Archive for the ‘Effects of Cognitive Training’ Category

Hey, Canadians! Not-to-be-missed TV documentary on neuroplasticity tonight!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I heard a great interview this morning on CBC Radio with Dr. Norman Doidge. Apparently he’s hosting a documentary on CBC Television tonight at 8:00 on neuroplasticity. I’d recommend that anyone who is curious about that we’re learning about the brain these days watch this show.

For those of you who don’t know, psychiatrist Norman Doidge has done the world a service by doing some very interesting popular journalism on the topic of neuroplasticity, which is the primary scientific concept behind what we do here at Choratech.

In 2007 Doidge published a really fascinating book called The Brain That Changes Itself, in which he introduced the idea that brains are much more malleable and changeable (literally, plastic; think “plasticene”) than scientists previously thought, and told the stories of several prominent scientists working in this area–and some of the people whose lives were changed by new plasticity-based interventions. The story is really one of new hopefulness, because the underlying message is that we no longer have to assume that if our brains don’t work well due to aging, illness, injury, or whatever, we just have to live with it and there’s nothing we can do. Instead, if we harness the brain’s ability to adapt and alter its connections, we can overcome a lot of these limitations.

If you want a quick intro to the subject, and have 45 minutes to spare, Doidge has already hosted a documentary on the CBC, an episode of the science show The Nature of Things, and you can watch it for free here. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of Doidge’s book, too. It was, in fact, reading that book that convinced me that the science and the level of public interest had both developed to the point where an entity like Choratech would be possible.

Walking isn’t just good for your legs: it’s good for your noggin!

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

A study was just released in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience that highlights the value of even light aerobic exercise for brain functioning in aging adults.

65 previously non-physically active adults, between 50 and 85 years of age, were randomly assigned either to a weekly walking group or to a stretching and toning group. Their brains were measured for the amount of coordinated activity in the default mode network, which is a network of brain regions that become active together when a person is not focused on the outside world and is introspecting or daydreaming. (Loss of coordination in this network has been shown to be a marker of cognitive decline in aging people. My wife would say I make too much use of mine, but that’s another story.)

Anyway, by the end of the study, the walking group had increased the level of coordination in their default network, as well as another network used for planning and cognitive control, and could perform significantly better than before on cognitive tasks. The stretching and toning group showed none of these changes, which highlights the fact that it’s specifically aerobic exercise that gets you breathing and increases your heart rate, and not exercise in general, that’s good for your brain.

So how about it? Find a buddy, get out there and go for a walk!

Working Memory Training endorsed by American Academy of Pediatrics

Monday, August 9th, 2010

A few weeks ago the American Academy of Pediatrics released updated guidelines for the treatment of various mental health disorders among children and adolescents. Under the category of ADHD, the AAP now rates working memory training as having Level 2 or “Good” empirical support (the second-highest level of support) as an effective intervention in ADHD. The AAP’s guideline document can be seen here.

This is great news, because it’s another indication that working memory training has solid scientific backing as an effective intervention for ADHD. Cogmed is really the only widely available form of working memory training, and it’s the extensive Cogmed research base that the AAP undoubtedly used to draw its conclusions.

Cogmed Working Memory Training is effective in enhancing attention not only for children and adults with ADHD, but for anyone who could use a boost in his or her ability to concentrate, from those with brain injuries and ADHD, to those with attention problems related to depression or anxiety, to normally functioning students and professionals. Contact us to find out more!