(Editor’s Note: every month we host an online Q&A with participants in the e-course How To Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach . This is the lightly edited and anonymized transcript from the January Q&A session; the February Q&A will take place on Tuesday, February 12th)
Understood. Think of the brain as a system. As a car. More complex that just “memory.” The first lectures explains the basics of the system, so you know how different factors play a role. Later we review different tools and how to personalize them.
Yes. But you’ll notice we also talk a lot about stress and emotions, because often they are a bottleneck for attention and for memory. And there are other executive functions to consider and enhance.
We track everything new so the answer is yes. But nothing that would substantially change the course as it is now.
You’re welcome. I think watching the first 2 sessions will give you a much better sense on how to approach the question “how to improve memory”
Happy to answer any specific question/ doubt you have now. For general/ open questions, I think the course sessions are a much better place to start.
Great question. It is clear now that 1) you can’t prevent AD pathology (plaques and tangles in the brain), BUT 2) you can delay the onset of AD symptoms by a number of years. Which is the real outcome we all want, because doing so is what compresses the potential morbidity at the end of our lives, making a huge difference for individuals and families. This is why we talk so much about cognitive reserve in the course — the reserve that helps us withstand the effects of the pathology.
Great questions — they are related. Yes, there re recommendations and tools to improve information processing (your second question) and decision-making. In the course we talk about how working memory (WM) and stress/ emotions impact decision-making, so anything that enhances WM and stress regulation tends to benefit decision-making
This course is not designed to offer clinical/ rehab advice, I’d suggest your doctor (or even better, a neuropsychologist if you have access to one) is the best person to identify and monitor potential cognitive deficits and how to best address them. Yes, cognitive training would make a lot of sense as part of the whole mix, but what particular domain/ program is not clear — no program covers everything.
Having said that, the general recommendations discussed in the course would essentially help you accelerate recovery. But I insist, you need a doctor or neuropysh (or perhaps OT) to better target options and even to monitor side-effects of medications.
That is a very common problem, given all the noise out there. I suggest you first watch the four lectures in the course — then it will become clear where to start. What lectures have you watched so far?
Only yesterday I was talking to a professor at Harvard and discussing how poorly brain science is being translated into education and health programs and practices. So, the fun part is that we have a lot of stimulating work ahead
There are many other interesting areas!
Super — so what comes next in session III and IV is precisely how to select the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that may most sense for you.
I think we’d agree on 90% on things and disagree on 10%…btw, their books are excellent too.
Yes. Dancing (especially couple dancing, where you have to learn and practice complex steps) is a great way to combine the physical and mental exercise pillars we discuss. Now, it is important to understand those pillars, and why/ how they are complementary, so we can incorporate them in ways meaningful to us. Dancing may be it, or not.
I’d say going straight to the published science. Any time you see an interesting news article, try to locate the scientific study and actually read it — these days many studies are free via open journals or via researchers’ websites.
There are many great science blogs, a number of which cover brain topics. But they have migrated so many times, from scienceblogs to nature to the guardian and others…that, to tell you the truth, I couldn’t suggest one specific place to start. We used to run a “blog carnival” called Encephalon with many great bloggers. That reminds me: a good blog is Mind Hacks
Yes, that is possible, but other things may be going on — many medical conditions (and medicaments too) have negative cognitive side effects. So you should reflect on when you started feeling that way and contact your medical provider to see if something else ay be going on
OK, bye everyone! Enjoy the lectures and activities!
Thank you for the kind words
We try our best!
–> To learn more about the e-course and register: click on How To Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach