Posts Tagged ‘Aging brain’

31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012

January 8, 2012

“31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012” was an article in Newsweek, (2012) Jan 9 & 16, pp. 31-34.  This Healthymemory Blog Post summarizes and categorizes them into the Healthymemory categories:

Human Memory: Theory and Data

Mnemonic Techniques

Transactive Memory

Human Memory: Theory and Data

Eat Tumeric. Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, which may reduce dementia’

Tak Tae Kwon Do. or any physical activity that raises your heart rate and requires a lot of coordination.

Eat Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is supposed to have memory improving flavonoids as does red wine.

Join a Knitting Circle. Refining motor ability can benefit cognitive skills.

Wipe the Smile Off Your Face. The act of frowning can make you more skeptical and analytic.

Eat Yogurt. Probiotics may benefit your brain as they have in studies on mice.

Refine Your Thinking Understand how your systems of memory work (System 1 fast; System 2 slow), and learn how to use them for maximum benefit. (See the Healthymemory Blog Posts, “The Two System View of Cognition,” “Review of the Washington Post‘s “The Aging Brain,”, and “Disabusing the Myth that Older People Do No Have New Ideas”)

Hydrate. Dehydration forces the brain to work harder and can hinder its planning and decision making ability.

Play an Instrument. This can boost IQ by increasing activity in parts of the brain controlling memory and coordination.

Write By Hand. Brain imaging studies had shown how handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing. It might also help you remember what you have written.

Drink Coffee. Studies have shown that coffee can bolster short-term memory and assist in warding off depression.

Delay Gratification. This can help you focus your attention and increase the probability of achieving your goalss

Mnemonic Techniques.

Build a Memory Palace. Mnemonic techniques can both boost memory and provide cognitive exercise. The Memory Palace is described in the Healthymemory Blog Post “How the Memory Champs Do It.”

Zone Out. Strictly speaking Zoning Out and Meditation are not mnemonic techniques.
They are include under mnemonic techniques as they are specific processes that can enhance memory.

Transactive Memory

Play Words with Friends. Transactive memory involves using both your fellow humans and technology to maintain and enhance a healthy memory.

Get News from Al Jazerra. Using unused sources of information broadens your view and enhances cognition.

Toss Your Smartphone. This involves getting rid of technology that can disrupt your focus and sap your productivity.

Download the TED APP. On the other hand there is information available in technology that fosters cognitive growth.

Go to a Literary Festival is an example of an transactive memory activity that involves your fellow human beings in your cognitive enhancement.

Learn a Language can involve both humans and technology and can genuinely enhance cognitive health.

Play Violent Videogames. Well, perhaps not violent videogames, but appropriately chosen viedogames can quicken reactions and improve multitasking.

Follow These People on Twitter. Although this is an example of transactive memory, the Healthymemory Blog respectfully disagrees and urges you to avoid Twitter (so never mind the “who” part).

Install Supermemo. This software can help you catalog new data and then remind you to remember it before it slips away.

See a Shakespeare Play. Viewing the work of the bard is an example of transactive memory involving interactions with your fellow humans.

Check Out ITUNES U. Top schools put their lectures online at iTunes U in subjects ranging from philosophy to astrophysics.

Visit MOMA. That is the Museum of Modern Art to enhance your cognitive experience.

Become an Expert. Becoming an expert in a subject involves interactions with both your fellow humans and technology.

Write Reviews Online. Be proactive in your use of technology.

Get Out of Town. This involves interacting with humans but remember to bring along your laptop.

In Summary

This should give you some ideas. Feel free to substitute relevant appropriate activities of your own choosing.

An Interesting and Helpful Book

December 8, 2010

I apologize for this long overdue book review of Brain: the Complete Mind, How It Develops, How it Works, and How to Keep It Sharp by Michael S. Sweeney. It is published by National Geographic. The following is from the foreword by Richard Restak: “…here is the most inspiring of insights about the brain: We can enhance our brain’s performance by our own efforts. Thus learning about the brain provides a wonderful mix of instruction, amazement, and self-improvement. As you gain knowledge, you’re in a better position to improve its functioning and thereby increase the quality of your life.” So I think that this book should be of interest to anyone following the Healthymemory Blog.

To give you an idea of the breadth of topics, here is a rundown of the chapter titles:

The Amazing Brain

The Nervous System

Brain Development

The Senses


States of Mind

The Feeling Brain

Learning and Memory

The Aging Brain

Future of the Brain

Each chapter is divided into subsections. Each chapter has a glossary that defines key concepts within each chapter. There are diagrams showing the inner workings of the brain, its processes, and functions. There are fast facts that present bits of information that are not only informative but which you can pass on when you’re speaking. There are tables, fact boxes, and cross references. There are sidebars explaining what can go wrong. Flow charts illustrate processes and functions. There are Breakthrough Sidebars that describe the amazing discoveries that deepen our understanding of the brain. This is another source for interesting conversation. There are history sidebars that tell the stories behind historical neuroscience beliefs and practices and the men and women who shaped them. And there are Staying Sharp Sidebars that document smart practices and strategic tactics for keeping the brain healthy. These should be of special interest to readers of the Healthymemory Blog.