Brain Training – what is it good for? by Dr Jack Lewis

MEMNEON is a fun, challenging and highly-addictive smartphone game that will increase working memory and thus (according to research by Torkel Klingberg) improve your IQ! Even Stephen Fry – the God-of-Twitter himself – tweeted that MEMNEON was driving him “delightfully dotty.” High praise indeed! The creative director behind Memneon was Steve Turnbull, who would probably feel that for me to suggest that it is “Simon” for the 21st century, would be selling it short. I would disagree. Simon was the original brain training device and, as such, decades ahead of the game. Memneon is like Simon on a high dose of amphetamines.

Brain Benefits of Beat City (Nintendo DS) by Dr Jack

At the end of the day even if Beat City doesn’t inspire the desire to play a proper musical instrument, enabling the full brain-benefits of musical engagement to be earned, I believe it is nonetheless an effective way of challenging and thus improve your capacity for working memory, concentration and fine motor control that will come in useful in everyday life as well.

Dr Jack’s “Brain Coach Live” Seminars for Schools

Over the last few years that I have been heavily involved in science communication, whether writing up ideas for television series, articles for newspapers, book proposal, #Braintweets and so on, I’ve stumbled upon a great variety of neuroscience-informed pearls of wisdom that can help everyone get the most out of their brains. A few months ago I decided to put together a series of hour-long presentations packed with general tips on maximising brain performance through improvements in diet and exercise, strategies for improving memory retention, dealing with stress and a highly visual and animated crash course in neuroscience.

Hold On To Your Grey Matter – Take a Walk by Dr Jack

Although we cannot halt the inexorable process of grey matter loss completely, the good news is that we can slow its progression. This month a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and published in the journal “Neurology” describes the influence of regular exercise on the rate of reduction of brain volume and cognitive function in 299 elderly individuals.
It was observed that those individuals of this group of average age 78 who walked in excess of 6 miles per week had a significantly reduced rate of grey matter loss and consequently a lower incidence of cognitive decline. The greater the distance walked each week, the smaller the reduction in volume over a 9 year period within their frontal lobe, occipital lobe, entorhinal cortex and critically, in the hippocampus.
This begs the question – how and why does exercise slow down the rate at which grey matter shrinks?