed and clarity.

 

“Often with age, we notice that it becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate, understand and remember.  Then comes a sad thought:  “I’m getting old”!  Monotonous work, lack of new faces, impressions and sensations, stresses and emotions, lead to the fact that the brain could just as well be turned off.  The less we give it the opportunities for development, the faster it loses its efficiency.

 

“However, this is a reversible process.  The brain can be returned to its full functionality, sharpness and clarity as much as possible.  Your brain needs exercise!”

 

Here are a few of the typical memory exercises you will find in this book
Learn by heart poems!
Think about how many verses you know by heart.

After graduation, people are rarely faced with the need to learn verses by heart.  Children in this respect surpass many adults.  Therefore if you have a great desire to train the brain, but do not know how to develop your memory, learn poems with your child.  This will not only train your memory, but it will also give you many pleasant beautiful sensations!

 

Computer games improve memory!
How to improve memory using computer games, 30 minutes a day

When you play a puzzle game, your brain thinks, remembers the action and chooses a particular strategy, planning future events.  Many experts are of the opinion that constant brain activity is the very factor that hinders psychological human aging.  Tests found that students playing 3D games showed improvement in their cognitive function.

 

To improve memory, work with numbers!
How well do you remember your multiplication tables?  Nowadays, people just cannot do

anything without calculators, and the brain gets lazy!  Practice your count in the mind (preferably in a column, just like in school).  Doing so gets the brain to work and train, but also the memory!

 

Always learn something new!
What have you always wanted to learn to do, but do not have enough time?  Try your hands on a new lesson.  This might be exploring the mysterious secrets of the Pharaohs or diving!

Constantly give your brain and memory work!

 

Tell about yesterday!
Try to remember and tell your friend how you spent the day yesterday.  But start with the end of the story!  It will be difficult but it will be just right for your memory!  When you remember the past, your memory is activated and will not be able to erase the former information it may deem unnecessary.

 

Soya, the best tool for the development of the memory
Scientists have shown that people who adopted a diet that is rich in soy products have an excellent memory!  Try adding in your menu soy meat, tofu and soy milk (2 times per week).

 

If you want to read up on the topic of Unlimited Memory, you might enjoy this book by Kevin Horsley:  “Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive”

 

= = = > You might also be interested in the article published by Magnetic Memory Method entitled “9 Brain Exercises That Ensure Memory Improvement” < = = =

Pros and Cons

Pros:  I bought this book and really enjoy trying out its suggestions for improving the mind, which are turning out to be good ones.

Cons:  None that I can think of.

 

If you want to purchase this book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Playing video games as a child helps memory later on in life

This is a writeup of a recently published article by Health24 on the topic:  “Playing video games as a child helps memory later on in life” .

There is an upside to children playing video games:  It  may improve their working memory years later

  • We always hear about the negative effects of video games, but a new study has found a positive link, so perhaps we should stop criticizing our children for all the hours they spend playing video games.
  • This study compared avid gamers to participants who had no previous experience with playing video games
  • These findings, along with previous findings, indicate that games have the potential to strengthen our cognitive skills

Video games don’t always deserve the bad rap they often get
The study, from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), found that playing video games as a child can improve working memory years later, even if the person stopped playing for a number of years.

The study’s findings were published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and involved 27 people between the ages of 18 and 40, with and without any kind of experience with video gaming.

The study was carried out over a month.  The researchers analyzed participants’ cognitive skills, including working memory, at three points: before starting the training in video gaming; at the end of the training; and fifteen days later.

5 misconceptions about video games, debunked

No, video games don’t make you violent and they’re not only for loners.  Here are 5 misconceptions of videogames, debunked.

Avid gamers perform well with working memory tasks
Previous research has shown how playing video games can lead to structural changes in the brain:

It increased the size of some regions in the brain, or caused functional changes, such as activating the areas responsible for attention or visual-spatial skills.

In the latest study, the researchers found that people without any experience playing video games as children did not benefit from improvements in processing and inhibiting irrelevant stimuli. More than this, they were slower than those who had played video games as children.

“People who were avid gamers before adolescence, despite no longer playing, performed better with the working memory tasks, which require mentally holding and manipulating information to get a result,” said Dr Marc Palaus, from UOC.

Palaus added that they also found that participants who played regularly as children outperformed those that had not in processing three-dimensional (3D) objects. However, he explained that these differences were mitigated after the period of training in video gaming, when both groups ended up showing similar performance levels.

Video games may strengthen cognitive skills

Palaus explained that for their study, they used a 3D platform-adventure video game, but that there are several genres of video games that can influence cognitive functions differently.

The common denominator in all these games, he added, is that they involve elements that make people want to continue playing, and that the game gradually gets harder and presents constant challenges.

“These two things are enough to make it an attractive and motivating activity, which, in turn, requires constant and intense use of our brain’s resources, adding that video games are a perfect recipe for strengthening our cognitive skills.

Nonetheless, Palaus stressed that these cognitive improvements have a limited effect on the performance of other activities that are not linked to video gaming. This, he said, is the case with most cognitive training.

Can playing video games as a child improve working memory years later?
     = = > Click here to read more surprising findings from a number of studies, published by MedicalXpress.

Playing video games can lead to structural changes in the brain
In a nutshell, a number of recent studies have shown how playing video games can lead to structural changes in the brain, including increasing the size of some regions, or to functional changes, such as activating the areas responsible for attention or visual-spatial skills. New research from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) has gone further to show how cognitive changes can take place even years after people stop playing.

This was one of the conclusions from the article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study involved 27 people between the ages of 18 and 40 with and without any kind of experience with video gaming.

“People who were avid gamers before adolescence, despite no longer playing, performed better with the working memory tasks, which require mentally holding and manipulating information to get a result,” said Marc Palaus, who has a Ph.D. from the UOC.

Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation
The study lasted a month and the researchers analyzed participants’ cognitive skills, including working memory, at three points: before starting the training in video gaming, at the end of the training, and fifteen days later. The video game used was Nintendo’s Super Mario 64.

The study also included 10 sessions of transcranial magnetic stimulation. This is non-invasive brain stimulation through the skin without the need to get to the brain tissue that temporarily changes the brain’s activity.

“It uses magnetic waves which, when applied to the surface of the skull, are able to produce electrical currents in underlying neural populations and modify their activity,” explained Palaus.

Strengthening cognitive skills
In this case, the video game used was a 3-D platform adventure, but there are many genres of video game which can influence cognitive functions differently.

“Video games are a perfect recipe for strengthening our cognitive skills, almost without our noticing.”  Nonetheless, he stressed that these improvements only have a limited effect on performance of other activities not linked to video gaming, as is the case with most cognitive training.

 

How video games change the brain   

= = > Click here to read  new research findings  about video games changing the brain, published by Neuroscience News.com.

Scientists are discovering that playing video games can change the brain regions responsible for attention and visuospatial skills.

Scientists have collected and summarized studies looking at how video games can shape our brains and behavior. Research to date suggests that playing video games can change the brain regions responsible for attention and visuospatial skills and make them more efficient.

Videogames are becoming more common and are increasingly enjoyed by adults

Do you play video games? If so, you aren’t alone.  Video games are becoming more common and are increasingly enjoyed by adults. The average age of gamers has been increasing, and was estimated to be 35 in 2016. Changing technology also means that more people are exposed to video games. Many committed gamers play on desktop computers or consoles, but a new breed of casual gamers has emerged, who play on smartphones and tablets at spare moments throughout the day, like their morning commute. So, we know that video games are an increasingly common form of entertainment, but do they have any effect on our brains and behavior?

Over the years, the media have made various sensationalist claims about video games and their effect on our health and happiness. “Games have sometimes been praised or demonized, often without real data backing up those claims. Moreover, gaming is a popular activity, so everyone seems to have strong opinions on the topic,” says Marc Palaus, first author on the review, recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The Palaus study shows that playing video games can change how our brains perform, and even their structure. For example, playing video games affects our attention, and some studies found that gamers show improvements in several types of attention, such as sustained attention or selective attention. The brain regions involved in attention are also more efficient in gamers and require less activation to sustain attention on demanding tasks.

There is also evidence that video games can increase the size and efficiency of brain regions related to visuospatial skills. For example, the right hippocampus was enlarged in both long-term gamers and volunteers following a video game training program.

 

Discussion:

I have always been interested in knowing if video games did in fact improve cognitive skills and memory later on in life, ever since I saw my young stepson playing video games and later on being able to solve difficult cognitive problems that well-educated adults could not solve.

I wanted to know more about this fascinating topic.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about this connection between playing video games and improved memory and cognitive skills.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Weeks to a Younger Brain – Gary Small

Review of “2 Weeks To A Younger Brain – by Gary Small”
Date:  November 16, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $14.77 (paperback)

Gary Small, MD, Director, UCLA Longevity Center

An innovative program for a better memory and sharper mind.  This book is for anyone intent on keeping his or her mind younger, this book contains a little of everything:
brain-boosting discoveries for a younger mind
brain training exercises
memory games
nutrition (proper diet for brain health)
stress management  techniques

Forgetfulness begins earlier in life than was first thought
Misplacing your keys, lapses don’t just plague middle-agers and seniors; UCLA studies indicate that forgetfulness begins much earlier in life.   Scientists can detect subtle changes in the brain that coincide with forgetting someone’s name at a party or coming home from the supermarket without the most important item — these are just some of the many common memory slips we all experience from time to time. But such cognitive with mental decline by the time we reach age 40, and our findings show that people as young as 20 already have memory problems.

In this unusual book, Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan translate the latest brain science into practical strategies and exercises that yield quick and long- lasting benefits. It will not only improve your memory, but will also strengthen your physical health by reducing your risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The latest research confirms that there is a lot we can do to boost our memory and keep our brains young. After three decades of helping thousands of patients improve their memory and mental acuity, the author are convinced that our daily lifestyle habits are directly linked to our brain health. This book will show that it only takes two weeks to form new habits that bolster cognitive abilities and help stave off, or even reverse, brain aging.

If you commit only 14 days to 2 Weeks To A Younger Brain, you will reap noticeable results. During that brief period, you will have learned the secrets to keeping your brain young for the rest of your life.

 

Here are a few samples of what this book contains:

Brain-boosting discoveries for a younger mind

Discovery #1:  Memory does not have to decline with age:  There is a definite link between healthy habits and better memory.  Heathy habits include regular physical and mental exercise, a nutritious diet, and stress control.

Discovery #2:  Adopting healthy  habits can make your brain younger in 2 weeks.    What is a younger brain?    One that has high-performing neurons with strong membranes, ample neurotransmitters and normal blood flow.

Discovery #3:  Some videogames can subtract decades from your brain age. The benefits of brain training on memory skills can be quick and remarkable.

Discovery #4:  Memory training can erase senior moments from your brain scan.  Functional MRI’s can show brain activity from moment to moment, allowing us to “see our senior moments”.    After  practicing simple brain exercises for a brief period, our brains become more proficient.  A repeat MRI scan will document improved brain efficiency.

Discovery #5:  Lifestyle habits affect your  brain more than your genes do.  While it’s difficult to determine which form of the APOE gene influences who gets Alzheimer’s, other genes have been discovered (BDNF) which stimulate brain growth and keep the connections between neurons active and resilient.

Discovery #6:  Listening to music can improve your mental abilities.

Discovery #7:  A health sex life is good for your brain.

Discovery #8:  A 10-minute conversation increases mental acuity.

Discovery #9:  Reducing chronic stress improves brain function.

Discovery #10:  A healthy body boosts brainpower.

 

Mastering Memory
Memory exercises

This section contains memory exercises in the form of suggestions for creating stronger memories:

Make new information meaningful and memorable

Practice linking unrelated words

Name that face:  Train your memory – practice linking names with visual images

Create a memory place to remember where you put your keys

Practice memorizing your “to-do” list

Use the “Focus and Frame” method to avoid “tip of the tongue” memory problems.  Create a memory palace based on where things are in your house.  Associate each item to be remembered with a place in your memory palace.

Jump-start your memory skills by using the STORY method to link all the words that need to be associated together.

 

Master everyday memory problems by practicing the two basic memory tools:   FOCUS and FRAME.

 

Cut Stress to Sharpen Your Mind
This is your brain on stress – stress affects memory

Are you  sending off stressed-out signals?  Stress can lead to temporary memory loss.  One or more  episodes of severe trauma can lead to more persistent forms of anxiety, such as PTSD.

Top 10 stress-busting strategies:   meditation, yoga and tai-chi, cutting back on multi-tasking, lighten your load and laugh, get a good night’s sleep, talk to youself to reduce stress,   get organized, acupuncture, cultivate a positive attitude, ask for help.

Tackle mood problems, recognize major depression.  If depression is left untreated, it often worsens memory abilities.

Stress can also cause high anxiety.

 

Get Smart with Brain Games
Things to remember when playing brain games:  Set the game to “Beginner level”.

Mental exercises keep our brains young.  Any brain activity that tweaks your neural circuits is good, and that includes:  reading, traveling, painting, doing puzzles, learning languages, searching online, all  can enhance your cognitive abilities.

Mental Workouts for brain fitness have become popular:  there are all kinds of brain games, computer programs, games on websites.  Here, we must keep in mind that too much technology can interfere:   for instance, reliance on gadgets such as computers and cell phones, forcing us to multi-task.

Brain games that boost IQ include IQ test questions (some examples given), concentration card games, Shake Up Your Brain Training (word games, mazes, jigsaw puzzles), Sudoku or KenKen, Word Jumble, learning and remembering word lists, searching online, learning to play a musical instrument, studying a foreign language, Dakim brain fitness game, Scrabble, chess, riddles and logic games).  Several other examples in this category are provided in the book.

 

Also included in this book
Chapters on the following:

Food for Thought – how to eat a Healthy-Brain diet

Keeping Fit for  a Younger Brain – the value of physical exercise

Good Friends Make Happy Neurons – the value of socialization

Mind Your Medicine – (treating physical illnesses can save your brain).  Vitamins and nootropics.

The 2-Week Younger Brain Program (described in detail)

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:
I have been exposed to several of Dr. Gary Small’s research, including what I have learned from the UCLA Longevity Center (see my blogs entitled “How to Keep Your Memory Sharp As You Age” and “Memory Exercises For The Brain”).  All his suggestions seem quite plausible to me.  This book is chockfull of really good ideas for keeping your brain in tip-top shape.  I have adopted quite a few of them and they have been helpful.

 

Cons:
None that I can detect, except that you must read the book  from cover to cover in order to discover all the good and unusual scientific discoveries that are in it.

 

If you want to purchase Dr. Small’s book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

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Cognitive Interventions For Improving Brain Plasticity

Brain plasticity is a relatively new discovery in brain science that has amazing implications on the way we think and on the way our brain works. Essentially, brain plasticity refers to the fact that the brain appears to be ‘plastic’ in that it is adaptable and can change shape in order to deal with a new scenario. Our brain in this sense is much like a muscle in that it can reshape itself as a response to stress or strain. In other words – the more you use an area of your brain the more it will increase in size and computational power, and the more you leave it without using it at all, the more it will ‘wither’ and will disappear.

Following is a review of a recent article by Andrew Zaleski entitled “Can exercising the mind Improve our abilities, or is it just another self-Improvement fantasy?”

Can exercising the mind improve our abilities?
Latest research on cognitive interventions for improving brain plasticity:  Can brain exercises for the mind improve our abilities?

The conclusion of Mr. Zaleski’s article is that cognitive interventions do improve the brain’s neuroplasticity, resulting in an improvement in mental abilities.  Brain training’s value is thus demonstrated by neuroplasticity improvement.

 

Here are a few other articles on the topic that might be of interest to you.

The Value of Cognitive Brain Training programs

BrainTrainAmerica, Inc.
Some companies have successfully demonstrated the value of Cognitive Brain Training programs.   This is one company that has successfully demonstrated the value of Cognitive Brain Training programs.  

These Cognitive brain training programs are successfully treating a host of ­disorders—dyslexia, ADD, traumas like stroke and ­concussion, as well as the cognitive decline associated with old age.

 

Boldest Claims of Neural Training Efficacy

The boldest claims for neural training’s efficacy come from the largest and longest cognitive intervention study ever conducted, the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly. 
or ACTIVE. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, and begun in 1998, ­ACTIVE enrolled some 2,800 healthy adults over the age of 65;  divided them into a control group and three ­cognitive training groups for reasoning, speed of processing, and memory. The exercises included games like Double Decision, which participants played for at least 10 hours over six weeks. Investigators evaluated participants immediately after the training and at follow-ups as far as five and 10 years out.

Study subjects who were drilled in reasoning and speed of processing showed less decline in those abilities 10 years later versus the untrained ones, according to a 2014 report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The biggest claim, however, came during the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference: ACTIVE participants who had performed the speed of processing task showed 29 percent less risk of dementia a decade out compared to the control group.

“Most people will be protected from a progression to dementia by appropriate forms of training,” says neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, a co-founder of Posit Science…. “It’s just plasticity, and it’s all ­reversible.”   In other words,  it turns out that science might be able to manipulate our minds in remarkable ways: “We can basically change the brain at will,” Merzenich says.

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog on the fascinating topic of cognitive interventions for improving brain plasticity.  My opinion, based on personal experience, is that brain plasticity is real and that science might well be able to manipulate our minds in remarkable ways.  I’m especially happy to hear that help exists out there in the scientific community for the elderly.

 

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Are You Sabotaging Your Memory?

I recently attended a webinar given by SimpleSmartScience on natural ways to boost your memory.   This was a lecture given by Julia Lundstrom, neuroscience and brain health educator.  I learned quite a few things that I didn’t know.

Here are some of the topics that were covered:

Get enough good quality sleep
Here are some suggestions to achieve this  – bedtime routines:

Ideally, you should wake up at the same time every day.  That proves a good quality of sleep.

