Showing posts with label Brain training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brain training. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Brain's 'GPS' Does a Lot More Than Just Navigate

Well, the most important part of our body is nothing than the brain. Often it is termed as the CPU of the body as it helps in taking decisions and thinking. Without the brain, a person is useless. However, the brain does more than just navigating or helping us to learn. The recent study or the report from the scientists have revealed that the region which helps in spatial navigation also help in cognitive navigation. Well, this is indeed a wonderful discovery by the scientists.

THE STUDY

The recent study by the scientists revealed that a region in the brain called the hippocampus becomes active when the rats move around the environment. All that research showed that the cells in the entorhinal cortex fire when the creatures reach a certain specific location. This has led to the discovery that the brain creates a mapping of the outside environment on its own.

 This is like a mental positioning system to help the animal identify where its location is in the environment. The famous researchers in the Princeton has found that the same regions of the brain are active when the brain is roaming in the different kind of environment.

It may also take the sounds into consideration. The experiment was done with the help of the rats. They found that the rats responded to the different sounds after listening to the sounds and it matched with the similar traits when the rodents were roaming in their own backyard.

THE MYSTERY

Well, it is a long mystery in the field of neuroscience that how the part of the brain called hippocampus could relate by mapping the external environment and also in creating memories. If the people have a damaged hippocampus, they are unable to form memories which is a major drawback for the people.

The researchers state that the combination of both hippocampus and the nearby entorhinal cortex help in making maps which are cognitive in nature. They involve tasks like memory and learning.

When the rats were given a different task like reconnoitering, the researchers have found some unusual evidence in the circuit of the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex. They have chosen as the parameter to experiment.

THE MONITORING

The researchers then monitored the activities of the rats specially the electrical activity of the neurons present inside the brain. They found that the rodents were able to relate the sounds along with the frequency. The rats were trained to do some specific tasks like pulling the lever down bases on the sound frequency. After the performance, the rats knew that they would be rewarded.

This helped them to perform the tasks in the most efficient manner. The observing team found that the patterns of the neuronal triggering along with their behaviour. Slowly they advanced with the frequencies which were similar with the revolving around in the space.

Finally, it was concluded that the hippocampal cells become active when they are in a particular place and the entorhinal cells come into picture when the rodents travel through some specific places or locations.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Online Brain Training Helps Older Adults With Everyday Tasks

Brain

Older People Benefit from Playing Online Games


According to a wide scale study, playing online games which tends to exercise reasoning and memory skills seems to have great benefits for older people. It has been discovered by researchers at King’s College London that brain training or mental exercises could improve the everyday lives of people helping with tasks such as shopping, cooking, managing personal finances and using public transport.

 Around 7,000 people in the age group of over 50 had been engaged from the public through BBC Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council in order to participate in the six month experiment. Some of them were encouraged to play a brain training package of 10 minutes as often as they desired. The package consisted of three reasoning task like balancing weights on a see-saw and three problem solving task like putting numbered tiles in numerical order.

Prior to the study and again after six weeks, three months and six months, cognitive tests were completed by volunteers that comprised of assessments of grammatical reasoning and memory. People over 60 too carried out test of daily living skills like utilising the telephone or shopping.

Arouse Brain with Activities – Puzzles/Crosswords/Learn New Skills


Thereafter a period of six months, those over 60 who participated in the brain training were found to have substantial improvement in performing the daily task while those over the age of 50 proved to have better reasoning as well as verbal learning. The improvement seemed to be very effective when they played brain training games for at least five times in a week.

Earlier study by the same researcher indicated that such types of exercises provided no benefits for those below the age of 50. Scientists from California and Berlin had spoken against brain training industry, last month, stating that `there is little evidence that playing brain games tends to improve underlying cognitive abilities or it enables one to navigate a complex realm of daily life better’.

However there is other research which has shown some promise for brain training for the improved memory but these small scale studies have been unconvincing. It is also portrayed by the scientist that people tend to have complex occupations or arouse their brains with activities like puzzles, crosswords and learn new skills all through their life which can have lower rates of dementia.

Reduce Risk of Decline of Cognitive Function in Later Stage


The research team were of the belief that the new study would be important in preserving mental activities in older people, helping them in reducing the risk of decline of cognitive function in their later stage of life. According to Dr Anne Corbett, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings’ College London, commented that `the impact of a brain training package like this one can be extremely significant for older adults looking for a way to proactively maintain their cognitive health as they age.

The online package can be accessible to large number of people which also has considerable benefits for public health across the UK’. From Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Doug Brown comments that online brain training has been growing rapidly into a multimillion pound industry and studies such as this are important in helping to understand what these games can/cannot do.

He further adds that while this study was not enough to test if the brain training package could prevent cognitive decline or dementia, they are eager to see that it could have a positive impact on how well the older people tend to perform the essential daily chores.