Scientific News

Starting a new activity is good for the brain!

According to Dr Denise Park, engaging in new and mentally stimulating activities has a significant impact on the brain functions in those aged over 60. This is what this neuroscience researcher’s team from the University of Texas in Dallas concluded after carrying out a study that was published in the Psychological Science journal. This study is a part of a wider project – the Synapse project – the aim of which is to test the influence of various conditions on cognitive health in people aged between 60 and 90 years of age.

Several groups of participants were set up for the purposes of the study. The first three groups engaged in activities that were demanding of the ...

Dementia delayed by 4.5 years thanks to bilingualism

A lot of research has been carried out on dementia, which is characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities; it exists in various forms in a number of diseases, including the well-known Alzheimer’s disease. There is a wide range of causes for these diseases, and often several factors are involved when a patient suffers from one of them.

A team of researchers took an interest in the effect of bilingualism on the age at which dementia sets in. A panel of 648 patients was included to analyze the influence of bilingualism along other factors that could affect the results. The study, which was published in the journal Neurology, showed that the age at which the first ...

What makes babies laugh so much?

Babies laugh a lot, but do they really understand the joke? Very little research has been carried out into the laughter of babies, but a British team led by Caspar Addyman, doctor of developmental psychology, has placed it at the heart of his research. According to him, studying things that make babies and small children laugh may teach us a lot about their cognitive and social development.

The scientific literature has already given us a few clues. It has already been noticed that the creation and the understanding of humor follows cognitive development from a very young age, and that a baby’s sense of humor becomes more sophisticated as it grows up. Dr Addyman wanted to ...

The brain "cleans itself" during sleep

Sleep not only serves to consolidate memory and to fulfill a rest function, it would seem that it also plays a biological role of flushing out waste that has built up in the brain while we’re awake.

To protect themselves from any toxic molecules, nerve cells are not directly irrigated by the blood. The blood is filtered so that toxins do not come into contact with the neurons. One of these barriers is the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which flows through specific channels around and inside the brain. This fluid protects the brain from shocks and infections and carries nutrients to the brain.

Researchers assumed until now that the waste produced by the brain ...

Why don't ballerinas get dizzy?

To understand why classically trained ballerinas can do pirouettes one after another without getting dizzy, researchers studied eye reflexes and the parts of the brain that became activated in dancers.

The participants were put in a revolving chair that the scientists spun around in the dark. The results compared with a control group (young women rowers) showed that dancers did not feel dizzy for as long. The images obtained using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) also showed that the zone of the cerebellum receiving the dizzy signals is smaller in dancers.

The authors of the study assume that this zone gets smaller over many years of dancing, so that ...

Mirror neurons: the motor areas regenerate through observing actions

The motor cortex covers the entire area of the brain responsible for movement. Within these motor areas, there are some quite special neurons that become activated when an action is carried out and also when this same action carried out by a third party is perceived (since the motor cortex is connected to the muscles as well as to the visual system).

In a recent experiment carried out by a Franco-Italian team, an arm and a hand of each of thirty volunteers were immobilized for 10 hours causing atrophy of part of the motor cortex in charge of manual prehension. Then, these subjects were split into two groups. One group has seen videos of natural landscapes, while the other ...

How to boost problem-solving skills under stress

Stress not only generates health problems, it also impairs problem-solving skills and creativity. A recent study led by J. David Creswell from the Carnegie Mellon University has now brought evidence that self-affirmation ("the process of identifying and focusing on one's most important values") can improve problem-solving in stress situations. The researchers asked college students to rank-order a set of values such as business or family and friends based on their personal importance. The students also had to indicate their levels of chronic stress. They were then asked to write a short text justifying their number one ranked value. The participants who had been under high chronic stress for ...

Searching And Finding - How The Brain Does It

Researchers from the University of Berkeley recently discovered how the brain proceeds when searching for something. In order to be as efficient as possible the brain calls upon brain regions which are usually in charge of other tasks and categories. As an example, when you are looking for someone (object category "People") it also involves neurons which normally respond to other categories such as animals or plants. These neurons are then temporarily assigned to the category "People". This is the brain's very high flexibility proven all over again...

How Your Emotions Are Influenced By Your Heart

So it turns out that many idioms using the word "heart" may well be true... A British team has shown that processing emotions such as fear greatly depends on the heart's cycle. According to the researchers, fearful images seen during systole (when the heart is pumping) are considered more intense than during diastole (relaxation stage). The level of anxiety felt by the subject also greatly impacts how the heart and the brain interact. The team from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School hopes that their findings will lead to new therapeutic options for very anxious people.