Avoid:  blue light of television, cell phone, computer.

Hide your phone or alarm so you won’t worry about time slipping by without sleep.

Cool your room to 60 to 67 degrees.

Lack of sleep is linked with Alzheimer’s disease

Keep a sleep journal.

Don’t lie in bed worrying.

Put your face in a bucket of cold water.

Don’t drink liquids within 2 hour of bedtime.

Take a hot bath.

Read.

 

Meditation
Schedule a time to meditate, daily.

Meditation creates biological changes in the brain.  It changes our brain wave states, from gamma and beta (stress),  to alpha (ideal), to theta and finally to delta (sleep).

Yoga – rhythmic breathing
Do rhythmic breathing:  take in air  (6 counts), let it out (6 counts).

 

Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself
Read “Breaking the habit of being yourself – How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One”, a recommended book by Dr. Joe Dispenza

 

Brain boosting foods (you are what you eat)
Introduce MindBoost (by SimpleSmartScience), the most powerful fuel for your brain
Learn what substances are good for the brain, i.e., Bacopa, B12, DHA, Rhodiola Rosea, Gingko Biloba.
The right substances in the right dosage

 

 

Excerpts from SimpleSmartScience’s  Live Long Well Newsletter:

The damage that stress does to your memory:  It eats away at your brain and memory, producing inflammation. 

Stress is something in your external or internal environment causing your body to release chemicals.  These chemicals increase your heart rate and blood pressure, preparing you for a “fight or flight”  emergency.

This short-term stress (the good kind) served its purpose when we had to get away from a lion in the jungle.  However, we have now replaced it with long-term stress (the bad kind).  Long-term stress is where it gets tricky for us humans.  First, we are rarely if ever in eminent danger.  It seems that we have adapted this “stress” reflex to pretty much everything we do in life.

A chemical called “Cortisol” gets released when we perceive a real (or imagined) threat.  Cortisol keeps your blood pressure and blood sugar up to help you escape from the danger.  A lifetime of stress takes its toll on your brain and your memory!

Memory and Stress
Your brain creates and stores memories in a section of your brain called the hyppocampus. This area of the brain also makes a chemical that counteracts the cortisol. This is to get you back in balance.  However, excess cortisol eats away at the hyppocampus, making it less able to produce the chemicals to break down the cortisol.

Don’t forget:  the hippocampus is the same area of the brain that produces and stores memories.

That’s the bad news.  Now the good news:

You can  create and grow new brain cells in the hippocampus and improve your memory.

 

Grow a bigger brain with learning
Learn something new.  Everyday.  Without fail.   Studies have shown that, if you challenge yourself, if you learn Something new, you grow brain cells to take in this information.  So, get out there and learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, learn to write music or calligraphy – anything to use a different part of your brain.

 

Top 10 foods for top memory and brain
Fatty fish, blueberries, avocados, dark chocolate (75%+ cacao), Vitamin B12 found in chicken, fish and eggs, pumpkin seeds, bone broth, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, turmeric.

 

Reduce your risks of getting Alzheimer’s Disease
Here are the top 7 scientifically proven ways to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease:

Increase folate intake;
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) Ibuprofen, DHA, Turmeric;
Statins;
Mediterranean Diet;
increased social activity;
sleep quality,
DHA supplementation

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on “Are You Sabotaging Your Memory?”, and that, like me, you’ve learned a few new things about your brain health and memory.

 

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Boost your brain health with these 3 exercises

This is a review of a recent  article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, entitled “3 Exercises To Boost Your Brain Health”,
by Ashley Greenblatt, certified personal trainer and wellness coach.

Does your brainpower need charging?
Quarantine has forced us to convert our homes into the central hub for a lot of life’s activities.   And as the weeks pass, the predictable schedule associated with working and playing under one roof can become monotonous.

We use our brain for a lot of life’s activities.  The brain needs constant stimulation to thrive and grow.   When we were kids, we ran, jumped and played games, which helped mold our minds.

 

Do you suffer from mental fog?
If a mental fog has set in, and you’re having a difficult time differentiating one day from the next, you’re not alone. The brain needs constant stimulation to thrive and grow. And when you’re on autopilot everyday, the brain gets bored. That’s why it’s essential to implement brain challenges that help dust off the cobwebs and keep your mind sharp and strong.

 

Proven techniques to stimulate your brain and boost its brainpower

Learn a new skill
The brain acts as a command center for the body.   All day and night, it continually sends and receives signals throughout our system. And when we nurture this important organ, it has a better shot at producing   good quality of life as we age.

One way to strengthen the brain is by learning new skills.   If you enjoy cooking, consider testing out an unfamiliar recipe.    Always wanted to play an instrument, or learn a foreign language?   Now could be the perfect time to finally fulfill that goal.   By exploring the unknown, the brain forms fresh pathways of communication.   And since learning can be exciting and satisfying, it may improve your mood  too.

 

Hike your heart rate
Exercise is nature’s prescription for feeling good

It doesn’t cost anything, and you don’t need a prescription.    While it may be hard to get motivated sometimes, realizing  the benefits d should  encourage you to get moving.

Though this is not always apparent, exercise is a euphoric experience for the body.   As you begin your workout, a powerful series of events takes place. The rate of your breathing increases to keep up with the demand for more oxygen  and,  as a result, the lungs and muscles lining the ribs grow stronger.   This increases your lung capacity and endurance.

Right above the lungs, the  heart pumps  nutrient-rich blood to the muscles and vital organs, like the brain. This surge of blood to the brain not only improves your mood by releasing  endorphins, but it also  offers some powerful protective properties against brain-related risks like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.   Daily exercise helps the heart become stronger and better able to handle everyday activities. This explains why athletes tend to have a lower resting heart rate.

The good news is:   you don’t need to exercise for hours to gain perks.   Just a 30-minute walk, five times  a week, is enough to promote better health.

 

Elevate hand-eye coordination
When we were children, exercise was fun because we didn’t realize we were doing it!   We’d run, jump, and play games that helped mold our minds.

And one of the most important skills we sharpened during our youth was  hand-eye coordination. Think of how many activities involved throwing or catching a ball.   However,  as the body ages, this ability can decline as we do less to strengthen neuromuscular communication.

Build this area of the brain by getting in touch with your inner child.

  • Play tennis, racquetball  or pickleball for 30 minutes.
  • Learn how to juggle, and practice it once daily.
  • Toss a ball with a family member for 15 minutes.
  • Throw a tennis ball against the wall with your right hand, then catch it with your left hand  10 times.   When done, repeat by throwing with your left and catching with your right.
  •  For an added challenge, elevate one leg and perform the same drill for 60 seconds. Then repeat lifting the opposite leg.

 

I hope you have enjoyed “3 Exercises to Boost Your Brain Health”, and that you might try one or more of the suggested exercises.  Your brain will thank you!

 

 

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How to keep your memory sharp as you age

This is a blog on a recent Memory Education class from UCLA Longevity Center’s  Brain Boot Camp.

 

The Brain Boot Camp is a 90 minute course that offers individualized healthy aging lifestyle programs, tips for a healthy heart and brain diet, and advanced memory techniques for learning and recalling names and other common memory challenges.

I have reported in an earlier blog on UCLA Longevity Center’s brain and memory classes.  Please see my blog entitled “Memory Exercises for the Brain” where I covered how to improve memory by associating names with prominent facial features.

 

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEMORY:

Sensory Memory
A brief sensory record
5 to 7 chunks of information capacity, such as a telephone number

Primary Memory
Ability to keep information in conscious mind

Secondary Memory
Ability to learn and later recall information

(Secondary Memory is most vulnerable to the effects of aging – the ability to RECALL is affected)
Age-related effects are relatively small
There is a 10% decline per decade beginning in midlife

Therefore it behooves us to strengthen our Secondary Memory, our ability to learn and later recall information

Tertiary Memory
remote memories, i.e., childhood memories

 

How do you strengthen your Secondary memory?
Strategies for increasing our ability to recall
We can do this by doing the following memory training techniques (these are the basics of memory training)
Paying attention
Noticing information from all your senses
Make information meaningful by using imagery
Make it personally relevant by associating with what you already know
Organize and chunk information

 

HOW IS THIS DONE?
Creating a New Memory (encoding, registration)
Here are some Strategies to help improve your ability to create a new memory:

Coding – registration
Improve your ability to learn by repetition (pay attention, want to remember).  Example:  when you encounter someone or something for the first time, pay attention, make a conscious effort to remember it.  Use all five senses to strengthen the memory.  What does something look like?  Smell like?  Sound like?

Rehearsal and Consolidation – repetition and transfer: Repeat the new information a few times, indicating a desire to remember the new information.  Example:  you meet your new neighbor Harry.  Repetition:  repeat the name “Harry” a few times, in the conversation.

Storage – retention:  Associate the new memory with something known to you.  Organize and chunk information.   Organizing information with something you already know is a good help to remembering and recalling.  For example:
Organize:  Associate your new neighbor Harry with your Uncle Harry.
Organize:  Sentences, rhymes, saying:  I’d never marry my neighbor Harry.
Organize:  Harry sounds like “hairy”.
Images:  Picture neighbor Harry shaking hands with Uncle Harry, with lot of hair (“hairy”).

In other words, store this memory in a place where you can later retrieve it (you do this by associating the memory with other details, something you already know).

 

More Recall Strategies:
The Chunking Method
An aid to remembering lists:  An example:  to remember the words Toaster, Sports car, Eagle, Microwave, Text messages, Airplane, Robin, Email, Yacht, Blender, Letter,  Ostrich:

Chunk items into three lists:  appliances, birds, modes of transportation
Associate all appliances together:  toaster, microwave, blender
Associate all birds together:  eagle, robin, ostrich
Associate all modes of transportation together:  sports car, airplane, yacht

 

A word about multitasking
As we age, it becomes more difficult to multitask.
Fact:  There is a link between “senior moments”, multitasking and working memory.
Fact:  Multitasking has  a negative effect on working memory.
Fact:  As we age we have a more difficult time letting go of distractions and regaining our ability to focus on the original task at hand.
In the current digital era, we are pushing the limits with multitasking
Only focus on one thing at a time

 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog on memory techniques by UCLA Longevity Center.

 

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The Biggest Book of Brain Games

This is a review of “The Big Book of Brain Games”
Date:  October 27, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $19.22

About the original 1000 PlayThinks, Will Shortz of The New York Times said it best: “The most wide-ranging, visually appealing, entertaining, gigantic collection of brainteasers since Sam Loyd’s Cyclopedia of Puzzles almost a century ago.”  Inside The Big Book of Brain Games, you will find an obsessive collection of 1,000 challenges, puzzles, riddles, illusions—originals as well as must-do classics.  With jampacked pages and a full-color illustration for each entry, the book, opened anywhere, is a call to action.  (And it’s guaranteed to make you smarter.) Twelve basic categories include Geometry, Patterns, Numbers, Logic and Probability, and Perception.   An easy-to-read key at the top of each game ranks its difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10, while indices in the back cross-reference the puzzles and provide the answers.  It’s guaranteed to make you smarter.

 

What are “PlayThinks”?
1000 PLAYTHINKS is the most compulsive, head-scratching, and–at 5.08 pounds–gargantuan puzzle book ever. An obsessive collection of 1,000 challenges, puzzles, riddles, illusions-both original as well as must-do classics. Jam-packed on the page and illustrated throughout in full-color, with a visual for each entry, the book, opened anywhere, is like a call to action. And once started it’s hard to stop, because at the end of every successfully completed game the puzzle-solver feels smart, successful, and at one with the beauty of mathematics.

Created by Ivan Moscovich, PLAYTHINKS is the first and only book where science, math, and art puzzles all come together. Broken down by chapter, PLAYTHINKS challenges with 12 basic categories, including games of Geometry; Patterns; Numbers; Logic and Probability; and Perception. A special Bonus Round is included for die-hard puzzlers who, after all that, still haven’t had enough. An easy-to-read key at the  top of each game ranks its difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10. The lie-flat spiral binding makes the hefty book completely reader-friendly. So do the answers at the back of the book.

 

What to expect from PlayThinks
To give you an idea, here are 3 examples of the PlayThinks puzzles included in this book, with their corresponding answers:

PlayThinks puzzle 299:

Answer to 299:  The only square with a perimeter equal to its area has four sides of 4 units.  The only rectangle with that property measures 3 by 6 units.

 

PlayThinks puzzle 422

Answer to 422:

 

PlayThinks puzzle No. 611:

Answer  to 611:  1 + 2 + 3 = 1 X 2 X 3 = 6

 

The author has an interesting background
Ivan Moscovich is the author of several books on the subjects of science, mathematics, and art. His Mindbenders series was translated into 12 languages. His 1000 PlayThinks became a bestseller. According to Goodreads, he has published 45 distinct works.  He is a designer and commercial developer of puzzles, games, toys, and educational aids. He has written many books and is internationally recognized in the toys industry as an innovative inventor.

Ivan Moscovich was born to Jewish Hungarian parents on 14 June 1926 in Novi Sad in the Yugoslav province of Vojvodina.  His father was a Hungarian who escaped into Yugoslavia after World War I.  Moscovich’s father was a professional painter but opened a photographic studio which he named Photo Ivan after his son.  He is often noted as being an industrial designer. Moscovich had a sheltered, middle class childhood.

In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered unconditionally to the Axis powers during World War II. Hungary occupied Vojvodina. In January 1942, Moscovich’s father was a victim of the Novi Sad massacre.  In 1943, Hungary started secret armistice negotiations with the Allied Powers which was discovered by Germany resulting in the German occupation of Vojvodina. Soon after, at the age of 17, Moscovich was taken to the concentration camp at Auschwitz with his grandfather, grandmother and mother.  His grandparents were immediately taken to the crematoria and were killed.

Moscovich was subsequently moved to a total of 4 concentration camps and 2 forced work camps, while his mother stayed in Auschwitz.  Finally, British soldiers liberated Bergen Belsen in April 1945.  Moscovich was sent to Sweden for recuperation before returning home.  There he met his mother who was liberated from Mauthausen by US troops.

After the War (1945-1952)
Moscovich got his first job in Yugoslavia.  A  friend in Marshall Tito’s Ministry of Transport offered him a position repairing Yugoslavia’s railway system which had been damaged during the war.

During the time he worked the position, he received a medal from Marshall Tito himself.

After finishing his university studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Belgrade, he emigrated to Israel, where he initially worked as a research scientist involved in the design of teaching materials, educational aids, and educational games.

Science Museum
Moscovich’s work attracted general interest, which in 1958 resulted in his proposal for the establishment of a novel science museum, the first of its kind in Israel. He became the founder, and later the director, of the Museum of Science and Technology in Tel Aviv. This science museum opened in temporary premises in 1964 and attracted world-wide interest and hundreds of thousands.

 

The Big Book of Brain Games is where Ivan Moscovich’s science, math, and art puzzles all come together.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

This book is guaranteed to give your brain an extreme workout.  It will certainly teach you to think “outside the box”.

 

Cons

I cannot think of any.

 

If you want to purchase this book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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How to Stimulate Brain Health during Lockdown

Ideas from a recent article in Flickstree and entitled “How to Stimulate Brain Health During Lockdown”.

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on brain health
The coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, along with the lockdown, have significantly affected many people, making them feel anxious, alone, and lost without a set routine and schedule.
While cleaning, decluttering and other activities at home might have helped keep you physically active, you also need to give your brain a proper workout to keep it healthy and sharp.

  • Keep a schedule
    While staying at home can completely ruin your schedule and make you go off track, you can always try to maintain a proper schedule and follow a routine to keep your brain functioning properly. Begin by writing down the tasks and events in a notebook or a planner and set a to-do list daily. Also, limit your distractions and focus on your work so that you can complete it in a set time and keep working according to your set schedule.
  • Stay mentally active
    Just as physical activity helps keep your body in the right shape, mentally stimulating activities keep your brain in shape, especially during these trying times. To keep your brain active and boost your brainpower, consider playing games like chess or card games.  You might consider learning to play a musical instrument or learning a foreign language.  Meditating, journaling or engaging in activities such as cooking, gardening or painting, can also prove helpful to your mental health
  • Socialize regularly
    Although you cannot go outside to meet your friends every day, that doesn’t mean you can’t  socialize with them. Social interaction helps avoid stress, anxiety and depression and keeps your mental health in good condition. Now is the right time to interact with long lost friends and family through calls, video chats or even online with Zoom meetings, or you can meet them by maintaining a proper social distance.  Quite a few local restaurants have outdoor seating reserved for this purpose, for their socially-responsible patrons.

So, don’t wait any longer and start TODAY doing these activities to boost your brainpower.

 

    = = > click here to read another article by Hackensack Meridian Health entitled7 Ways to stimulate brain health during lockdown”

As stated in this article:  “Amidst the coronavirus pandemic and current social distancing orders, some may feel a bit ‘lost’ without a set routine and schedule. This, coupled with feelings of loneliness, can significantly affect one’s ability to properly think.”

“Periods of stress can affect many areas of brain function, including memory, attention, thinking, mood (including anxiety and depression) and sleep,” says Talya Fleming, M.D., Medical Director of the Stroke Recovery and Aftercare Programs at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. “Stress can also affect levels of inflammation in your body, which can affect your heart, blood vessels and alter hormone levels leading to other disease states.”

 

Below are 4 additional tips to re-stimulate mental growth and put your brain health at the forefront
(In addition to the above tips from Flickstree:  Keep a Schedule, Stay Mentally Active and Socialize Regularly)

Improve memory and attention. Everyday activities like folding laundry and making dinner can be exercises in attention and memory. For a new recipe, read the 3 or 4 steps and see if you can commit them to memory. Then review before doing to be sure you are correct.

Challenge yourself. Start a new hobby or interest. Experiment with different types of music, art or drama. The more challenging the activity the more likely it is to sharpen underlying cognitive ability.

Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet might be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Additionally, it is recommended to try to limit alcohol consumption as too much alcohol can lead to confusion and memory loss.

Include physical activity in your daily routine. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging. If you don’t have time for a full workout, squeeze in a few 10-minute walks throughout the day.

Dr. Fleming shares, “By using the above strategies, you can help maintain and even improve your brain health during these times. Don’t be afraid to ask your brain health physician specialist for more information.”

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading these tips for keep your brain healthy during lockdown.  Please leave me a comment below.

 

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Tips for Improving Your Mental Capacity

This was taken from a recent article by Jim Kwik entitled “Want to Upgrade Your Brain?  Tips on How to Improve Your Mental Capacity” , published by Maria Shriver.  They are excerpts from “Limitless – Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, Unlock Your Exceptional Life.” selected for The Sunday Paper by author Jim Kwik.

Some of these ideas are quite good and hopefully will be of some help to my readers who want to remain sharp.

Below are excerpts from “Limitless – Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, Unlock Your Exceptional Life.” selected for The Sunday Paper by author Jim Kwik

What is Digital Dementia and how do you avoid it?
Overuse  of digital technology results in the breakdown of cognitive abilities

You work harder trying to memorize a phone number than when you rely on your cell phone to memorize it for you.

The author argues that short-term memory pathways will start to deteriorate from underuse if we overuse technology.  Forcing yourself to recall information instead of relying on an outside source to supply it for you is a way of creating and strengthening a permanent memory.

 

Memory is the most important part of the learning process
If you could not remember, then you could not learn anything. There is no knowledge without memory.

I challenge you to do anything without utilizing your memory.  Forcing yourself to recall information instead of relying on an outside source to supply it for you is a way of creating and strengthening a permanent memory.

 

Unlimit your memory
If you’re going to perform a major upgrade on your brain, you’re going to want to unlimit your memory, as memory is such a fundamental part of most brain function. Since that’s the case, let me reassure you with a very important fact: There’s no such thing as a good memory or a bad memory; there is only a trained memory and an untrained memory.

 

Train Your Memory
Suggested tools and techniques designed to train your memory:
You will be applying basic principles of the mind and developing your memory in such a way that will make learning (remembering) more natural, easy, and fun. The most fundamental of these, though, is this: always remember MOM, a mnemonic device I created to kick up your memory instantly:

 

M is for Motivation
The simple fact is that we are considerably more likely to remember things that we are motivated to remember.

If someone says to you, “Hey, remember our call tomorrow,” you may or may not remember that you’ve scheduled a call with that person. If instead he says, “Hey, if you remember our call tomorrow, I’ll give you $5,000,” you will definitely remember that you’ve scheduled the call. You are overwhelmingly more likely to remember something when you have a strong motivation to do so. So, if you want to train yourself to have a stronger memory, give yourself a stronger motivation to do so.

 

O is for Observation
How often do you forget someone’s name as soon as you hear it? The reason is likely that you weren’t entirely paying attention when you heard that name. Maybe you were looking around the room to see who else you knew. Maybe you were still thinking about a conversation you’d just had. For whatever reason, you weren’t entirely present. Most of the time, when we fail to remember something, the issue isn’t retention but rather attention. If you’re serious about boosting your memory, condition yourself to be truly present in any situation where you want to remember something.

 

M is for Methods
I’m going to provide you with a set of tools that you’ll be able to use when you want to remember something.  Make sure you’re always carrying these around in your mental toolkit, and be sure to employ them to the point where they become second nature.

 

To remember any new piece of information, you must associate it with something you already know
One of the keys to memory and all of learning: In order to learn any new piece of information, it must be associated with something you already know.  Think of a cherry, for example.  You remember that it’s red, sweet, fruit, pie, round seeds, etc  .These are words and pictures that you have learned to link to a cherry.  Your mind is constantly making countless associations every minute, most of them without your conscious awareness. This is how you learn.

 

Adding emotion makes something memorable
Information by itself is forgettable, but information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory. When we add emotions to something, we make it adventurous, we make it action-filled, we make it humorous, and we’re much more likely to remember it.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this little writeup and that some of the ideas expressed here will be useful to you in your quest for an increasingly sharper mind.

 

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Get Your Einstein on!

This is a review of FOCUS Factor 90 Tablet dietary supplement (90 Tablets)
Date:  September 17, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $29.49

Get Your Einstein on

Have you seen the commercial?
You’ve probably all seen the commercial for this product.  This older lady is talking to a younger lady, pointing out to the younger one where her glasses are and where her keys are.   Impressed, the younger lady says:  “How do you know all these things?  How do you do it?”   The older lady then says:  “I put my Einstein on”, and points to Focus Factor.

According to the website, Focus Factor does the following
Increases memory
Improves brain function
Increases attention length
Natural, safe and effective
90 tablets

 

Focus Factor ingredients
Focus Factor includes ingredients like Dimethylaminoethanol, L-glutamine, L-pyroglutamic acid, Phosphatidylserine, docosahexaenoic acid concentrate, choline, inositol, N-acetyltyrosine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and a branded electrolyte concentrate called Trace-Lyte. The recommended dosage is 4 tablets per day, to be taken on an empty stomach.  According to Factor Nutrition Labs, the manufacturer, the ingredients in Focus Factor are carefully selected for their unique properties to support overall brain function, memory, focus, and concentration.

This brain enhancement supplement contains six different herbs and herbal formulae, including Bacopin, bilberry fruit extract, grape skin extract, Activin, Vinpocetine, and Huperzine A.

A recent review of Focus Factor, published by BrainReference
states the following:
Focus Factor is a brain enhancing supplement created to support brain function with direct benefits to memory, focus, and concentration.    Manufactured by Factor Nutrition Labs, the supplement is available in two different formulations: one for children (Focus Factor for Children) and the other (Focus Factor) for adults.

According to Factor Nutrition Labs, the ingredients in Focus Factor are carefully selected for their unique properties to support overall brain function, memory, focus, and concentration.

While Focus Factor has not been the subject of clinical trials or independent investigations, Factor Nutrition Labs claim the ultimate goal behind their formula is to improve memory.

Some Factors to consider – BrainReference’s Final Take on Focus Factor
It is a well-known fact that as people age, most of them will eventually experience difficulty in focusing, thinking, memorizing things, and brain fog.   Many of these individuals seek help in the form of brain vitamins or supplements to enhance brain functions.

People must understand that memory is a very complex and delicate phenomenon. Memory is affected by several factors such as physiological changes, genetics, education, emotions and experience.  Why our memory decays as we age is largely a mystery.

Focus Factor promises excellent results, but the lack of clinical studies to support their claims is concerning. We believe that the first step in fighting memory decay is getting a medical evaluation.

Some types of dementia are reversible, while others’ evolution can be slowed down by exercising your brain. In any case, Focus Factor may be effective in some patients.

If you’re ready to improve your brain health and wellness, we believe science has the answer.

 

PROS AND CONS:

Pros:

To me, any formula that contains Phosphatidylserine, choline and  inositol, Bacopin, Vinpocetine and Huperzine A  has  to be good!  I have been taking those substances for years and can vouch for the way they make me feel:   I have a sharper memory and a sharper mind.

Focus Factor reviews are generally positive, with consumers reporting enhanced focus and an overall pleasant experience for the money they spent on the product.

 

Cons:

Yes, there might be a lack of clinical studies to support the manufacturer’s claims, but in the end the important thing should be the way the product makes you feel!

 

If you want to purchase this product, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Thinking outside the box brain games

This is a review of the book “The Little Book of Big Brain Games:  517 Ways to Stretch, Strengthen and Grow Your Brain”
Date:  October 11, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $9.95

Think outside the box
These 517 Games are designed to stretch your mind, to make you “think outside the box”.

This little book is a pocket-size brain gym. Here are more than 500 full-color puzzles from the original Big Book of Brain Games―the book that Will Shortz praised as “the most wide-ranging, visually appealing, entertaining collection of brainteasers since Sam Lloyd’s Cyclopedia of Puzzles,” and The Washington Post called “an opus . . . mixing math with wonder.”

Here are mental games, visual challenges, logic posers, riddles, and illusions, each designed to stretch neurons and give the brain a workout―all in a format that will fit in your pocket. The puzzles (both original and mind-boggling adaptations of classics) are rated in difficulty from level one to ten, but even the easiest are guaranteed to make the solver feel smart.

This pocket-size brain gym contains mental games, visual conundrums, logic posers, riddles, illusions –  all designed to stretch neurons and shake up your usual way of thinking.  Be creative.  Be challenged.  Push your brain in new directions.  The puzzles are organized by 12 types  with 10 degrees of difficulty, each designed to make you feel more curious, intuitive, engaged, and smarter.

These mental games can change the way people see things.  They allow us to see the world in new ways.

A Few Examples from the Book
Here are a few examples of the mind-stretching exercises you’ll find in this little book:

Halving Seven (can you prove that 7 + 7 = 12?)
Answer:  The Roman numeral for 7 (VII) can be made by cutting the Roman numeral for twelve (XII) in half horizontally.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Answer:  The egg.  The riddle does not specify that the eggs in question are chicken eggs and, according to paleontologists, reptiles and dinosaurs existed long before birds and chickens.  Fossilized eggs dating back one hundred million years have been uncovered.  Thus it can be said that eggs came before chickens.

How did Fido do it?
DOG TIED:  Fido the dog is tied to a tree with a ten-foot length of rope.  He wants to get to his doggie bowl, which is fifteen feet away.  So Fido trots over and starts eating.  There are no tricks; the rope didn’t break and the tree didn’t bend.  Nothing of that sort.  So how did Fido do it?
Answer:  Since Fido is tied to a tree, he can reach anywhere within a ten-foot radius of the tree.  His bowl is five feet from the tree on the opposite side from where Fido started.

 

The book’s chapters
The exercises are organized into several chapters according to the ideas they center around:

“Play Thinks” (a special type of exercise, coined by the author, designed to transfer the reader to a special state of mind where play and problem-solving coexists)
Geometry
Points and Lines
Graphs and Networks Curves and Circles
Shapes and Polygons
Patterns
Dissections
Numbers
Logic and Probability
Topology
Science
Bonus Rounds

 

What Your Goal Should Be

To become more curious, more inventive, more intuitive.

 

From the Book’s Author
Ivan Moscovich, the book’s author, says:

“Psychologists have long known that children learn about the world through play; now it is clear that adults can also benefit from games.  Even as we age, our brains continue to form neurons and make new connections. In order to encourage this growth, research has shown that you need to exercise your brain as you would a muscle – constantly challenging it in new and different ways.  As puzzlemaster Nob Yogashicara once said:  “What jogging is to the body, thinking is to the brain.  The more we do it, the better we become at it.”

“We can understand the most abstract and difficult concepts if we allow ourselves the luxury of approaching them not as work, but as fun – and as a form of exploration.”

 

Moscovich has chosen activities that span many topics and combine entertainment and brain-teasing.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

The book is portable (can fit inside your pocket or handbag) – so you can take it anywhere with you, as a “Portable Brain Gym”, as it were.

The exercises in this little book pack a big punch:  They certainly force you to think outside the box!

 

Cons:

None that I can think of.

 

If you want to purchase this book, click on this link to be taken to the merchant’s  website.  You can purchase it right there.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Boosting Brain Power with Chocolate

This is a review of two articles on the subject of “chocolate and the brain”, published on ScienceDaily and on MedicalNewsToday.

“Boosting Brain Power – with Chocolate“
an article published on ScienceDaily.

According to the article “Boosting Brain Power – with Chocolate“ recently published by  ScienceDaily:  “Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve blood flow.  It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.  There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against heart disease.”

“Eating chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills, a University of Nottingham expert has found.  A study led by Professor Ian Macdonald found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols – a key ingredient of dark chocolate – boosts flow to key areas of the brain.”

 

Eating chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills, a University of Nottingham expert has found.

Boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain
A study led by Professor Ian Macdonald found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols — a key ingredient of dark chocolate — boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours.

Increased blood flow to these areas of the brain may help increase performance in specific tasks, as well as boost general alertness over a short period of time.

 

Cocoa flavanols found in chocolate enhance brain function and help maintain good cardiovascular health

The findings, unveiled at one of the biggest scientific conferences in America, also raise the prospect of ingredients in chocolate being used to treat vascular impairment (including dementia and strokes),  thus maintaining good cardiovascular health.

The study also suggests that the cocoa flavanols found in chocolate could be useful in enhancing brain function for people fighting fatigue, sleep deprivation, and even the effects of ageing.

 

Cocoa flavanols dilate cerebral blood vessels, bringing more oxygen to key areas of the brain
Ian Macdonald, professor of metabolic physiology at The University of Nottingham, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect increased activity in specific areas of the brain in individuals who had consumed a single drink of flavanol-rich cocoa. This increased activity was linked to a definite dilation of cerebral blood vessels.  Thus more blood — and therefore more oxygen — was  able to reach key areas of the brain.

 

Flavanols found in red wine, green tea and blueberries as well as cocoa
Flavanols are not only found in chocolate with a high cocoa content — they are also present in other substances such as red wine, green tea and blueberries.

 

Cocoa Flavanoids increased grey matter flow for two to three hours after ingestion
Professor Macdonald stated: “Acute consumption of this particular flavanol-rich cocoa beverage was associated with increased grey matter flow for two to three hours… The effects of consuming this particular beverage on cerebral blood flow raises the possibility that certain food ingredients may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function, in situations where individuals are cognitively impaired such as by fatigue, sleep deprivation, or possibly ageing”.

 

Findings presented at the American Association for the Advancement of  Science (AAAS)
Ian Macdonald presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the biggest annual gatherings of scientists from all over the world.  The AAAS, founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious international journal Science. Its annual conference draws up to 10,000 attendees.

 

Health Benefits and Risks of Chocolate
According to the article “Health Benefits and Risks of Chocolate”,  published by  Medical News Today:

No-Guilt Chocolate
The next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you may not have to feel so guilty about it. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, a number of health benefits may be associated with this delicious treat.

 

Health benefits of chocolate
According to a review in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine,  scientists have discovered that cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, contains biologically active phenolic compounds.

This has changed people’s views on chocolate, and it has stimulated research into how it might impact aging, and conditions such as oxidative stressblood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis.

 

Chocolate’s antioxidant potential may have a range of health benefits
The higher the cocoa content, as in dark chocolate, the more benefits there are. Eating chocolate may have the following benefits:

  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • preventing cognitive decline
  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems

 

Hot chocolate could help reduce cognitive decline
Scientists at Harvard Medical School (Lead author: Farzaneh A. Sorond) have suggested that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older people.  They found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed.

The author states:  “As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

Results of a lab experiment, published in 2014, indicated that a cocoa extract, called lavado, might reduce or prevent damage to nerve pathways found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This extract could help slow symptoms such as cognitive decline.

 

Conclusion:
I hope you have enjoyed my two reviewed articles.  Personally, I was delighted to hear that dark chocolate is good for the brain, and I eat a few pieces of it every day.

 

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9 Best Brain Training Websites

This is a review of a recent article entitled “9 Great Brain Games and Brain Training Websites”, in VeryWellMind.

The article states:  “From pen-and-paper Sudoku and crosswords to specialized brain training apps, options for brain games are plentiful. People of all ages use these games to improve mental functioning and prevent brain aging.”

It further states:  “Brain training may help improve your memory, response time, and logic skills, cognitive function is complicated.   If you’d like to give your brain a workout and have fun too, try these games and activities that may improve your mental focus and fitness.”

 

Sudoku

See my blog entitled “15 Board Games that will make you Smarter”.

Sudoku is a number placement game that relies on short-term memory.  To complete a Sudoku puzzle, you have to look ahead and follow trails of consequences.  This type of planning helps improve short-term memory and concentration.

Sudoku can be played online, on an app, or on paper.  Look for a regular Sudoku puzzle in your newspaper, buy a book with a collection of puzzles (see Amazon.com[link – see below) or download a free app for your phone or tablet (I know that there is a free Sudoku ad on the Apple store).

You can get Sudoku from Amazon.com for $6.99, or you can get the free version of Sudoku, as stated in the VeryWellMind article, from www.websudoku.com.

Sudoku puzzles are available in varying degrees of difficulty. When you’re starting out, play the easy games until you learn the rules. If you’re playing on paper, use a pencil!

 

Lumosity

See my blog entitled:  “See What Your Mind Can Do.  The price for the subscription service is explained there.

Lumosity is one of the most established brain training and mental fitness programs. You can sign up for a free account to play three games per day, or choose the subscription service for more offerings. Either way, you can keep track of your results and improvement.

Lumosity’s fun brain training and mental fitness games, tests, and activities are backed by science. You can play them on the website, or download the free apps for iOS, Apple and Android. Lumosity also has a meditation and mindfulness app called Lumosity Mind.

 

Crosswords

See my blog entitled “15 Board Games that will make you Smarter” 

Crossword exercises are classic brain trainers, accessing verbal language as well as memory from many dimensions of knowledge. There are many ways to do crossword puzzles, both online and off.   If you subscribe to a daily newspaper, you’ll almost always get a crossword there. Or you can pick up a book of crossword puzzles specifically suited to your skill level and interests.

You will also find many options for crossword puzzles online or via free or inexpensive apps. The AARP website offers a daily crossword.

The daily crossword  is free to everyone, whether or not you’re a member of the group.

 

Elevate

Although the VeryWellMind article states that this is free, there is a cost of  $9.99/month to subscribe for 35+ games.  When I was downloading the app, I could not finish the downloading unless I subscribed for $9.99/month.

