Category: Cognitive skills

Workaholics Run Greater Risk of Developing Dementia

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Workaholics work longer hours. That means their brains are active more hours of the day, right? That must mean they have sharper mental skills, right?

Wrong.

In fact, the opposite appears to be true. Research has linked longer work hours with weaker mental skills. In fact, one study of 2,214 middle-aged civil servants concluded that employees working more than 55 hours a week had poorer mental skills than their 40-hour-work-week counterparts.

Brain imaging specialist Dr. Daniel Amen reminds us to think of the brain as a computer that needs to hibernate, shut down and re-boot on a regular basis to prevent brain fatigue. Quoting the conclusions of a different study—this one tracking 7000 workers over more than a decade—Dr. Amen says that working 11 hours a day or more not only increases your risk of heart attack by 67 percent, it also increases your chances of developing dementia later in life.

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Do Clowns Have Bigger Brains?

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In a recent study, people who learned to juggle grew bigger brains.

And if you think we’re clowning around, we’re not.

German researchers took 24 non-jugglers and divided them into two groups. One group was asked to do nothing; the other group was asked to practice juggling for three months. The researchers took brain scans of both groups before and after the three month experiment. What they discovered was that the dozen people who had learned how to juggle had grown more brain!

The extra brain cells were in the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing and motor skills (which makes sense when you think about the hand-eye coordination necessary for juggling).

The researchers were scanning for brain volume, rather than brain activity. As a result, while they can see that the new jugglers grew more brain cells, they don’t know the purpose of the increase. At least not yet. They’re still looking into the neural connections and brain activity related to those new cells.

The other interesting development was that, when the new jugglers stopped practicing for three months, the bigger parts of their brains decreased in size. In other words, when it comes to your brain, you snooze, you lose. To get the most out of your brain, you gotta keep using it.

 So the next time you go to the circus and see a clown wearing a big hat, you’ll know why. With a bigger brain, he probably needs the extra space.

Listen fast! Hear 236 Years of History recited in 17 Seconds!

And you thought patting your head and rubbing your stomach was hard!

If you REALLY want to test your powers of concentration and memory, you should try reciting the names of all 44 American presidents while executing a complicated cup-stacking pattern while surrounded by a distracting chorus of stomping, clapping classmates.

Now do it in 17 seconds.

A nationwide video contest launched by LearningRx inspired a slew of impressive videos of kids reciting the names of all 44 presidents while hitting baseballs, doing gymnastics, and ignoring obnoxious distractions.

The winner of the contest was eleven-year-old Travis Coron of Succasunna, NJ, who scored the grand prize of an iPad in this year’s national President’s Day contest with a 31-second clip that demonstrates amazing concentration, memory and multitasking skills. The 6th grader, who attended the LearningRx Brain Training Center in Chester, New Jersey, quickly recited all 44 U.S. presidents while performing a complicated cup-stacking pattern and blocking out major distractions. (Click here to see Travis in action!)

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Need to improve your concentration skills? Try F.O.C.U.S.

improving concentrationGood concentration and focus are prescriptions for a successful life. They are also the result of active and successful attention skills. Strong, efficient attention skills enable us to concentrate intently on a problem or task while sorting out unimportant information and ignoring distractions. In an article by author Sam Horn, he suggests a helpful acronym for FOCUS that offers 5 tips to better attending. You can read Sam’s article here. The summary of the acronym is…

F = the “five more” rule

When you feel the distractions building and attention waning, make the determination to do just 5 more “reps”. Finish five more math problems, reading five more pages of a book, work just 5 more minutes before you quit.

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Live Long and Prosper: 5 Games to Make your Brain more Logical

Improve Logic and Reasoningimprove-logic-and-reasoning

Everybody knows somebody who always says “I’m a logical person” or “I think rationally.” And many times we assume that being a logical thinker is just a personality trait – but the truth is, logical thinking can be trained and improved. Years ago, logic was taught in elementary school classrooms – logic, like math, follows a system of rules and laws that can be taught and applied theoretically and philosophically. But don’t be fooled: there’s a big difference between learning how logic works and having the ability to think logically.

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