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Update: Know Thyself, Know How Your Brain Works

Posted Aug 31 2010 9:23am

What is working memory, and why it matters? Can we multi-task as good as we seem to assume? What should we all know about how our brains work, and why?

We hope you enjoy this August eNewsletter, featuring six distinguished contributors who answer those questions, and more. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this  free Brain Fitness eNewsletter by email, using the box in the right column.

Know Thyself

Why working memory matters in the knowledge age : As Dr. Tracy Alloway points out, one way to visualize working memory is as the brain’s “Post-it Notes” — we make mental scribbles of bits of information we need to remember and work with. Without enough working memory we cannot function as a society or as individuals. Learn more by participating in this study launched by Dr. Alloway’s team in conjunction with the British Science Festival.

What should everyone learn about the brain? : Dr. Jo Ellen Roseman and Mary Koppel from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) discuss recent recommendations on what all students should know. Not just the basics of brain structure and function, but also a good understanding of mental health—such as the mind/body relationship, factors that shape behavior, ways of coping with mental distress, and the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

News

Pooling data to accelerate Alzheimer’s research : A good article in the New York Times presents the reasons behind growing research of how to detect Alzheimer’s Disease. A pilot study shows how  computerized cognitive training may help reduce falls among elderly . Amazon.com recommends  The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness in a thought-provoking mix.

Beyond News

Needed: funding for innovative research on slowing cognitive decline via cognitive training : SharpBrains reader and UK researcher Nick Almond shares a note debunking the so-called BBC brain training experiment  and outlining the type of research he and colleagues at Leeds University deem necessary.

Long-term effects of neurofeedback treatment for ADHD : Dr. David Rabiner reviews the 6-month follow-up of a scientific study on whether neurofeedback can help kids with attention deficits, finding that benefits indeed remained 6 months after treatment had ended. Given, however, that only around 50% of children showed benefits, it is important to regard this tool as part of a multimodal treat­ment program.

Brain Teaser

Test your attentional focus and multi-tasking : How often do you read a document while talking on the phone with a client? Or think about your problems at work while helping your child with his homework? Human attention is limited, and we need to manage it well, as shown in this teaser prepared by Dr. Pascale Michelon.

Have a great September. And, should you happen to be in Barcelona, Spain, on September 14th, make sure to attend Alvaro Fernandez talk there titled “ How and Why Digital Technology Will Transform Education, Training and Brain Health ”.

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