You’ll need to download an app to play Elevate‘s 35 (and counting) different brain training games, which have a strongly educational feel.

Elevate’s games center on reading, writing, speaking and math.  You can customize your training to focus on whichever areas you prefer. You can track your progress to see how your skills are improving.

I personally don’t like the Elevate games because I don’t think they add anything to my brain capacity and they are difficult to play in this form because it’s hard to determine what the right answers are.

 

Peak Brain Workout

Peak is another app-only option (available for iOS, Android and Apple)  that provides brain games to help you work on focus, memory, problem-solving, mental agility, and more cognitive functions.  If you’re a competitive type of person, you might be motivated by seeing how well you perform against other users. The app is free to use, but an inexpensive subscription unlocks more features.  One good feature is that you get your score and a performance evaluation at the end of each game.

 

Happy Neuron

Price:   You must create an account and purchase a membership in order to use: $6.65/month.  This is a monthly subscription fee.    Although the article states that “Happy Neuron offers a free trial so you can see if you like the approach”, I was not able to find that anywhere.

Happy Neuron divides its games and activities into five critical brain areas: memory, attention, language, executive functions, and visual/spatial. Like Lumosity, it personalizes the training to fit you, tracks your progress, and the games are based on scientific research.

Happy Neuron’s simplified app version is available for Android users only.

Good thing about Happy Neuron:  It has a feature called “Let’s do a bit of physiology – Do you know the essential features of brain training?”

“Increasingly, scientific evidence tells us that we can dramatically increase the probability of staying mentally and physically fit throughout our lives.  Physical exercise, good nutrition, social connection with others, and mental stimulation all play important parts in insuring that our brains remain sharp and agile.”

The following section, on their website, is very helpful:
There are several physiological mechanisms to keep your brain healthy:

  1. Stimulated and therefore active neurons get more oxygen and nutritive elements.
  2. Neural stimulation multiplies the number of connections between synapses.
  3. Keeping your neurons active is the key to generating new ones, as well as developing them and helping them survive.
  4. Even in adult life, neurons can regenerate with stem cells.

Another section, called “Building your Cognitive Profile”, is also quite helpful.  Here are Happy Neuron’s  instructions for this section:  “Complete it by playing at least 10 games in each cognitive sector.  It will also help you get familiar with the coach and the games before you start the training.”

 

Braingle

Price:  Free to play on www.braingle.com

With over 15,000 brain teasers, riddles, logic problems, optical illusions, codes and ciphers, trivia quizzes, and mind puzzles submitted and ranked by users like you, Braingle has the largest collection anywhere on the internet!  It also has an online community of enthusiasts.  You can even create your own puzzles to give your brain a super workout.   You can even create your own puzzles to give your brain a super workout.

 

Queendom

Queendom has thousands of personality tests and surveys. It also has an extensive collection of “brain tools”—including logic, verbal, spatial, and math puzzles; trivia quizzes; and aptitude tests—for you to exercise and test your brain. If you’d like to save results and scores, you’ll need a free account. Some tests give you only snapshot results for free, and charge a fee for full reports.

Free to take tests.  However, there is a fee if you want a copy of the report.

Tests include:  emotional intelligence test, classical IQ test, verbal-linguistic intelligence test, scientifically developed tests, fun tests and quizzes, mind-stretchers, trivia quizzes.

I tried (unsuccessfully) to create an account and am still waiting for their email confirmation.  That function doesn’t work from this website.

 

Brain Age Concentration Training

This is a brain training and mental fitness system for the Nintendo 3DS system. It includes a huge number of games to hone your concentration, memory, calculation, and other brain skills. It’s fun, portable, and challenging. Brain Age is also available for the Nintendo Wii U, but not for the Switch, Nintendo’s most up-to-date gaming system.

Cost:  $29.99 for the Brain Age Concentration Training program.

In order to play the games,  you must buy one of the Nintendo games ($59.99).

 

I hope that my review of the VeryWellMind article has been helpful to you.

 

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The best brain supplement for brain health and memory

This is a review of “Nootropic Brain Support Supplement – NEURIVA Original Capsules (75 Count in a Bottle) Phosphatidylserine, Gluten Free, Decaffeinated – Supports Focus, Memory, Learning, Accuracy and Concentration”
Date:  September 28, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $74.93

What’s in it
Here is a breakdown of the two most important, clinically-proven, ingredients in Neuriva:

Phosphatidylserine (100 mg)
Phosphatidylserine is a foundational ingredient in a lot of nootropics, and for good reason. It already lives in high concentrations in our brain and is very important for cognitive function.    Studies have shown that, as we age, we start to lose the amount of phosphatidylserine in our brains and therefore could benefit from supplementation.   It is claimed that Phosphatidylserine can help protect against this degeneration and promote the brain’s ability to learn and retain memory.   Clinical studies have shown that plantsourced  Phosphatidylserine has a positive effect on brain performance. It supports focus, memory, learning, accuracy and concentration.  

Coffee Cherry Neurofactor  (Non-caffeinated)  (100 mg)
What is coffee cherry?  It’s Coffee fruit extract.    Schiff, the company that makes Neuriva, tells us that coffee cherry is the skin/rind that houses coffee beans. When the coffee cherry is ripe, it turns red and the coffee bean is extracted and the coffee cherry skin is then used for supplementation.  The coffee cherry that Neuriva uses is non-caffeinated and  is sourced from farms that are certified by the Rainforest Alliance, which maintains standards for environmental, social, & economical sustainability.   Whole coffee fruit powder has been shown in double-blind tests to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor, also known as BDNF.  BDNF is a protein that is associated with cognitive improvement.   Coffee cherry is a very important brain protein that is essential for the health of our neurons. In short, it helps keep our brains young and healthy despite us getting older and less sharp.

Start assessing your skills and building your brain fitness routine
Download the free Neuriva Brain Gym (an app powered by Cognifit) from the App Store or Google Play to start assessing your skills and building our brain fitness routine.   (I downloaded it from App Store on Apple.)

Following  is some additional research that I have done on Neuriva, to help you make up your mind about Neuriva.

According to an article on Neuriva.usNeuriva is the best brain supplement for brain health and memory,   one of the best nootropic supplements that are available on the market today. Every nootropic supplement, which includes Neuriva, is used to enhance the mental functionality and improve the factors like the concentration level. In particular, Neuriva is introduced to support brain functions in terms of memory, learning, concentration, and precision. Neuriva is a natural nootropic and comes in capsule form.

The best brain supplement for brain health and memory
Neuriva is one of the best nootropic supplements that are available in the market. Every nootropic supplement, which includes the Neuriva, is used to enhance the mental functionality and improve the factors like the concentration level. In particular, Neuriva is introduced to support brain functions in terms of memory, learning, concentration, and precision. Neuriva is a natural nootropic and comes in capsule form.

Do you want to provide your brain an extra boost?
If you want to provide your brain an extra boost, try Neuriva’s brain supplement for a few months to get the best results. Neuriva, which was introduced by Schiff Vitamins, promotes these indicators of mental performance (improvement in concentration level, as well as improvement in memory and learning). The natural ingredients of the supplement are GMO-free and help improve brain functions. This supplement is used by millions of people and they have noticed a considerable improvement in their mental functionality.

Accompanying Brain Training Program
Neuriva Brain Supplement comes with an individual brain training program that identifies certain areas of cognitive improvement based on personal reviews. Then 14 mind games and five training programs are specifically selected to satisfy the individual needs. The supplement also includes score information and analysis, which helps the consumers to monitor the progress of cognitive ability compared to the supplement and a benchmarking with other users.

Why Neuriva?
There is a wide range of health supplements available in the market. You must be thinking why should you go for Neuriva? Well, have a look at the major reasons to use this excellent mental health supplement below:

  • The supplement has been delivering the best results when it comes to improved concentration for the people of all age groups.
  • Enhanced memory.
  • Better “precision”.
  • Increase in the concentration level.

This is the standard set of benefits that each and every consumer expect from a nootropic. Obviously, some stacks go on and provide mood support, protection for brain cells, or long-term support for brain adaptation. But only the most complete nootropics cover all these aspects. And, Neuriva has been delivering the same for a good time now.

 

According to another article, entitled “Neuriva Brain Performance: Exclusive Review & Rating (2020)” on supplementstephen.com/neuriva, the author gives Neuriva a high rating, stating the following:

Neuriva Is An Overall Solid Product
Neuriva is an approachable introduction into the world of nootropics. With straightforward ingredients & a credible company that makes it, Neuriva is an overall solid product.

Neuriva’s Ingredients and Benefits
Neuriva is an overall solid product, and an approachable introduction into nootropics because it  combines:

Phosphatidylserine  [described earlier in this blog]
Coffee Cherry)  [described earlier in this blog]
Non-caffeinated ingredients (stimulant free)
Clinically proven ingredients
Small number of ingredients
Produced by a Reputable company
Comes in both gummy & pill form
GMO Free & Vegetarian

Brain Training
What is unusual about Neuriva Brain Supplement?

The company offers the customers a free individual brain training that identifies certain areas of cognitive improvement based on personal reviews. Then 14 mind games and five training programs are specifically selected to satisfy the individual needs. The supplement also includes score information and analysis, which helps the consumers to monitor the progress of cognitive ability compared to the supplement and a benchmarking with other users.

Neuriva Brain Performance Experts
To educate and spread awareness among the people regarding brain health,  NEURIVA  has created a network of respected, multidisciplinary experts in brain health and nutrition. The team is composed up of holistic doctors, researchers, dietitians and cooks,  who want to offer ongoing support and resources, from simple tips to brain-healthy recipes.   As part of its efforts, the group will also help identify additional research opportunities to better understand the role of vital nutrients in the brain.

How Does Neuriva Work?
Cambridge gives us an idea of ​​how this product could benefit the brain of the consumers. They conducted a study on one of the ingredients of this product: coffee extract. They found that coffee extract can effectively affect the brain protein termed as a neurotrophic factor (BDNF for short). BDNF is necessary and an important element for learning and memory.

If more plasma BDNF is introduced into the brain from which neuropathic factor has been removed, this can lead to better cognitive function. Cambridge tested 4 extracts: Whole Coffee Concentrate Powder (WCFC), Green Coffee Caffeine Powder, Grape Seed Extract Powder, and Green Coffee Bean Extract to determine and know the blood levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Is Neuriva Safe To Consume?
The ingredients in Neuriva are purely herbal and are usually considered safe.
   Very few side effects have been reported.  Although reports of side effects are rare, a few users have reported some degree of jitteriness.

There are hundreds of positive reviews for Neuriva.

 

PROS AND Cons:

Pros:

There is a wide range of health supplements available in the market. You must be thinking why should you go for Neuriva?  Well, have a look at the major reasons to use this excellent mental health supplement below:

It includes two of the best nootropics around, ingredients of very high quality:

Phosphatidylserine, which supports focus, memory, learning, accuracy and concentration,

Whole coffee fruit powder (which has been shown in double-blind tests to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor, also known as BDNF).   BDNF is a protein that is associated with cognitive improvement. Coffee Cherry helps keep our brains young and healthy despite us getting older and less sharp.

Studies prove that the phosphatidylserine ingredient does not produce noticeable side effects to consumers of any age.

Neuriva has been delivering the best results since the first day of its introduction to the market.

The supplement has been delivering the best results when it comes to improving  concentration for people of all age groups.

I have been taking Neuriva for some time now, and notice improvement in concentration and memory.

 

Cons:
Some of the things to watch out for when consuming this supplement:

The coffee ingredient in the supplement (coffee cherry), although from a pure source, may cause some people to feel a little jittery, although the makers of Neuriva claim to use only non-caffeinated ingredients. 

 

If you want to purchase this product, click here  to be taken to the seller’s website.  You can buy it directly from there.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Does Playing a Musical Instrument Make You Smarter?

Material for this blog comes from a recent article I just read entitled  “Does Playing a Musical Instrument Make You Smarter?” – written by Christopher Bergland for Psychology Today.

Albert Einstein began playing the violin at age 6.  By age 13, he was playing Mozart’s sonatas.

 

Musical Training Improves Executive Functions
A new study from Boston Children’s Hospital found a correlation between musical training and improved cognitive abilities in both children and adults.  Previous studies have identified a link between musical training and cognitive abilities, but few have looked specifically at the effects of early musical training on executive function (which includes cognitive flexibility, working memory and processing speed).

Adult musicians and musically trained children in the new Boston study showed enhanced performance on several aspects of executive functioning.

 

As stated in the Psychology Today article:  “Executive functions (EF) are described as high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviors, make good choices, solve problems, plan, and adjust to changing mental demands.  Another component of EF is having cognitive flexibility as represented by the ability to adjust to novel or changing tasks on demand.”

The Boston study concluded that children and adults with extensive musical training showed enhanced executive function when compared to non-musicians, especially for cognitive flexibility, working memory, and processing speed.

 

Musical Training Might Improve Academic Achievement
The neuroscientists used functional MRI brain imaging in their controlled study to reveal a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning.  Executive functioning is a strong predictor of academic achievement.

 

Three Brain Benefits of Musical Training
1.  Musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight.

2.  Beginning musical training before the age of seven has the greatest impact. The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult.

3.  Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, resulting in less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the brain (the  supplementary motor area, pre-supplementary area, and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex).

Scientists have found that musical training can increase the blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain, suggesting that the areas responsible for music and language might share common brain pathways.

 

Musical Training Increases Blood Flow to the Brain
A study from the University of Liverpool  (conducted in May 2014) found that musical training can increase the blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain.  This finding suggests that the areas responsible for music and language might share common brain pathways.

The researchers noted that children who play a musical instrument may already have executive functioning abilities that somehow attract them to music and predispose them to stick with their lessons.

 

Pros and Cons: 

Pros:   Having been a pianist all my life, I can attest to the fact that musical training improves the brain, from executive function to academic achievement.  I’m in total agreement with the article in Psychology Today.  My advice would be to learn a new musical instrument, or learn a new musical composition on the instrument that you already know how to play.  And enjoy all your firing neurons!  Neuroscientists in another recent study have shown that all your brain neurons fire when you play a musical instrument!  So why not impress all your friends and do your brain a big favor at the same time?

Cons:   None that I can think of.

 

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15 Board Games That Make You Smarter

Material for this blog comes from a recent scientific article I just read entitled  “15 games that might make you smarter just by playing them”, written by the Insider Picks team for Business Insider.

To this article, I have added knowledge from various other research sources, to make this blog into a research report you can really truly benefit from reading.

Note:  The Business Insider  article refers to them as “games that rely on your strategic, critical-thinking, and imaginative abilities, games that challenge you to develop your mental skills in a fun and engaging way”.

These are board games that challenge you to think differently, imagine and solve ever-changing problems.  They are a particularly valuable use of your time because they sharpen your mental abilities.

Here they are:

Lumosity Brain-Training App, free to download

To find my review of Lumosity, see my blog entitled:  “Discover What Your Mind Can Do”.

As stated in Business Insider, “Lumosity is a well-known name in the ‘brain-training’ game. It’s used by over 85 million people worldwide and offers 30+ brain games to give your mind a workout. You can track your scores to see improvement over time and compare your own against the scores of other people. The ease of the app is supposed to make building a brain training habit easy.”

Lumosity challenges you to think differently, imagine and solve ever-changing problems, a valuable use of your time. It sharpens your mental abilities.

 

Mose Cafolo – Chinese Mahjong Game Set

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $57.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Mahjong is a cognitive game. Researchers in Hong Kong say that mahjong is a viable treatment for dementia, according to the Tech Archive website. Mahjong requires players to use attention, memory, planning and calculation skills.

This game of intelligence requires concentration. Mahjong is a difficult game to learn and master, but once you do, your ability to excel in the game is limitless, according to the University of Maryland.

 

Hasbro Scrabble Crossword Game

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $15.97 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

As stated in the Business Insider article:  “If you want to increase your confidence with words, quickness of thought, or you just want to expand your vocabulary, Scrabble is a shoe-in for the job. The ever-changing mix of words available to you in addition to those made by your opponent can sharpen your thinking and turn you into the sort of wordsmith who doesn’t need to check the dictionary to see if they really did just play a real word or not. “

The following are 10 other benefits from playing Scrabble, according to an article in Aha-Now – Discover Happiness.

Scrabble teaches you the vocabulary.
Scrabble helps develop your intellectual abilities.
Scrabble teaches you strategy.
Scrabble encourages social cooperation and bonding.
Scrabble helps improve your emotional well-being and personal confidence.
Scrabble improves creativity. Scrabble develops concentration.
Scrabble fosters learning through creative play. Scrabble helps boosts the immune system. Scrabble makes you happy.

Research has shown that playing word games also aids in developing cognitive capacity and that regular cognitive exercises have been proven to delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other types of dementia.

 

400+ Sudoku Puzzles

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $6.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

 

Sudoku is one game, like crossword puzzles and riddles, that increases neuroplasticity and makes you smarter. With increased neuroplasticity, you are better able to view something from multiple angles, better able to anticipate and understand new patterns.

Here are a few observations from an Article Entitled:  “Surprising Benefits of Playing Sudoku for Brain Health”, published by DrHealthBenefits:

Sudoku Improves Memory:  It is known that playing Sudoku is good for improving the memory health. It is based on a research done at Trinity College in Dublin found that mental stimulation over puzzles like crosswords and Sudokus can help ward off the decline in brain function.

Promotes Brain Cells:  It is known that playing Sudoku is good for improving the memory health. It is based on a research done at Trinity College in Dublin found that mental stimulation over puzzles like crosswords and Sudoku can help ward off the decline in brain function.

Promotes Thinking Skill:  One of the benefits of playing Sudoku for brain health is to promote thinking skill. You can get this benefit while you practicing your logical thinking process when you are solving a puzzle.

