Oct 12, 2010
The new issue of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation magazine (3/2) is now online and available for full-text download. Topics covered by this issue include brain-computer interface, cognitive enhancement and trainers and the use of massive multiplayer online games in rehabilitation and therapy.
Mar 01, 2010
Dec 08, 2009
Now that neuroscientists have identified the brain's synchronizing mechanism, they've started work on therapies to strengthen attention. Ultimately, it may be possible to improve your attention by using pulses of light to directly synchronize your neurons, a form of direct therapy that could help people with schizophrenia and attention-deficit problems, said Dr. Desimone, the director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. In the nearer future, neuroscientists might also help you focus by observing your brain activity and providing biofeedback as you practice strengthening your concentration. Researchers have already observed higher levels of synchrony in the brains of people who regularly meditate.
May 03, 2009
Facilitation of motor imagery through movement-related cueing.
Brain Res. 2009 Apr 27;
Authors: Heremans E, Helsen WF, De Poel HJ, Alaerts K, Meyns P, Feys P
In the past few years, the use of motor imagery as an adjunct to other forms of training has been studied extensively. However, very little attention has been paid to how imagery could be used to greatest effect. It is well known that the provision of external cues has a beneficial effect on motor skill acquisition and performance during physical practice. Since physical execution and mental imagery share several common mechanisms, we hypothesized that motor imagery might be affected by external cues in a similar way. To examine this, we compared the motor imagery performance of three groups of 15 healthy participants who either physically performed or imagined performing a goal-directed cyclical wrist movement in the presence or the absence of visual and/or auditory external cues. As outcome measures, the participants' imagery vividness scores and eye movements were measured during all conditions. We found that visual movement-related cues improved the spatial accuracy of the participants' eye movements during imagery, while auditory cues specifically enhanced their temporal accuracy. Furthermore, both types of cues significantly improved the participants' imagery vividness. These findings indicate that subjects may imagine a movement in a better way when provided with external movement-related stimuli, which may possibly be useful with regard to the efficiency of mental practice in (clinical) training protocols.
Jul 16, 2008
The Walt Disney Internet Group has released the "Einstein's Brain Game".
The game proposes 20 brain training exercises covering Einstein’s theories of relativity and ideas about the solar system. It features 4 categories - maths, memory, logic and visual coordination, as well as a bonus Sudoku puzzle game, to give the brain a thorough work-out.
Sep 09, 2007
MindFit is a software-based assessment and training program for 14 cognitive skills important for healthy aging. The software is recommended for people over 50 who want a novel and varied mental workout. The program has 21 exercises that train 14 cognitive skills.
MindFit was recently launched by Susan Greenfield, one of Britain's best-known neuroscientists
Link to BBC report
Dec 28, 2006
Via the BrainBlog
The New York Times has a front-page article concerning the current state of mental-gymnastic services. From the article:
Science is not sure yet, but across the country, brain health programs are springing up, offering the possibility of a cognitive fountain of youth.
From “brain gyms” on the Internet to “brain-healthy” foods and activities at assisted living centers, the programs are aimed at baby boomers anxious about entering their golden years and at their parents trying to stave off memory loss or dementia.
“This is going to be one of the hottest topics in the next five years — it’s going to be huge,” said Nancy Ceridwyn, co-director of special projects for the American Society on Aging. “The challenge we have is it’s going to be a lot like the anti-aging industry: how much science is there behind this?”
Dec 20, 2006
Via Smart Mobs
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a study entitled "Long-term Effects of Cognitive Training on Everyday Functional Outcomes in Older Adults" that shows the positive effects of cognitive training on daily function and cognitive abilities.
Authors: Sherry L. Willis, PhD; Sharon L. Tennstedt, PhD; Michael Marsiske, PhD; Karlene Ball, PhD; Jeffrey Elias, PhD; Kathy Mann Koepke, PhD; John N. Morris, PhD; George W. Rebok, PhD; Frederick W. Unverzagt, PhD; Anne M. Stoddard, ScD; Elizabeth Wright, PhD.
Context. Cognitive training has been shown to improve cognitive abilities in older adults but the effects of cognitive training on everyday function have not been demonstrated. Objective. To determine the effects of cognitive training on daily function and durability of training on cognitive abilities. Design, Setting, and Participants. Five-year follow-up of a randomized controlled single-blind trial with 4 treatment groups. A volunteer sample of 2832 persons (mean age, 73.6 years; 26% black), living independently in 6 US cities, was recruited from senior housing, community centers, and hospitals and clinics. The study was conducted between April 1998 and December 2004. Five-year follow-up was completed in 67% of the sample. Interventions. Ten-session training for memory (verbal episodic memory), reasoning (inductive reasoning), or speed of processing (visual search and identification); 4-session booster training at 11 and 35 months after training in a random sample of those who completed training. Main Outcome Measures. Self-reported and performance-based measures of daily function and cognitive abilities. Results. The reasoning group reported significantly less difficulty in the instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) than the control group (effect size, 0.29; 99% confidence interval [CI], 0.03-0.55). Neither speed of processing training (effect size, 0.26; 99% CI, –0.002 to 0.51) nor memory training (effect size, 0.20; 99% CI, –0.06 to 0.46) had a significant effect on IADL. The booster training for the speed of processing group, but not for the other 2 groups, showed a significant effect on the performance-based functional measure of everyday speed of processing (effect size, 0.30; 99% CI, 0.08-0.52). No booster effects were seen for any of the groups for everyday problem-solving or self-reported difficulty in IADL. Each intervention maintained effects on its specific targeted cognitive ability through 5 years (memory: effect size, 0.23 [99% CI, 0.11-0.35]; reasoning: effect size, 0.26 [99% CI, 0.17-0.35]; speed of processing: effect size, 0.76 [99% CI, 0.62-0.90]). Booster training produced additional improvement with the reasoning intervention for reasoning performance (effect size, 0.28; 99% CI, 0.12-0.43) and the speed of processing intervention for speed of processing performance (effect size, 0.85; 99% CI, 0.61-1.09). Conclusions. Reasoning training resulted in less functional decline in self-reported IADL. Compared with the control group, cognitive training resulted in improved cognitive abilities specific to the abilities trained that continued 5 years after the initiation of the intervention.
Link to full-text article
Link to Washington Post report about the study