The Brain Fitness Revolution is Here

by Alvaro Fernandez - Date: 2007-06-09 - Word Count: 654 Share This!

You have probably been reading all the recent news about Brain Fitness, such as this one in the Washington Post: "Recent research shows that the brain remains plastic, or basically trainable, throughout life. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002, significant percentages of the 2,802 participants age 65 and older who trained for five weeks for about 2 1/2 hours per week improved their memory, reasoning and information-processing speed."

We will be reading more and more articles like that-which is good news for a nascent field. Now, I would recommend anyone considering such programs to always ask the questions:

1) What does the specific program look like: how many hours a week, how many weeks, and to accomplish what outcomes? some programs we have seen leave it so open that it is unclear for us how users are supposed to get what benefits. When we go to the gym, and we tell the coach what our objectives are, we typically get a good structure and program to follow

2) What research has been published, or has been submitted to publication, that supports that if a person follows that precise program he or she will likely obtain those promised benefit?

3) How do any benefits transfer to real life and to our cognitive abilities/ skills? by definition, by playing a game we get better at a game. Which is great in itself, because we learn something new, and it builds self-confidence. Now, how do I know that transfers into an expanded "mental muscle" or cognitive ability, that will also help me in domains outside the game itself?

In the 90s, eating well and exercising were shown to be crucial to our well-being and healthy aging. We join physical fitness gyms to work out our bodies, expand cardiovascular capacity and develop good muscles. Trainers teach us that novelty and variety are important and that having some structure helps us achieve our physical fitness goals. Now, the need to keep exercising our brains is starting to become understood, and Brain Fitness, or Mind Fitness, will grow to one day become as widespread as physical fitness, for kids, adults, and seniors. "Brain gyms" will complement today's gyms.

Posit Science has a great program focused on training auditory processing. Let me now announce some Brain Fitness Programs that the media will, I believe, start talking about over the next months. Neither the concept of Brain Fitness is relevant only for seniors, nor its only benefit is to prevent cognitive decline and, potentially, help delay conditions such as Alzheimer's.

ACE4sports has developed IntelliGym, a software based product to train the "game-intelligence" skills of professional and amateur basketball players. A number of university teams, including top NCAA basketball teams such as Kentucky and Memphis, have implemented the program with great results on their team performance and players' coordination, attention control, peripheral vision, perception and more.

Cogmed develops and markets a software-based working memory training product, RoboMemo. The Swedish researchers behind Cogmed, led by Karolinska Institute's Torkel Klingberg, MD, PhD, have shown that any person can improve his or her working memory by correctly designed and intense training. For people with serious attention deficits, improved working memory translates to tangible and measurable improvements in daily life.

A Vigorous Mind represents the product MindFit developed by CogniFit, using the latest scientific research to develop easy to use software that enhances human cognitive performance and health in a variety of applications, from improving driving skills and abilities to preventing cognitive decline.

The Institute of HeartMath (IHM), a California-based research institute founded in 1991, has been conducting clinical studies and basic research on emotional physiology and heart-brain interactions, and on the physiology of learning and performance. As a result of such research, IHM offers technology offerings for stress management such as emWave Stress Relief (previously called Freeze-Framer).

And there are more. We will keep you informed. And we will help you identify what tool may be best for you.

Related Tags: stress relief, brain fitness program, posit science, intelligym, cognifit, cogmed, emwave, mindfit, robomemo

SharpBrains, , provides the best science-based information, programs and support for Memory and Brain Fitness. Dozens of publications, such as CBS, Forbes, MSNBC, Seattle Times, Birmingham News, San Francisco Examiner, New York Post, Oakland Tribune, and more, have highlighted our organization and offerings. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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