Keeps Your Mind Sharp:  Sudoku can give a positive effect to the brain health. Indeed, this game makes your mind sharp. It allows your brain to exercise.

Boosts Concentration: Many people feel it hard to concentrate.  By having to concentrate on how to fill in the blanks, Sudoku let you think strategically and solve problems creatively.

Makes You Happy:  One of the ways of creating happiness is by playing games.  You can play this game with friends, families, and colleagues.

Reduces Risks of Alzheimer’s:  Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that attacks the brain.  Research has shown that playing Sudoku can help reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s due to the brain training and exercise it provides.  Sudoku improves memory and concentration.   It gives you the ability to think, learn, and remember, thus preventing the risks of brain problems.

Boosts Energy:  Having more energy to do daily activities can be achieved by playing Sudoku.

 

The Business Insider article mentions the  “FitBrains Trainer App by Rosetta Stone”,  but it is no longer available.

 

Of course!  The greatest collection of  Riddles and Brain Teasers for Expanding the Mind

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $9.95 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Riddles are another great way to increase neuroplasticity and help your brain recognize new possibilities. Thinking creatively and dexterously to solve a word puzzle only helps you keep up with your own creativity.

 

Rubik’s Cube Game

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $12.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Billions of combinations, only one solution.

World’s best-selling and most famous puzzle.

To keep your brain active in a productive way, play with a Rubik’sCube.   It will improve your concentration, allow you to process your own thoughts faster, improve your hand-eye coordination and help you improve your short-term memory.

 

Ultimate Mind Games: With Over 400 Puzzles

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $5.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Fun games like puzzles and crosswords are a great way to relieve and mitigate stress, by providing similarly challenging situations popping up in real life.  Puzzles like these help you develop critical thinking, improve memory, and enhance visual perception.

 

Adacio Latice Board Game

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price: $99.93 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Latice is a new classic strategy board game for 2-4 players: you win by being the first to play all of your tiles.  Perfect for adults, small parties, kids (ages 6+ years) or families, fun for everyone!

Simple rules that combine into surprisingly deep strategies as you learn the game. 3 minutes to learn, 20 minutes to play, a lifetime to master

Strategy board games like Latice help develop cognitive and spatial recognition, as well as planning and interpersonal skills.

 

Family Classic Chess

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $8.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Chess is a two-player strategy game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid.  It is a game that can help bolster strategic thought and critical thinking in any age group, keeping the mind deft and nimble for older players and honing young kids to use critical skills with ease.

 

Monopoly Board Game, classic edition

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $15.97 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Monopoly presents  real-life problems and challenges without any of the real-life stress. Improve your creativity and strategy by buying, selling and trading across the board in competition with others.

Buy, sell, dream and scheme your way to riches.

Players buy, sell and trade to win.

Build houses and hotels on your properties and bankrupt your opponents to win it all.

Chance and Community Chest cards can change everything.

 

Ticket to Ride United States of America

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $69.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Bundled with the Again Products Guarantee:  An authentic, real, and new product.
For 2 to 5 Players

Like Monopoly, Ticket to Ride gives you the ability to make real-life decisions without pressure, ensuring creativity and helping you develop your mental abilities. The game enacts a 7-day cross-country train adventure with all its challenges.

 

Codenames  Board Game

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $38.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

Codenames is a challenging social word game. Two Spymasters who alone know their agents’ real names give one-word clues to their respective teammates in the hopes that the team will be able to correctly coordinate a list of code names to their real names.

 

Yuekon Metal IQ Puzzle Set

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  7.99 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

These metal wire puzzles are satisfying fun for everyone.  Use your logic, creative thinking and patience to work on the puzzles. Much like the Rubik’s Cube, you’ll be working quickly with your hands in conjunction with your thought, improving your short term memory as you work.

 

SEQUENCE- Original SEQUENCE Game

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $16.97 (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

 

Play a card from your hand and place a chip on a corresponding space on the game board.  When you have five in a row, it’s a SEQUENCE.

Each player or team tries to score the required number of five-card SEQUENCES before their opponents.

For 2-12 players.

Sequence is “easy enough for children, challenging for adults”!

Sequence uses a sequence to outsmart opponents. You’ll learn to block opponents and employ strategy and luck, as well as create multiple backup plans throughout the course of the game.

 

Snippets – The Fast Paced, Anything Goes Word Game

Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $19.99  (price may vary from day to day, due to sales, etc)

 

Snippets is a fast-paced word game.  Write down as many words as you can in 60 seconds that contain the round’s snippet! A “snippet” is a short sequence of letters that can be found as a whole within one or more words.

Unlike other word games that limit answers to dictionary words, anything goes in Snippets!  Proper nouns, slang, and even non-English words are all fair game! And with only 60 seconds to think, everyone’s answers will be equally hilarious.

 

Pros and cons:

Pros:  My readers know me well enough to know that I’m all in favor of any games that strengthen the mind.

Cons:  Personally, I prefer games that I can play by myself, because I don’t always have another person(s) available to play.   But this is an individual preference.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn small fees from qualifying purchases.

 

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Working Online From Home Stimulates The Brain

Attention all retirees or about-to-retire individuals:  Want to hear the best way to work from home, create a passive income stream, and keep your brain active at the same time?      

How does working from home online sound to you?  All you need is your computer and an internet connection.   Pretty good, huh!   It’s called “Affiliate Marketing”.   The objective is to create a passive income stream while  keeping your mind active, and a lot of retirees are doing it successfully.

 

What is Affiliate Marketing
Here is the definition of affiliate marketing, according to Investopedia

“Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company.

The Internet has increased the prominence of affiliate marketing.  Amazon popularized the practice by creating an affiliate marketing program whereby websites and bloggers put links to the Amazon page for a reviewed or discussed product to receive advertising fees when a purchase is made.  In this sense, affiliate marketing is essentially a pay for performance marketing program where the act of selling is outsourced across a vast network.

Fast Fact:  According to Business Insider, 15% of e-commerce revenue can be attributed to affiliate marketing.”

 

If you want to explore this further, you might want to check out the Wealthy Affiliate program.  Wealthy Affiliate trains you to become a successful affiliate marketer.  The web is full of affiliate marketing opportunities, now more than ever, because 6 million people at any one time are searching for stuff all over the internet.

Read all about it on their website.

Conclusions:
Following my three-year search for true, time-tested ways to create a passive income stream,  I have come to the conclusion that Affiliate Marketing is the way to accomplish this, and Wealthy Affiliate is the best training program for affiliate marketers  (it teaches you how to be a successful Affiliate Marketer, and teaches you Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as WordPress website building).  In other words, everything you need to know to make good money as an Affiliate Marketer.

Creative endeavors and learning stimulate the brain
In addition to providing me with a way to create a passive income stream, the fact of creating a continuous content-rich online blog keeps my brain stimulated.

Furthermore, any new learning is a new neural connection, and Wealthy Affiliate offers all kinds of new learning experiences related to internet marketing, social marketing, website building, SEO optimization, etc.

A winning combination, to say the least!

Learning the Wealthy Affiliate course has been a godsend.  It has kept my brain active and has kept me occupied during this coronavirus pandemic.

Working stimulates the brain
Wealthy Affiliate is perfectly suited to the intellectual and emotional needs of the retired or about-to-retire person.  The Wealthy Affiliate training is very comprehensive, and very stimulating, which is good for the brain.  Working makes you feel like a contributing member of society.  Plus the extra money from commissions is always welcome, especially for retired people on a fixed income.  Emotional needs are satisfied thru the many opportunities to communicate with other Wealthy Affiliate members.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

 

 

 

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COVID-19 And Your Brain

This is a review of a recent scientific article I just read entitled  “COVID-19 and your brain:  6 ways to control the damage to your mental health”, in World Economic Forum.

The scientists at PMHW (Primary Mental Health Workers) have identified 6 biotypes (each distinctive biotype indicating the ways that different brain circuits get disrupted or stuck.)  Because of the involvement of brain circuits, the identification of Biotypes can be a step toward learning how your brain functions.  Because of COVID-19, you might be stuck in one of 6 “biotypes”.

  • Our brain circuits have been affected by COVID-19, with some functions under strain.
  • Chronic stress is most damaging, resulting in tendencies to ruminate, have negative bias and an alarmist sense of threat, emotional numbness, inattention and cognitive fog.
  • These patterns can be broken by training the brain to behave differently.

As demonstrated by this scientific study, there is no doubt that the stress associated with COVID-19 has a deleterious effect on your brain.   Brain circuits are like sections of an orchestra; they are composed of many individual brain cells and perform diverse functions on their own, yet must operate in concert with each other to create a harmonious mind. Among the most damaging influences on these circuits is chronic stress.

How to Deal with chronic stress on your circuits
Chronic stress on your circuits can be the first step toward clinical depression or an anxiety disorder. Scientists at the Stanford Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness (PMHW) have discovered cutting-edge techniques to understand how brain circuits make us who we are – and what happens when they go awry.  They have identified 6 “biotypes” (indicating the different ways that brain circuits can get disrupted or stuck.)  If you recognize yourself in a biotype, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a diagnosis of clinical depression. But it can be a step toward learning how your brain functions.  Following are the six biotypes, together with tips on how to deal with their deleterious effects.

Rumination
Characterized by a general tendency to worry and “ruminate” on negative thoughts from your inner voice. Limit exposure to news and other information that causes cycles of worry.

Tips:  If you find yourself overwhelmed by news, limit yourself to a single, trusted news digest.
Schedule “worry time”, creating a sense of control and limiting impact on activities important for mental health, including sleep, meaningful discussion and exercise.

Negative Bias
A tendency to dwell on the negative aspects of your experience associated with the over-activation of the brain’s negative affect circuit that, when functioning optimally, helps us detect risk and appraise negative emotion but does not generate negative biases.

An inability to take pleasure in activities that usually give you joy and purpose or feeling like you’re “going through the motions”.  Surround yourself with positive stimulation to engage your brain’s reward network.  Light your favorite scented candle, surround yourself with images of loved ones, and look for opportunities to connect with others.

Tips:
Make a conscious effort to seek out good news. After reading grim statistics, take a moment to recall a positive memory.

Threat Response
 Automatic reactions that are activated when the brain’s negative affect circuit is put into “alarm mode” by threatening situations (real or perceived, immediate or remembered, physical and social) and which are hard to switch off when the sense of threat persists.   Characterized by the body going into “alarm mode” and having difficulty switching it off.

Tips:  Try limiting exposure to stimuli that are overwhelming and focusing on normal routines to establish a sense of control and create stability.  Avoid stimuli that are activating, such as alarming media sources. Over time, gradually increase exposure to necessary stimuli.

Emotional Numbness
Unable to take pleasure in activities that usually bring you joy, associated with reduced activation in the brain’s positive affect circuits that previously responded to rewarding events, activities and memories.

Tips:
Use sources of stimulation to engage the brain’s reward network – finding pleasant smells for the home, playing favorite music, and surrounding oneself with positive images.

Inattention
Difficulty concentrating and staying focused associated with disruptions in the connectivity of the brain’s attention circuit.

Characterized by an inability to stay focused.  Break down your to-do list so you can focus on one item at a time.  Write down the one you want to accomplish first and only expand the list once the item is complete.

Tips:
Break down your tasks and decide which you want to achieve in that hour or day. Write it down. Expand the list only once that task is done.

Cognitive Fog
Brain may feel foggy, reflecting reduced activation in the cognitive control circuit (the brain’s “executive”).  Characterized by the brain felling foggy, rather than sharp.

Tips:
Give yourself permission to rest, and allow your brain plasticity to catch up, acknowledging that it’s normal for your brain to get tired amidst the rapid changes COVID-19 has introduced into your lifestyle.

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is causing chronic stress for many of us.  It is hoped that the tips contained in this article will be of some help to anyone experiencing it.

 

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Left Brain and Right Brain Puzzles

This is a review of “Brain Games – Puzzles:  Left Brain Right Brain”
Dated:  September 4 , 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $8.00 (spiral-bound)

What This Book Is All About
This book contains a good deal of information about how different parts of the brain work and how to stretch different parts of your brain.

How accurate are left-brained and right-brained categories?
Do you consider yourself left-brained or right-brained?  Like most people, you’re probably familiar with the concept – the left brain is associated with logic, reasoning and math skills, while the right brain is associated with creativity.  A musician or artist is expected to be right-brained, while an accountant is expected to be left-brained.  These are simple categories to understand but are they accurate?  As it turns out, the way your brain works is pretty complex – and fascinating:

The Way The Brain Works
We know that, while the various parts of the brain work together, each seems to have its areas of expertise:

The hindbrain is in charge of essential, automatic body functions (hearbeat, blood pressure, and breathing).

The cerebellum also controls and coordinates voluntary movements, balance and posture.

The midbrain controls reflex actions involving vision and hearing.

The forebrain (the largest part of the human brain) consists of the cerebrum and important structures such as the thalamus, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland attached to it.  Because the pituitary gland controls most of the hormones in the body, the hypothalamus is thought to have a major influence on hormone-regulated drives such as hunger, thirst, and sexual desire.

It is the cerebrum part of the brain that distinguishes us from all other living creatures on the planet.  It makes us better problem solvers and decision makers.

The Technologies Used to Get Knowledge of the Brain
We the following technologies to thank for our current understanding of the brain:

fMRI:   functional magnetic resonance imaging

PET:   positron emission tomography

Both fMRI and PET scans work on the theory that blood flow increases in areas of the brain that are currently most engaged (cells that are hard at work need more oxygen and glucose).

In fMRI, a strong magnetic field is used to identify the parts of the brain that are using the most oxygen.  In a PET scan, a trace amount of radioactive glucose is injected into the bloodstream, that the brain cells that are working hardest take up more of the glucose.  In both cases, the most active brain areas appear highlighted in bright colors.

About The Cerebrum
The cerebrum’s thin, gray, convoluted outer layer is called the cerebral cortex.  Its gray color comes from the nerve cells in this layer of tissue.  The majority of the brain’s information processing goes on in the cerebral cortex.

The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres by a deep fissure.  These two halves are often referred to as the right and left sides of the brain, and they constantly communicate with each other via the corpus callosum.  The nerve fibers  that lead out of the two hemispheres, cross one another in the brain stem on their way to the spinal cord.  Because of this, each of these cerebral hemispheres controls functions on the opposite side of the body.

Each of the cerebral hemispheres can be divided into sections referred to as lobes, and each of these lobes controls a different group of functions.

Frontal lobes control self-awareness and personality.  They are the primary seat of reasoning, planning and problem-solving ar.  They also keep behavior in check.

Parietal lobes  accept and process input from the body’s senses, these are important for written language skills.  They allow us to perceive spatial relations.

Occipital lobes  process information from the eyes.  They allow us to see and recognize we’re seeing, to perceive color and depth, and to track objects in our visual field.

Temporal lobes  allow us to perceive and recognize sound, give us the ability to understand spoken language and appreciate music.  They are also vital to regulating emotion, remembering, reasoning and learning.

Lateralization of brain function
The tendency for cognitive processes to be specialized to one side of the brain or the other.

Do the lobes on the left side of the brain lend themselves better to logical thinking?  Do people tend to use one side of their brain more than the other?  Yes and no.  Sometimes one hemisphere processes things differently than the other hemisphere.  This specialization is called lateralization.   However, it’s also true that both sides of the brain are constantly working together, communicating over the corpus callosum.   Some of the characteristics we think of as “left brained” or “right brained” don’t correlate neatly with a specific hemisphere.

For instance, math skills are popularly associated with the left brain.  However, the right brain is also important for math, particularly when it comes to measuring quantities.

The left brain is commonly considered the verbal side of the brain.  However, the right brain also plays a crucial part in understanding language (interpreting tone and intonation, for example).

To Sum It Up
In a healthy brain, both parts of your brain work together on a wide array of cognitive skills, both logical and creative, verbal and non-verbal.  In a healthy brain, there is a lot of communication between the two hemispheres of the brain.

Plasticity and Change
Plasticityis defined in the dictionary  as  having  the quality or state of being plastic, having the capacity for being molded or altered” In other words, Plasticity refers to the way the brain is able to change as a result of experience.    The brain as a whole is not static:  It changes as you learn!

By experiencing  something repeatedly – saying a name or phone number, for instance, seeing a face, making a recipe over and over again – we learn it.  How does the brain commit something to memory?  When we experience something, a specific pattern of nerve cells, synapses and neurotransmitters activated.  With each repetition the participating cells and synapses begin to change, becoming better at  relaying the signal.  In time, the pattern becomes encoded in a well-worn path through the forest of neurons in the brain.  Research has shown that actual physical changes occur in the brain as a result of learning:

As a result of learning, there is an Increase in
The development of new nerve cells;

The number and size of synapses;

The amount of myelin insulation protecting the axon of nerve cells, especially in the bundle of nerves allowing the right and left sides of the brain to communicate;

The number of tiny blood vessels that supply certain areas of the brain.

The lesson for us
By exposing ourselves to new things and actively seeking more varied experiences on an ongoing basis, we can maintain and even enhance our brain’s mental resources and our cognitive abilities.

Modern neuroscience has established that our brain is a far more elastic organ than was previously thought.  In the past it was believed that an adult brain could only lose nerve cells (neurons) and couldn’t acquire new ones.  Today we know that new neurons (and new connections between neurons) continue to develop throughout life, even well into advanced age.  We can harness the powers of plasticity to protect and even enhance our minds at every stage of life.  Recent scientific research demonstrates that the brain responds to mental stimulation much like muscles respond to physical exercise.  You have to give your brain a workout.     The nature of your mental activities influences where in the brain this growth takes place.  Different cognitive challenges exercise different components of the brain.