Mindfulness Training: Improved Working Memory Skills And Less Mind-Wandering

A new study by researchers from the UC Santa Barbara showed that only two weeks of mindfulness training (Mindfulness is defined as "a state of non-distraction characterized by full engagement with our current task or situation") could improve a person's reading comprehension, working memory capacity as well as their ability to focus. Led by graduate student researcher in psychology Michael Mrazek, the team worked with 48 students who were either assigned to a mindfulness practice class or to a nutrition class. The students were tested for verbal reasoning and working memory skills, during which mind-wandering was also measured. A week after the classes had ended, both groups were tested ...

A Stimulating Environment To Protect Your Brain

A recent study by Harvard researcher Dennis Selkoe suggested new findings on the brain mechanisms activated by stimulating environments. The team exposed mice for a longer period of time to an enriched environment. The results showed that the activation of certain adrenalin receptors allowed to prevent amyloid beta protein from "weakening the communication between nerve cells" in the hippocampus. This very part of the brain plays a major role in short and long-term memory.

March 11-18 Is Brain Awareness Week

This week is international Brain Awareness Week. For this occasion, we would like to look back on various studies from the year 2012.

Effectiveness Of Brain Training
How effective are computerized brain fitness programs for older adults? Two studies looking into the matter where the topic of one of last August's newsletters. The first study from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA showed that seniors who regularly train with a computerized brain fitness program can considerably improve their language and memory skills. The second was a meta-analysis from John Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School. It indicated that computerized brain ...

Professional football players at greater risk of Alzheimer's disease

At HAPPYneuron, our online brain training method is obviously our most central project but we also have other topics of interest. As an example, we are currently working on a cognitive remediation tool called G.A.M.E. (Gradually Adaptive Mental Exercise). It is designed for athletes like ice hockey or football players who can experience multiple concussions during their career. G.A.M.E. is the response to various recent studies in sports.

Thus, last September, a team of Doctors from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati published in the online issue of the medical journal Neurology the results of a long-term study with almost 3500 former football ...

Tips for Singles

It's almost Valentine's Day but we haven't forgotten those of you who are still single! According to a recent French study, flirting may be a lot more successful when the sun shines... at least if you're seeking a long-term relationship! The researchers found out that the weather plays an important role in how women react to advances from men and that they were more inclined to a positive reaction when the sun was shining. Always worth a try if you're single! Check out the weather forecast and get out and flirt as soon as you can!

Martin Luther King Day

This coming Monday is the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a United States federal holiday which was signed into law in 1983 and first observed federal holiday observed since 1986. It is for Americans the opportunity to honor Martin Luther King's legacy, life and achievements.
Several states long resisted observing this holiday and it wasn't observed in all 50 states before 2000.
Today, it is celebrated all over the United States. It is a "Day of Service" and gives citizens of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities the opportunity to honor Martin Luther King's legacy through service.

The Need To Reset Your Inner Food Clock

So the Holidays are over, we've all eaten too much and we all feel like a good diet would do us a lot of good... Why not try to go back to normal eating habits first?... Finding it hard? That's because your inner food clock has been completely unsettled over the last few weeks: too much of everything, and usually at irregular times...
This feeling is also well-known by people who are jet-lagged, work at night, by night owls, i.e. people tending to live more at night than during the day, and by "late-night snackers".
Our food clock is tied to multiple sites throughout the body and helps us make the most of our nutritional intake. "It controls genes that help in everything from the ...

Less New Year's Resolutions?

Like most people, you have probable made a list of new year's resolutions. Among the most popular you can find losing weight, more physical exercise or simlpy finding more time for the people you love. But do you really always stick with your resolutions? And how do you make them work? How do you choose them? Find out here how to follow your new year's resolutions and how to choose them!

Older adults and fraud, a common association

Scientists from UCLA have investigated the reasons why older adults are more often fraud victims than younger people. According to the results, elderly people are not or less able to recognize dishonesty or untrustworthiness in a person's face. Using brain scans, the researchers also found out that a certain brain region linked to disgust is less active in older adults, thus blocking so called "negative gut feelings" which often protect us from being fraud victims. This is indeed considered a huge problem as in 2010, over 60 years olds lost a total of $2.9 billion dollars through financial fraud, with fraud types ranging from repair services to complex financial scams.