What these research findings show…
Our behavior directly influences and changes the structure of the brain.  It is true that any more or less complex cognitive function – be it memory, attention perception, decision making, or problem solving – relies on a whole network of brain regions rather than on a single region.

Conclusion
It is important to have a rich, challenging, and diverse mental life.  The more vigorous and varied your cognitive activities, the more efficiently they’ll protect your mind from decline.

What You’ll Find in this Book
As you work on the puzzles in this book, pat yourself on the back!  The book has a wide variety of puzzles to stimulate both your left brain and your right brain.  You’ll tackle puzzles that focus on:   Memory puzzles, language puzzles, number-based puzzles, visual mind-stretchers.   You’ll exercise your logic, creative thinking, verbal skills, and more.

Pros:  I like the idea of exercising both my Left Brain and my Right Brain.  With Brain Games – Puzzles:  Left Brain Right Brain, I give my brain a workout.  I find the idea very intriguing.

Cons:  I can’t see any.

 

If you want to purchase this book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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How To Lower Your Brain Age

Review of Brain Games #1:  Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day (Volume 1)
Date:  August 29, 2020
Best place to buy:  Amazon.com
Price:  $8.69  (spiral-bound)

This book was developed to help readers increase their memory, sharpen their reasoning, and expand their creative thinking.

Your mind is your most important asset
It is more important than your house, your bank account, and your stock portfolio…  What can you do to sharpen your mid and protect it from decline?…We turn to cutting-edge research for the answers to this question.

Protect and enhance your brainpower
As discovered by modern-day neuroscience, our brain is a far more elastic organ than was previously thought.  In the past it was believed that an adult brain could only lose nerve cells (neurons) and couldn’t acquire new ones.  Today we know that new neurons – as well as new connections between neurons – continue to develop throughout our lives and even well into advanced age.  This process is called neuroplasticity.   The brain is a very complex organ with different parts in charge of different mental functions.  Thus, different cognitive challenges exercise different components of the brain.   We know this from research experiments  created from real-life circumstances and neuroimaging.  Some say that such technologies  as MRI  have  done for our understanding of the brain what the invention of the telescope has done for our understanding of the planetary systems.

Did you know…?
Research has demonstrated that certain areas  of the brain exhibit an increased size in those who use those parts of the brain more than most people.   For example, researchers found that the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for spatial memory),  was larger than usual in London cab drivers who have to navigate and remember complex routes in a huge city.  Similarly, studies revealed that Heschl’s  gyrus,  a part of the temporal lobe of the brain involved in processing music, is larger in professional musicians than in musically untrained people.  And the angular gyrus, the part of the brain involved in language, proved to be larger in bilingual individuals than in those who speak only one language.   See my blog entitled “The Origins of Brain Training“.

The size of the brain enlargement was directly related to the amount of time each person spent in the activities that rely on the part of the brain in question, showing that cognitive activity directly influences the structures of the brain by stimulating the effects of neuroplasticity.

Diversify your mental workout
It is also true that any more or less complex cognitive function – memory, attention, perception, decision-making, problem-solving – relies on a whole network of brain regions rather than on a single region.

The more vigorous and varied your cognitive challenges, the more efficiently and effectively they will protect your mind from decline.  Your cognitive workout will benefit more from a greater variety of exercises than from doing only crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

The puzzle selection in this book has been guided by these considerations – the roles played by the brain’s different  parts in the overall orchestra of your mental life.   Diverse mental activity is the best treatment for protecting and enhancing your mind.

The publishers of this book have assembled as wide a range of puzzles as possible, offering your mind a full workout.  There is a range of difficulty for every puzzle type, producing an ideal  Cognitive workout regimen.  In any one cognitive workout session, have fun by mixing puzzles of different kinds.  This book offers enough puzzle variety to make this possible.

Research has proven
…that people engaged in mental activities as a result of their education and vocation are less likely to develop dementia as they age.   In fact, many of these people demonstrate impressive mental alertness well into their eighties and nineties.

It is important for you to find the “challenge zone” that is appropriate for you.

Stretch your mind
The degree of effectiveness of puzzles as brain conditioners is not the same for all types of puzzles.  Some puzzles only test your knowledge of facts.  Although such puzzles may be enjoyable and useful in conditioning your brain, they are not as useful as those requiring you to transform and manipulate information or do something with it by logic, multistep inference, mental rotation, planning and so on.   These  are more likely to give you the feeling of mental exertion, of “stretching the mind”, thus better for your brain health.

Stay Sharp
Cognitive decline frequently sets in with aging, often affecting  certain kinds of memory and certain aspects of attention and decision-making.  So it is particularly important to introduce cognitive exercise into your lifestyle as you age to counteract any possible cognitive decline.  Cognitive exercise is also important for the young and the middle-aged.  We live in a world that depends increasingly on the brain rather than the brawn.  It is most important to be sharp in order to get ahead in your career and to remain at the top of your game.

How often should I exercise my mind and for how long?
Think of it as in terms of an ongoing lifestyle change and not just a short-time commitment.  Regularity is key .  Do these exercises regularly.  The results are best when cognitive exercise becomes a lifelong habit.

Exercises increase in difficulty
The exercises get increasingly more difficult as you progress through the book.  Included in the collection are puzzles of every type:  anagrams, crosswords, cryptograms, drawing exercises, language, logic and math puzzles, mazes, memory, observation and perspective puzzles, sequencing, visual logic puzzles, and word searches.    Puzzle solutions are provided in the book’s final section.

Have fun doing these puzzles
Now that you’re aware of the great mental workout that awaits you in this book, the publishers hope that you’ll find these puzzles FUN.    You’ll discover that, by cracking them, you have been training and improving your mind. 

ENJOY YOUR BRAIN WORKOUT AND GET SMARTER IN THE PROCESS! 

Pros:  I’m a firm believer in exercising my mind and I have obtained great results doing that!  Brain Games – Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day contains printed exercises, which some might prefer to online exercises.

Cons:  None that I can think of.

 

If you want to purchase this book, go ahead and click on this link to get to the merchant’s website.  You can purchase the book right there on the merchant’s website.

 

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases.  You will not pay more when buying through this site.

 

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Can Brain Training Work?

Material for this blog comes from a recent article published on SharpBrains.com entitled “Can brain training work?  Yes, if it meets these 5 conditions“.   It is an adapted excerpt from the new book  “SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age” (April 2013; 284 pages).  This user-friendly and thought-provoking how-to guide cuts through the clutter of media hype about the latest “magic pill” for better brain health, offering proven, practical tips and techniques that anyone can use to maintain and enhance brain function throughout life and even ward off cognitive decline.

Under what conditions can brain training work?
In a modern society we are confronted with a wide range of increasingly abstract and interconnected problems. Successfully dealing with such an environment requires a highly fit brain, capable of adapting to new situations and challenges throughout life. Because of this,  we expect cross-training the brain to soon become as mainstream as cross-training the body is today.

How is brain training different from mental stimulation?
Anything we do involving novelty, variety, and challenge stimulates the brain and can contribute to building capacity and brain reserve.
For instance, learning how to play the piano activates a number of brain functions (attention, memory, motor skills, etc.), which triggers changes in the underlying neuronal networks. Indeed, musicians have larger brain volume in areas that are important for playing an instrument: motor, auditory and visuospatial regions. However, we need to recognize that such an activity may take thousands of hours before paying off in terms of brain fitness.   It constitutes a great and pleasurable mental effort, and helps build cognitive reserve, but it is different by nature from more targeted, efficient, and complementary brain training interventions.   I should know.  I’m a musician, and although the mental effort that I expended learning to play the piano to perfection helped build my cognitive reserve, it was certainly different from any targeted, efficient, and complementary brain training interventions that I ever experienced.

Under what conditions can brain training work?
This is the million dollar question.
Why do we still often hear that brain training does not work? Because of the different understandings of what “brain training” and “work” mean.

Brain training must transfer to benefits in daily life
The most critical factor in determining whether a brain training method or program works is the extent to which the training effects “transfer” to benefits in daily life. For instance, practice usually triggers improvement in the practiced task. Based on analysis of dozens of documented examples of brain training techniques that “work” or “transfer,” it is proposed that five conditions must be met for any kind of brain training, from meditation to technology-based programs, to translate into meaningful real world improvements:

Specifically, for brain training to work, it must meet the following  five conditions:

It must engage and exercise a core brain-based capacity or neural circuit identified to be relevant to real-life outcomes.  Three examples of Core brain-based capacities
:  executive attention, working memory, speed of processing and emotional regulation.  Many supposed “brain training” games fail to provide any actual “brain training” because they were never really designed to target specific and relevant brain functions.

It must target a performance bottleneck
A critical question to ask is:    Which brain function do I need to optimize?   The question becomes: Is the goal to optimize these cognitive skills?   Concentration? Memory?   Regulating stress and emotions?  If you need to train your executive functions, for example, but use a program designed to enhance speed of processing, you may well conclude that this program does not “work.” However, this program may work for somebody whose bottleneck is speed of processing (as often happens in older adults).

A minimum “dose” of 15 hours total per targeted brain function, performed over 8 weeks or less, is necessary for real improvement
Training only a few hours across a wide variety of brain functions, such as in the “BBC brain training” experiment, should not be expected to trigger real-world benefits.

Training must adapt to performance, require effortful attention, and increase in difficulty
Consider the number of hours you have spent doing crossword or Sudoku puzzles, or mastering any new subject for that matter, in a way that was either too easy for you and became boring or way too difficult and became frustrating.

Continued practice is required for continued benefits
One-time brain training activity will not yield lifelong benefits.  Remember that “cells that that fire together wire together” .   A minimum dose of brain training activity is a threshold to start seeing some benefits.  Continued practice is a final condition for transfer to real-world benefits over time.

Conclusion
From my own experience, I can attest to the fact that brain training most certainly does work.  When you improve these cognitive skills:  concentration, memory , stress-reduction and emotions, executive functions, you can better function in life.

 

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Boost Cognitive Function At Any Age

This is a writeup on the  article that was recently published in “Being Patient” and entitled  “It’s Never Too Late:  Brain Exercise to Boost Cognition at any age”.

Age-related cognitive decline is as normal as loss of muscle mass
But just as regular exercise can keep aging bodies in shape, healthy lifestyle habits and brain exercises can slow cognitive decline and even improve cognitive functioning.    Like muscles, the brain becomes stronger with exercise even later in life.   Good sleep, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain brain health as well as body health.

Does exercising the brain work?
Being Patient” spoke with Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a neuroscientist and the medical director of NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center in McLean, Virginia, about his research and work on brain rejuvenation and rehabilitation.

Dr. Fotuhi has over 25 years of research and clinical experience at John Hopkins and Harvard Medical  School in the field of memory, aging and brain rehabilitation.

What actually happens to our brains when we make them stronger?

Your brain and its neurons
According to Dr. Fotuhi, your brain is made up of cells called neurons, and neurons have extensions which connect with other neurons. Your brain has thousands of blood vessels and capillaries that feed the neurons and the connections between them. We know for a fact that you can improve your brain function by a number of ways.

First, increase your number of neurons. When you exercise a lot, you have more neurons.  It is really incredible that you can create more neurons through vigorous exercise.

Secondly, you can make more fiber bundles, the little highways from one side of the brain to the other. The more you use your brain, the more you solidify those different parts of the brain.

Thirdly, you can have more synapses. When a neuron approaches another neuron and touches it, it provides support for communication. And the more of these synapses you have, the stronger the communication will be between neurons in different corners of your brain. If you have a lot of synapses, you can think better, you can solve more problems, you can remember better.

Grow Your Brain
As you exercise or meditate, you actually create more of these branches of blood vessels that carry more oxygen and nutrition to your brain. So those are four ways that you can literally grow your brain and make yours a healthier and stronger brain. And these things don’t require years of work to get there. “With our brain fitness program”[link], says Dr. Fotuhi, “which is actually a brain rehabilitation program, you can get results within three months.

Make Your Brain Strong
When we say that we’re making our brains stronger, what does that mean? Are we getting smarter. does it mean that our memory will be enhanced? 

Keep reading. . .

How Does Exercising the Brain Work?
According to Dr. Fotuhi:  “Your brain has different corners, different areas.  There’s a part of your brain in front that’s important for attention, concentration, and there’s a part of the brain on the side that’s important for memory.”

You can work out these different brain areas just like you can work out different muscles. When you exercise you increase blood flow, synapses and fiber bundles throughout your brain.  Therefore, exercise is helpful for all brain areas. But if you have issues with attention, then you can focus on doing targeted brain games that challenge your attention and concentration.

For example, you can memorize a deck of cards. Or you can play brain games that require you to think fast, solve problems fast, and respond fast…. Your brain has different components, and different components are related to different brain functions. If you do targeted brain training, you can improve those areas of the brain.  Dr. Fotuhi adds:  “That’s what we do here.”

How Important is Age in Rehabilitating the Brain?
Can these targeted brain games be used across all ages? Can you improve memory function and processing in kids with attention problems?

Measuring the effects of Brain Games:  do they really help?
According to Dr. Fotuhi: “Yes.  The problem with the lack of sufficient evidence that brain games help is due to the way we measure cognitive function.   Your brain is such a complex organ with so many functions that unless you look specifically as to which part of the brain you’re targeting, and which brain functions actually improve, then you won’t see results. You need to be more targeted in the deficits and the results you’re looking for.

Dr. Fotuhi adds:  “We’ve found that in our patient population of people in their 60s and 70s, 84 percent of patients had statistically significant improvements in their cognitive abilities.”

I completely agree with Dr. Fotuhi.  I have had many friends in that age group take such brain training and found that they benefitted from it.

The brain has a lot of malleability
and that malleability exists throughout life, and if you do targeted brain training in the setting of everything else—diet, exercise, sleep—you see better results.”

Are there things we can do to improve our memory today, and is there a point at which it’s too late?
According to Dr. Majid Fotuhi: “It’s absolutely not too late at all. There are lots of things that can improve your brain health and brain function. A lot of people assume that when they get older, they cannot improve their brain function, and that’s absolutely wrong.”

Your brain has a high degree of malleability, your brain has what’s called neuroplasticity, and there are many things you can do to make your brain younger by six or even 10 years.

How much of a difference does age make in the success of the program? Is it harder to improve if you start at a later age?
Dr. Fohuti’s says that his clinic obtained the best results in younger patients with milder problems. So a 63-year-old with a 30 percent decline in memory and a 40 percent decline in processing speed would have much better results after three months than an 84-year-old with 80 percent decline in memory and a 90 percent decline in processing speed.  The best time to reinvigorate your brain and develop healthy habits if you don’t have cognitive decline already is in your 40s and 50s,  says  Dr. Fotuhi.   He continues:  “But it’s never too late. I had a patient who was 79 years old, and she could memorize a list of a hundred words. So we do have patients who are older, and they may require more than three months, but their brain has plasticity. It’s not that they can’t, it just takes more effort.”

Can Brain Rehabilitation Help People with Dementia?
Is it possible to work against the disease and somehow slow it down and improve memory?  
Dr. Fotuhi states: “We have had some patients come and take part in the program even though we don’t recommend it for people with significant cognitive deficits, and the results have been interesting. We see patients become calmer.  They smile more, they sleep better.  So there are some small benefits in patients with severe cognitive deficits. But people who benefit the most are people in their 50s and 60s who have started to show cognitive deficits.”
I completely agree with Dr. Fotuhi there.  I have friends in that age group who have greatly benefitted from brain rehabilitation.

Pros:

I completely agree with Dr. Fohuti that brain training can be a great help.  I have friends in that age group (40 to 50) who have greatly benefitted from this type of brain rehabilitation, feeling that they “started brain training in the nick of time” .

Cons:

None that I can see.

 

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Coronavirus Pandemic’s Effects on the Brain

This is a review of a few scientific articles I have read lately about the Coronavirus pandemic’s effects on our brain,  and what to do about it.  Please pay particular attention to what it says about brain training.

The main article can be found by clicking this link:

http://thenextweb.com/syndication/2020/08/17/the-pandemic-has-changed-your-brain-heres-how-to-overcome-that/

According to a few articles in scientific journals,the stress associated with Coronavirus pandemic is causing changes to the hippocampus and amygdala.  But don’t let that discourage you. 

Brain training:
As stated in the main article:  “The good thing about the brain, however, is that it is incredibly plastic, which means it is changeable and can compensate for damage”.  Even serious conditions such as memory loss and depression can be improved by doing things that alter the brain function and its chemistry.  The article suggests mindfulness training as part of brain training.

The paper looks at promising solutions to combat of stress, anxiety and depression—in COVID-19 patients and others.

The article further states:  “We already know that exercise and mindfulness training—techniques that help us stay in the present—are helpful when it comes to combating brain stress. Indeed, studies have shown beneficial functional and structural changes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex (involved in planning and decision making), hippocampus and amygdala following mindfulness training.”

The article further discloses the following:
One study showed an enhanced density of gray matter – the tissue containing most of the brain’s cell bodies and a key component of the central nervous system—in the left hippocampus after eight weeks of training (in comparison to controls).

Yes, these are all regions that are impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Suggested brain games:  …”gamified cognitive training can also help improve attentionmemory function and increase motivation. Those who have persistent or severe mental health symptoms may require clinical evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist. In such cases, there are pharmacological and psychological treatments available, such as antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy.”

The article further states that these techniques are likely be beneficial to everyone, and may help us to better promote cognitive resilience and mental health—preparing us for future critical events such as global pandemics. As a society, we need to anticipate future challenges to our brain health, cognition and wellbeing. We should be utilizing these techniques in schools to promote lifelong resilience starting at an early age.

 

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Brain Health Assessment

Review of Brain Health Assessment, by Daniel Amen, MD
Date:  July 28, 2020
Best place to get:  BrainMDHealth
Price:  Free
If you sign up for the recommended  BrainFitLife Program
the price is:  $29.95/month or $99.00/year

Your brain makes you who you are. Get to know yourself!

Why get a free Brain Health Assessment?
Find out what your brain type is.  Based on your brain type, you get a report with recommendations on what to do to improve the health of your brain.

I took the scan.  I’ll read you the message that I received after I took my brain heath assessment:
“Thank you for taking the time to complete the Brain Health Assessment!  You’ve just taken a BIG step toward optimal wellness and brain health.  One of the unique aspects of our work at Amen Clinics is the use of brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging.  SPECT measures blood flow and activity in the brain and allows us to provide patients with targeted treatment plans.  Sadly, due to time or resources, many people are unable to get a brain scan at one of our clinics.

If that describes you, don’t worry.  The test you just completed is the next best thing to getting a scan.  My colleagues and I developed the Brain Health Assessment to help predict what your brain might look like if you got a scan.

Based on the world’s largest database of brain scans related to behavior (160,000 and growing), this quiz helps to determine your Brain Type – we’ve identified 16 unique brain types.  Knowing your Brain Type can help you understand more about how you think, act, and interact with others.”

My brain type is 5.   Now I’ll read you what my brain heath assessment said specifically about my brain type:  “The SPECT scans of individuals with Brain Type 5 often show heightened activity in the anxiety centers of the brain, such as the basal ganglia, insular cortex, and/or amygdala.  This is often due to lower levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps calm the brain.  People with this brain type tend to be motivated toward a goal.  They can feel intense pleasure, but also struggle with feeling anxious or nervous, which causes them to be more cautious and reserved, but also more prepared.   Soothing this brain type with meditation and hypnosis along with supportive supplements such as B6, magnesium, GABA, lemon balm, and theanine is the best strategy for balancing Brain Type 5”.

Well, I can assure you that this is SPOT ON!    Especially the part about my brain type having “heightened activity in the anxiety centers of the brain”.   People with Brain Type 5 can feel intense pleasure but also struggle with feeling anxious or nervous, causing them to be more cautious and reserved, but also more prepared.

Highlights of the Brain Health Assessment report:

YOUR BRAIN TYPE:   What your Brain Type says about you

YOUR BRAIN FIT SCORE:  What your Brain Fit Score says about you  (brain health, sleep, memory, executive function, inner peace, mood, flexible thinking)

YOUR PERSONALIZED ACTION PLAN:  Quick recommendations (brain healthy nutrition, brain supporting supplements).                                     

There are a few other recommendations worth noting in the Brain Health Assessment:  Mental Workouts (brain games particularly suited to your Brain Type), stress reduction exercises, physical workouts, goal-setting, and exercises to maintain control over your thoughts.

 

Why not get the BrainFitLife membership?
After taking the Brain Health Assessment, I was curious, so I looked into membership in the BrainFitLife program.  This is a program that is tailor-made to your Brain Type as determined by the Brain Health Assessment.

About The BrainFitLife Program
Strengthen you brain anytime, anywhere:
Train your brain with a personalized plan to boost memory, mood, focus and energy
Start training….

You can change your brain and thus change your life.  A healthy brain leads to a healthy body.  A BrainFitLife program membership is a personalized plan to boost your memory, mood, focus and energy.  It’s a comprehensive brain program unlike any other.  Brain games are great  but a complete Brain Health Tool Kit is even better.

Included in your BrainFitLife membership:
Personalized Brain Training Plan:

Kill the ANTs Exercise (designed to get rid of negative thinking patterns)
Web-neuro Assessment (a sophisticated and scientifically validated brain health assessment that measures 17 areas of your cognitive and emotional function)
12-hour video course
Community forum
Brain-healthy recipes
Brain Games specifically for your brain type
Meditation and Hypnosis videos

As for the Personalized Brain Training Plan itself, it includes:
Brain type report
Increase memory, mood and attention
Decrease stress
Monitor your progress
Personalized meal and fitness plans
Know your motivation
Master positive thinking
Relaxation resources
BrainFit community support
Access to BrainFit coaches comprehensive Brain Program unlike any other.  Based on your brain type, you get a report with recommendations on what to do to assess the health of your brain.  

As Dr. Amen says:  “We’re not just playing games with your brain”:

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:  The free Brain Health Assessment was fun and turned out to be very informative.
The BrainFitLife program that I bought is quite comprehensive.   Both the free Brain Health Assessment and the BrainFitLife program are unique in what they offer.  I like it because the Personalized Brain Training Plan includes exercises designed to improve my mental health as well as my cognition.

Cons:  None that I can think of.

Recommendation:  I highly recommend both the free Brain Health Assessment and the BrainFitLife program.

 

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Memory Rescue by Daniel Amen

Review of book “Memory Rescue”, by Daniel  Amen, MD
Date:  July 18, 2020
Best place to buy:  BrainMD Health
Price:  $25.99

This may be the most important book of this decade, because it presents in clear terms the simple choices  (nutrition, exercise and habits)  that we need to make to heal our brains and improve our health and happiness in the future.

Why is it important to check on your brain health?
Because, as we get older, changes happen to our brain, causing  memory to become less sharp and judgment to decline.

 Your Memory is Your Most Important Asset
“Memory Rescue” – this is a tremendously important book for anyone who wants to increase brain capacity and strengthen memory.    It’s never too early to check on your brain health.  Your brain will thank you when you get older.  In this book, Dr. Amen reminds us all that our ability to remember is a precious gift.   He uses brain scans and science-based insights to help protect our precious asset.   In addition to boosting our memories, he  suggests  a comprehensive program for healthy aging and a happier life.

When to begin worrying about brain health and memory
To quote Dr. Amen:  “Memory problems are common at every stage of life, and they can impair learning, working, relationships, and even self-reliance.”  Therefore,  it is most important to start now to take care of your most important asset.   As Dr. Amen states:   “Your brain’s history is not its destiny.  Even if you have brain fog or trouble remembering now, it doesn’t mean you always will.”

Dr. Amen’s Approach
According to Dr. Amen, “the ability to identify and address each of the potential causes of memory problems has enabled us to develop a plan to prevent and even to reverse these devastating issues”.

Here are some of the changes that gradually happen to our body and mind (and memory) as we age, as determined by medical tests such as described below, and SPECT scans (a nuclear imaging test that produces images showing how your organs work):

Low blood flow:
Risk Factors:  Hypertension, severe concussions with loss of consciousness, trauma

High iron level:
Risk factors:   retirement and aging.

Inflammation:
Risk factors: High CRP and homocysteine

Genetics:
Risk Factors:  One or more parents with Alzheimer’s

Head Trauma:
Risk Factors:  Contact sports, motor vehicle accident with loss of consciousness

Toxins:
Risk Factors:  alcohol abuse, marijuana use

Mental Health:
Risk Factors:  Taking medications for anxiety

Immunity/Infection Issues:
Risk Factors:  Low vitamin D

Diabetes or pre-diabetes:
Risk Factors:  High fasting blood sugar; obesity

Neurohormone deficiencies:
Risk Factors:  Low testosterone

Sleep Issues:
Taking medications for insomnia (such as Ambien)

Enlist the help of your doctor
Have all of the above conditions tested thru the lab tests recommended by Dr. Amen.  His recommendations include these blood tests:  Complete Blood Count (CBC),  Lipid Panel  to test the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood, Fasting Blood Sugar, Fasting Insulin, Hemoglobin,  General Metabolic Panel, Thyroid panel, to name a few.   Here’s one you can do  at home:  “Balance test:  how long can you stand on one foot?”

The wonders of brain imaging
At Dr. Amen’s clinic, patients are tested using SPECT scans for functional brain imaging.  These scans are primarily used to view how blood flows through arteries and veins in the brain.  Why is this important?

Because brain imaging with SPECT is able to reveal abnormal patterns in the brain related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias years or even decades before symptoms develop. Early detection allows you to make lifestyle changes that can delay the progression of cognitive problems and engage in treatment when it is most effective. The sophisticated imaging technology is also able to rule out dementia by detecting other issues—such as traumatic brain injuries, exposure to toxins, or brain infections- that may be the root cause of memory loss or other cognitive problems.  Conclusion:  In spite of the natural process of aging, you actually have a choice in how fast your brain ages.

It is possible to reverse brain aging
Dr. Amen recommends his Bright Minds program, whose primary  goal is to reverse brain aging.    His recommended medical interventions have proven that the Bright Minds program can reverse or slow down the aging process.  As he says, “mental decline is normal with age, but it’s not inevitable.”

Dr. Amen provides scientifically-based measures that can prevent or slow dementia in older patients.

Vitamins and Neutraceuticals
The American diet of processed and genetically-modified foods, transported long distances and stored on shelves for months before being eaten,  coupled with our breathing of polluted air, requires that we supplement it with the proper vitamins and neutraceuticals.  He makes recommendations on the proper vitamins to take, as well as what neutraceuticals to add to your diet.

Good habits for your brain health include:  increase physical exercise, cutting out the fats and sugars  from your diet, and many others.

Sharpen Your Memory – Whole-brain  Combination Workouts
Use it or lose it.

“Grow Your Brain”.  Become a “memory athlete”:
Acquire new knowledge and do things you haven’t done before (acquire new knowledge, such as memorizing zip codes, learning a new game or learning to play a musical instrument).   Ideas for “whole-brain combination workouts” are included on pages 289-290 of the book.

The Pros and Cons
Pros:  I highly recommend Memory Rescue by Dr. Daniel Amen, if you care about your brain health.  It’s chock full of great ideas and recommendations.

Cons:  None that I can think of.

 

Click on the heading  “Brain Games” (top of page) to view the latest blogs on this website.  Enter the full or partial title of an earlier blog in the “Search” box to view the desired blog.

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Top-rated Brain Supplements

Review of Dr. Daniel Amen’s Brain Supplements:
Date:  August 13, 2020
Best place to get:  Dr. Daniel Amen’s Brain Supplements.
Prices:  various  (see below)

Good brain health requires good supplementation.  The brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system, thus is the most important one in the body.

Since several of you have asked me to recommend brain supplements, I’m reviewing below the 8 products that I found to be most beneficial for my brain health.   I have been taking vitamins for over 20 years and these are the best that I have found.

I would strongly suggest that you first do the Brain Health Assessment before purchasing supplements.  Dr. Amen will tell you exactly what you need.

 

Brain and Body Power Max:  $139.95
Contains NeuroVite Plus, a powerful combination of 50 vitamins, minerals  and plant extracts, plus Brain & Memory Power Boost and Omega-3-Power.

What’s in it for my brain health?  The Brain & Memory Power Boost supports brain health and helps in the following areas:   Memory, Focus, Mood and Vitality.

 

Brain & Body Power:  $99.95
(in packets:  The easiest way to get your daily mind and body essentials.  Contains Omega-3 Power, Brain & Memory Power Boost, Neurovite Plus).
What’s in it for my brain health?  
The Brain Memory Power Boost.

 

Bright Minds Memory Bundle:  $149.95
(in addition to Bright Minds, the bundle includes Omega Power, and Omega-3 power)
What’s in it for my brain health?
Bright Minds:   helps us address the following challenges:  Blood Flow, Retirement/aging, Unrestrained inflammation, Genetic factors, Head accidents, Toxins, Mental health, immunity, neurohormone balance, Diabesity, Sleep problems.  Boosts energy, promote brain capability by enhancing brain blood, brain connectivity and contains antioxidants for protection.

It enhances brain and body vitality for healthy aging, supports enhanced recall and retention, Promotes concentration and attention, supports healthy blood flow to the brain and body.

 

A favorite of mine:  Gaba Calming Support:  $39.95
What’s in it for my brain health?
A help to calm your brain waves and slow down your anxious or fretful thoughts.  You’ll sleep like a baby, thus providing a welcome rest for your brain!

 

Brain and Memory Power Boost:  $59.95
What’s in it for my brain health?
Dr. Amen’s best-selling memory formula is the Brain and Memory Power Boost.  It contains powerful nutrients that will help protect brain circulation, boost mental connectivity, sharpness and sustained focus.

 

Focus and Energy:   $39.95
Better than caffeine:  A non-habit forming blend of adaptogens and energizing herbs for mental focus and concentration.
What’s in it for my brain health?
Mental sharpness and concentration:  Focus and Energy gives you clean energy that promotes mental sharpness and productivity all day long.

 

NeuroPS:    $29.95
What’s in it for my brain health
?
It contains high-potency PhosphatidylSerine, a powerful brain nutrient that will improve your memory of names, faces, numbers and words critical to everyday success.

 

Attention Support:  $39.95
What’s in it for my brain health?
Attention Support
is the perfect solution for those of us who have trouble concentrating and can’t sit still.  These natural  ingredients will help you relax, stay calm, even increase your attention span.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:
As I said earlier, I have been taking vitamins for over 20 years and these are the best on the market.

Cons:
There aren’t any, as far as I’m concerned.

 

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Virtual Mental Gymnasium

This is a review of  MyBrainTrainer.com (“world’s first virtual mental gymnasium”)

Best place to buy:  MyBrainTrainer.com
Date:  July 12, 2020
Cost of Subscription:   $9.95 for a 3-month membership, and $29.95 for a 1-year membership).

My recommendation:  If you want to give your brain a real workout, I highly recommend  MyBrainTrainer.com.

Brain Training from MyBrainTrainer.com:

The Human Brain

Yes, it has been proven that the brain has a proven ability to change its structure and function in response to external stimuli.  Together with its capacity for neurogenesis,  the brain’s cognitive function can be improved at virtually any stage in life.  This is a significant finding.

MyBrainTrainer’s exercises can improve your cognitive function by increasing your ability to do the following:

  • Process information quickly
  • Increase your decision-making skills
  • Perform multiple tasks simultaneously (multi-tasking)
  • Retrieve old information more rapidly
  • Learn new information more easily and more quickly
  • Concentrate even when distraction is present

You can keep yourself mentally alert by working, volunteering, reading, as well as doing crossword puzzles and brain teasers.   Recent studies, however, have shown that there might be an even more effective way to improve your brain processing speed  by using  highly interactive mental challenges called Elementary Cognitive (ECT)  tasks, as offered by  MyBraintrainer.com.  Each ECT isolates the specific region of the brain that is being exercised and, by responding as rapidly as possible to its random stimuli, delivery of oxygen and blood flow to your  particular brain region is increased.   More neurons = more neural connections = increased brain processing speed.

 

Scientific Study:

Findings:  A month-long pilot study was conducted by a research facility associated with the University of Texas and Open International University, using  MyBrainTrainer exercises as well as  Pre/Post testing for IQ, cognitive efficiency and speed, and anxiety.

The study found that the MyBrainTrainer.com exercises increased IQ, reduced anxiety and improved cognitive efficiency and speed.

 

The MyBrainTrainer.com offers:

21-Day Basic  Training Program:  These exercises are designed to improve reaction time, short-term memory, executive function, visual/spatial acuity, information processing, visual spatial memory, visual scanning/discrimination, and working memory.

Additional features

Advance training consists of application-specific training modules (special one-day programs designed for special interests, for example: athletics, executive decision making, test taking).

Personalized Training based on your own training schedule based and your personal cognitive enhancement goals.

Downloadable Memory Game:  You can download this game for $4.95 (after 3-day free trial), configure it and play it with multiple players.

Try an exercise for free.

Become a member of an exercise group.

Brain Master Challenge:  This gives you an overall assessment of your Brain Processing Power.  MyBrainTrainer keeps track of where your name is posted in the BrainMaster Circle.  To reach that level, you must excel at all the exercises measuring reaction time, accuracy, concentration, inspection time, perceptual threshold, and memory.   Your scores and lets you progress all the way from Beginner to BrainMaster .

 

The Pros and Cons:

Pros:

The exercises are well designed and I don’t doubt that they help my cognitive functions.  They do what they promise:  they improve my cognitive function and brain processing speed.

Cons:

Personally, I don’t like to wait between exercises to find out how I did.

 

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Discover What Your Mind Can Do

This is a review of Lumosity.com
Date:  July 7, 2020
Best place to buy:  Lumosity.com
Cost:  $14.95 per month for subscription
Free membership provides access to a limited number of the games and features on Lumosity

I have used Lumosity.com for the past two years and can vouch for their brain training.   When I play their games, I can “feel” myself getting smarter.

Lumosity encourages you to discover  where you are strongest.  They offer “Brain Training Games Backed by Science”.  Their scientifically designed games include:

  1. Speed games that improve your processing speed
  2. Memory games designed to put your recollection abilities to the test
  3. Attention games that train your focus
  4. Flexibility games that test your ability to quickly switch between tasks
  5. Problem-solving games that improve your planning, special reasoning, and logical reasoning skills
  6. Word games that improve your vocabulary and reading comprehension
  7. Math games that present you with mathematical challenges that you must solve rapidly (Raindrops is one of my favorites.)

While you’re playing the games, Lumosity tracks your progress.  Lumosity also compares your performance with those in your same age group, as well as your progress over time.

The science behind Lumosity.com

According to Lumosity, their “in-house science team is committed to translating cognitive science into accessible brain training”.  They are always developing new games.

The Lumosity in-house science team are busy constantly researching their brain training’s effect on cognitive performance.  There have been 10 peer-reviewed publications in academic journals using Lumosity games or assessments.  The scientists concluded that, after ten weeks, the Lumosity-trained group had improved in performance across a battery of cognitive assessments.  In fact, they had improved more than twice as much as the control group did.

According to Lumosity’s Game Design team, their goal is to design their games to train their clients’ cognition.

As stated in their literature, Lumosity’s scientists research well-known methods of training cognitive abilities like memory and attention.  In addition, their Science and Games teams work together to design game mechanics that effectively challenge a particular cognitive ability.  For each game they create, they give it a fun theme and add features that bring it to life.  This keeps brain training both fun and  challenging.

Lumosity.com supports trailbrazing cognitive research, working with 100 researchers from around the world on such subjects as genetics, chemofog and education.   They provide their research partners with guidance on data analysis as well as free access to their tools.  All this helps to advance research in human cognition.  According to a recent article by Medical News Today, Lumosity is considered one of five best apps to train your brain.

The cost of the subscription to Lumosity.com is well worth it, in my opinion.  Money spent on your brain is always money well spent.  I highly recommend Lumosity.com.

 

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The Utmost Cognitive Training Program

A review of Cognifit.com
Date:  August 4, 2020
Basic plan (20+ games):  $19.99/month
Medium plan (40+ games):  $24.99/month
Premium plan (60+ games):  $29.99/month
CAB Assessment:  $49.99 each assessment

Cognifit.com’s brain exercises  are designed to increase an individual’s  cognitive domains.

Provides training and testing of these Essential Cognitive skills for a strong brain health:

  • Attention
  • Reasoning
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Coordination

How does CogniFit improve memory?
CogniFit, like other brain fitness marketers, claims its brain games improve intelligence and cognitive skills like memory, attention, processing speed, and problem solving ability by tapping into your brain’s plasticity — that is, its ability to change.

Working memory, like our other cognitive abilities, can be trained and improved, and CogniFit makes it possible to do with a professional tool.  It offers a battery of clinical exercises designed to recover and improve problems with working memory and other cognitive functions.

What is Working Memory
What is working memory? Working memory, or operative memory, can be defined as the set of processes that allow us to store and manipulate temporary information and carry-out complex cognitive tasks like language comprehension, reading, learning, or reasoning. Working memory is a type of short-term memory.

Working memory is an essential part of decision making and for the proper functioning of the executive functions.

Two examples of  CogniFit’s Working Memory exercises
Sequencing Test WOM-ASM:  A series of balls with different numbers will appear on the screen. The user will have to memorize the series in order to repeat it later. The series will become longer and longer until the user makes a mistake. The user will be asked to repeat the series after each presentation.

Recognition Test WOM-REST:  Three objects will appear on the screen. First, the user will have to remember the three objects presented on the screen as quickly as possible. After four sets of three images will appear on the screen and the user will have to choose which is the correct series from the first screen.

Your Brain and Its Cognitive Skills
CogniFit’s brain games improve intelligence and cognitive skills like memory, attention, perception, executive function, processing speed, coordination and problem solving ability, by tapping into your brain’s plasticity.

What is Brain Plasticity and why is it so important?
Neuroplasticity  (or brain plasticity)  is the ability  of the brain to modify its connections or rewire iself.   Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood or recover from brain injury.

The CogniFit methodology
This methodology consists of a battery of scientifically based  tasks that measure powerful  brain functions.  How well the brain performs  these functions could indicate the presence of different pathologies and disorders.   recognized and validated by the scientific community.  Cognifit works to assess and train more than 20 cognitive abilities,  which represent a complete image of human cognition.

How does Cognifit calculate my cognitive skills?
Your cognitive score depends of multiple factors and variables that are measured each time you do an assessment task.  The CogniFit system tracks more than 150 different variables.

Here is an example of Cognitive Skills tracked by Cognifit:

Your cognitive score depends of multiple factors and variables that are measured each time you do an assessment task.  The CogniFit system tracks more than 150 different variables.

What is the Cognitive Assessment Battery?
The Cognitive Assessment Battery (CAB) from CogniFit is a complete cognitive test designed to help detect the cognitive state in people with and without pathologies through online cognitive tests.  This cognitive assessment battery evaluates cognitive  functions, has been validated in multiple studies and is used by millions of users over the last 15 years.

This neurocognitive assessment tool helps evaluate a wide range of cognitive abilities and health habits that are closely related to correct cognitive functioning.

The automated report from this cognitive evaluation provides conclusions on the functioning of the different brain areas and functions.

Click here for the “Cognifit’s Cognitive Assessment Battery”.

 

My recommendations
Pros:  These brain games really work your brain!   There have been criticisms in the past about the fact that Cognifit did not properly state their prices, but these are published on the Cognifit Help Center webpage.

Personally I would rather pay $19.99 a month and have a set of really good brain games that thoroughly exercise my  mind, rather than rely on the “free” brain games available online (many of which don’t work half the time and are a huge waste of time).

The CAB assessments are really worth the price.   So far, I have taken two CAB assessments and have been able to view my progress from the first to the second assessment, thanks to the Cognifit training.

Cons:  A little pricey, perhaps, but well worth the money in my opinion.

 

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Attention Brain Game Lovers

Brain Training Software Market Size And Forecast

According to the report Brain Training Software Market Size and Forecast, recently published by Verified Market Research, the brain training software market is growing at a faster pace with substantial growth rates over the last few years and it is estimated that the market will grow significantly in the forecasted period (between 2019 and 2026).

What is Brain Training software?
Brain training software consists of fully automated applications designed to enhance and build cognitive abilities. These applications provide various exercises and tools to exercise the brain’s different structures and skills by continually responding to performance and incrementally increasing the difficulty. These software applications are available online while some are available for devices such as cell phones.

In the report, the software market outlook section mainly encompasses fundamental dynamics of the market which include drivers, restraints, opportunities and challenges faced by the industry.

Increasing cases of Alzheimer’s, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia or stroke-related vision problems, together with the evolvement of digital healthcare, are factors that have driven the growth of the brain training software market. Brain training software and apps are considered a useful aid for mental stimulation. People are using this software to identify possible cognitive alterations and deficiencies, as well as create a personalized brain training regimen for their particular needs. Research says that older adults who took part in brain training sessions over five weeks are less likely to develop decline or dementia.

Furthermore, a study published by PLOS Medicine found that adults who engaged in the brain training sessions demonstrated improvement in working memory, speed, and executive functions.

Who are the Major Producers of Software Brain Games?
Global Brain Training Software Market Competitive Landscape:  The “Global Brain Training Software Market” study report provides a valuable insight with an emphasis on global market including some of the major players such as Sudoku, Lumosity, Happy Neuron, My Brain Trainer, Crosswords, Braingle, Queendom, and Brain Age Concentration.

Covered in the Report:
This study report covers the following areas:
• Memory
• Attention
• Language
• Executive Function
• Others

The entire report is available upon request from: https://www.verifiedmarketresearch.com/ask-for-discount/?rid=34703

 

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Memory Exercises for your Brain

   Did you ever experience a “Tip of the Tongue” memory problem?  It happens to all of us at one time or another.  A few good exercises to do to reduce or eliminate “Tip of the Tongue” memory problems include:

To remember names:
Associate someone’s name with a prominent feature possessed by that person.  You might have to use your imagination for that one.  For instance, Rosa might have round eyes and that could remind you of rose buds.  So you’ll remember Rosa when you see her “ rosebud-like” eyes.

To recall any fact or word:
Most of us, at one time or another, forget a movie title or a movie star’s name, or any word or fact.   “It’s just on the tip of my tongue”, you exclaim.  If you go thru the alphabet letter by letter, something should trigger your memory before you get to Z.  The other day, for instance, I was trying to remember the word “paranoid” but, when I got to P it triggered my memory and I remembered the word.

Some of these ideas were taught to me lately by the UCLA Longevity Center, as part of their very interesting class entitled “Brain Boot Camp”.

 

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The Origins of Brain Training

Where did the interest in brain training begin?

According to authorities, what spurred the interest in brain training was a study conducted by neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire of University College London on London taxi-drivers.   The study’s initial goal was to determine whether the cabbies, world-renowned for their remarkable knowledge of London’s complicated streets and the test they needed to pass in order to get their taxi license, had larger hippocampi than other people. As stated in Science Daily, the hippocampus is the part of the brain known to be crucial to long-term memory and spatial navigation. After confirming that fact, the study continued on to determine whether it was the cabbies’ larger hippocampus that qualified them for the job and whether their memory centers had expanded in response to their growing knowledge of the city’s streets.  Maguire found that the drivers who successfully learned the city’s streets and passed the required knowledge test performed far better on the same memory tests they had taken earlier. They also did better than those who failed the knowledge tests.  Their brains had grown as a result of their intensive study and activity.

 

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Do you want to be sharper?

If you want to be smarter, have a sharper memory and better judgment, get a brain game.  The following pages contain a complete selection of brain games of all types:  “Brain Games for Adults”,  “Brain Games for Seniors”, and “Advanced Brain Training”.

 

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Brain Health Is Important

Just as physical health is important, so is brain health.  A healthy brain in a health body should be everyone’s goal.  In this blog you will find many suggestions to improve your brain health, from playing brain games to delving into advanced brain training.

It could be something as simple as reading a brain game book, finding and playing brain games on Google, or signing up for brain training courses.  I will cover all of these in my blogs, so stay tuned!

 

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Imagination

This is a writeup of a recent article on WikiHow entitled “How To Improve Your Imagination”.

A vivid imagination is more than dreaming up stories about fictional characters. It is the origin of creativity and innovation, expressed in everything from technology and science to arts and literature.  Working on your powers of imagination will help you think outside the box – a useful skill in all walks of life.  Though some people are more naturally imaginative than others, there are ways you can cultivate your creative juices.

Finding Your Imagination
Turn off the TV.
 This is the first step to finding hobbies that enrich your imagination. Watching television programs is a form of passive engagement. It is good for relaxing after a hard day, but not for promoting your imagination. Instead of watching others on TV, pick a hobby that allows you to create your own story.

Try to do nothing
Finding your imagination involves shutting out external stimulation and impulses. Tonight, turn off all music and television and sit for a while. See what comes to your mind.  Try to think of  alternative ways to spend your time. If you find this difficult, try yoga or meditation to help you learn to turn off the world.

Read creative literature and watch creative films
It is important to get out of your comfort zone for the forms of art you interact with.  If you normally read detective thrillers, try reading a fantasy novel instead– or vice versa. The same applies to films. Look for experimental or independent films that challenge typical modes of presentation. Try to branch out not only in the content you interact with, but the way the content is presented.

Listen to music without lyrics
Listening to music while you are working has been shown to increase productivity.  However, listening to lyrics makes you focus subconsciously on the ideas expressed. Let music without lyrics arouse your creativity, and use it as a blank slate for your imagination to write on.

Jazz, classical, blues, and electronic music are mostly instrumental genres.  There are many additional more obscure genres that you can explore that don’t have lyrics.

Write for fun
Beyond the therapeutic benefits of writing for leisure, writing for fun can cultivate your imagination. Journaling is an easy way to begin writing – just writing about your day  (this is an important form of storytelling). From there you can branch out into fictional works that utilize your imagination more extensively.

If you had a normal day, think about a juncture at which it could have gone very differently. Write a story in which you are thrust into a different world, and see it play out on paper.

Make the banal seem beautiful through poetry. Write a poem about something entirely ordinary.

Play improvisational games
Pretend you’re opening a box and pulling out imaginary items.  Act as though the objects are actually there and interact with them. Use expressions and various emotions to really stretch your imagination.

Try playing with a partner by handing them the items or “exchanging gifts” and reacting to what they say.

Try visual art forms
You don’t have to intend to sell your work to enjoy visual art. Take a pottery or quilting class to find out ways you can use your imagination to create physical objects. The most important aspect of this is that you allow yourself a freeform artistic expression.

Learn a musical instrument
Once you have mastered the basics of musical theory, start writing your own music. Improvisational forms of music like jazz are a great way to go because they give you a medium to express your inner voice.  Play your favorite songs on the stereo and accompany them on your musical instrument.

Participate in holiday activities
Without believing that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real, play along  with these myths.  It’s reflective of an active imagination.   Picking out a costume for a special occasion and decorating it is an easy way to exercise your imagination.

 

Shaping your Environment
Decorate your home.
Normally, people decorate their homes in a piecemeal fashion, accumulating random articles as needed. If, however, you find your surroundings stale or stagnant, you can take this opportunity to exercise your imagination.  Buy simple or plain furniture and see how it can fit together. Arrange your room in an intentional way that has functionality. This process naturally exercises your imagination and gets your brain working.

Don’t feel like everything has to be ‘tasteful.’   If you choose to do so, you can substitute everyday objects for furniture.  For example, instead of putting your jewelry in a shoe box or jewelry case, buy a cigar box.

Get your house good and messy and then clean it up. The act of reorganizing is a great way to use your imagination and get chores done at the same time. Like redecorating, it requires you to reconsider the functionality and feng shui of your home.

Create a narrative for art or other objects
As they say, if walls could talk, they could tell you a story. Try to imagine that story for yourself. Look at objects or pieces of art around your home and create a narrative for what they mean to you and how they were created.

For example, if you have a painting of a ship, try to imagine the crew of the ship. Where did they come from, who are they? Expand your imagination into the realm of the unreal to come up with a story for the objects in your home.

Plan out your ideal trip
If you could go anywhere in the world or in outer space, where would it be? Why would you go there, and what would you do? Imagining this in your mind is a great way to use your imagination. The more outlandish and fun, the more your imagination was used to create the fantasy.

For an extra imaginative boost, write a story or create a drawing about the trip.  Hang it somewhere you’ll see it daily.

Have stimulating conversations
Invite your friends over.  However, instead of watching TV, discuss something hypothetical.  Exercises like this require you to use your imagination, and you can feed off your friends’ ideas.  Brainstorming ideas and answers to hypothetical questions can be about your choice of topics.

If your friends are into discussing politics, ask them how they think Americans would react to a declaration of war from Congress tomorrow.

Or, for example, how far do you think elephants could carry a simple basket on their back before it fell off?  It may sound silly, but walking yourself through these examples is a way to flex your imagination.

Do something boring
That’s right. Studies have shown that people given dull tasks find ways to make them more creative. For example, start with a basic spaghetti recipe for dinner and see what ingredients you can add to make it more interesting – all this without consulting a cookbook. Tasks like this will force you to use our own creativity and imagination to add spice to your life.

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Attention

Here are the 3 ways to improve your attention:

Training the Mind to recognize the wandering attention
“Improving attention is a skill to train the mind to realize when and how attention wanders away, bringing the attention back when it wanders away”

Basically, we train the mind to have wandering attention unknowingly due to two kinds of distraction, one is the internal distraction, due to the unstructured thoughts; and another one is the external distraction, due to external sensory inputs, the smartphone notification is one of the external source distractions.

Engaging Your Mind
“If you don’t engage your mind, memorized thoughts are always ready to engage your mind”

Your mind doesn’t stay in the vacuum, it needs mental activities. When you sleep, only the processing unit of the mind takes rest and you stop experiencing the consciousness. The subconscious mind and the conscious mind are always active, that’s why you can wake up again after a deep sleep.

Practicing Mindfulness
“Life is neither in the past nor in the future, only your thoughts let you travel time”

Being attentive to your work is the key to practice mindfulness. The bulks of unwanted thoughts are always ready to let you experience past or future as reality. When you pay attention to the present, you not only control your mind but, you become productive as well.

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Concentration

  1. Understand what concentration is:  “Concentration is taking your mind off many things and putting it on one thing at a time.” Often what distracts us are day-to-day misunderstandings and negative feelings. Here is a guided meditation to release negative feelings.
  2. Decide what you want to concentrate on.   In many ways, you become what you focus on — that is, you take on some of its characteristics. Have you ever noticed how couples who have been married for many years start to look like each other, or how people often come to resemble their pets, their cars, their hobbies, or their work projects?
  3. Watch other people concentrating.  Go see a good action movie. In the middle of it, look around at the people in the theater. What are they doing? They are absolutely still, eyes barely blinking, and their breath is slower. It would take a really major distraction to break their attention stream. These physical signs may give you a hint about ways to increase your own concentration abilities. Here’s a visualization to improve your concentration.
  4. Avoid constant sensory input.  Multi-tasking (trying to do more than one thing at a time), loud noises, and visual stimulation (such as from a T.V.) make concentration much more difficult, and being around them or doing them too much can put you into a habit of non-attention which can be hard to break.
  5. Make it a point to put your full concentration on whatever you are doing.  Don’t let anything distract you. It really helps to be in a quiet place, but you can learn to block out noise if necessary.
  6. Learn to meditate. Meditation is the most powerful of all concentration enhancement techniques. Learn a few simple meditation techniques and practice them at least five minutes daily.
  7. Learn techniques to increase and control your energy.   One such technique is Paramhansa Yogananda’s Energization Exercises. Controlling your energy is an important first step toward the ability to concentrate deeply.
  8. Take breaks.  Go outside and breathe deeply or take a brisk walk. Make yourself do this often and you’ll be able to return to your task recharged and ready to focus more creatively. This Nature and Me exercise from Sharing Nature Worldwide will help you go deep into nature quickly and return you refreshed and uplifted.
  9. Stay calm.  Deep concentration is a matter of increasing or directing your life-force or conscious, cosmic energy. The more of this kind of energy you have, the better. Scattered energy doesn’t help. It must be calm, focused energy. Learn to be calmly concentrated and be concentratedly calm.
  10. While meditating, watch your breath —  don’t control it in any way, just observe. This teaches you to focus your mind on one thing at a time. As you observe your breath, it will slow down, along with your mind (this is scientifically well-documented), and you move into a dynamic, peaceful (but not sleepy) state of being. Guided meditation to Become Present with Your Breath. Your mind will become recharged and creatively receptive. Want More?
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Memory

One of the best games to boost your memory is chess. Newer players usually depend on short-term memory to plot their next move. Experienced players use their long-term memory for strategies.

Memory games can help your child master techniques for organizing and storing information that will be of benefit for years to come. Memory exercises that incorporate bright colors and sounds all help a healthy mind develop the memory devices that organize the experience of the senses.