How Mental Activity Can Impact Our Brain Structure

It's not only a recurrent and important topic at HAPPYneuron, it's also a proven scientific fact: Your brain enjoys a little mental activity - and even lots of it! A new study shows that mental activities such as reading, writing, or playing not only have a positive impact on the brain but also help preserve the brain's white matter in elderly people. Mental activities can be anything ranging from reading the newspapers, writing a letter or an email, going to the library, or playing chess.

Dopamine To Boost Your Memory

A German study has recently shown that the neurotransmitter dopamine, also known as the "feelgood hormone", improves long-term memory. It is released by the brain when we feel happy or pleased. It has already been shown in animal studies that the brain has to release dopamine to store experiences permanently. It has now been shown that dopamine has a positive impact on episodic memory, a part of our long-term memory we use to remember events in which we were personally involved. The researchers worked with test subjects between the age of 65 and 75. Half of the group was given Levodopa, a substance that is converted into dopamine by the brain, while the other half was given a placebo. Both ...

It's Halloween!

Halloween was originally influenced by the Celtic culture. The word Halloween is a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening", which is the day before All Saints' Day. Halloween is famous for its carved pumpkins called Jack-o'-Lanterns. Today, Halloween is mainly celebrated in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, and Australia and has also began spreading to other European and Asian countries.

Poor decisions in a room full of people

The more carbon dioxide there is in a room, the worse your decisions might be! This is the result of a new study according to which our decision-making skills are greatly affected in closed rooms. The team from the State University of New York examined whether high CO2 exposure at school or at work could have a negative impact on our mental skills. The tests showed that the subjects' decision-making had already worsened at 1.000 ppm, compared to subjects in a room with 600 ppm CO2. (Typical outdoor concentration = ca. 380 ppm, indoors ca. 1.000, packed rooms = up to several thousand ppm.) Results were particularly impacted at 2,500 ppm.

Reconsidering the Marshmallow Study

Researchers from the Rochester University have recently revisited the 1972 Marshmallow study for which children were offered a marshmallow under particular conditions. They were told that they could eat straight away or wait and then get another one. Most children could hardly resist, which was explained with naturally low self-control.

The team from the University of Rochester first gave the children old crayons and a sheet of paper to draw on. The children were told that they would get new crayons if they waited. Only some of the children who waited actually got the new crayons, the others were put off. During the second stage of the experiment, the children then went through ...

How altruistic are you?

Some researchers would examine your brain anatomy to answer this question... and it's exactly what a team of scientists from the University of Zurich in Switzerland have done. The researchers conducted a study to investigate the neurobiological causes of altruistic behavior. To do so, participants were asked to share some money with a stranger. The team found that the most altruistic subjects, i.e those who shared the most money, were also those with more gray matter at the junction between the parietal and temporal lobes. These results help the scientists understand which biological factors determine a person's tendency to altruism. Nonetheless, it is not to forget that such behavior can ...

On World Alzheimer's Day, Test your Memory for Free with MemTrax

September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day. Various associations dedicated to helping Alzheimer's patients and their friends and families are organizing events to raise awareness of the disease. Today Alzheimer's disease affects 5.4 million Americans, while the cost for Alzheimer's related care represented around $200 billion in 2012.

To show their commitment to the fight against Alzheimer's disease, HAPPYneuron and the SBT group have chosen World Alzheimer's Day 2012 as a very special day to offer MemTrax, their memory test, for free. MemTrax is a 3-minute test which should be repeated every month. Its objective is to regularly assess both short-term memory and learning skills in ...

Green tea is good for your memory

Epigallocatechingallat... Yes, you heard me! EGCG, in short, is a substance found in green tea which has long been known for its antioxidant values and its role in neurogenesis (generation of neurons). A team of Chinese scientists could recently show that, thanks to EGCG, green tea could have a positive impact on the memory function as well as on spatial awareness and thus also on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Express Yourself: Mastering Fears and Emotions

Scared of spiders? Researchers from the University of Los Angeles recently showed that it is possible to master fears and emotions by speaking them out. The team worked with subjects suffering from arachnophobia, i.e. fear of spiders. At the start, they were only supposed to slowly approach the spider. In a second stage they were shown spider images. The subjects were then divided into three groups who either had to express their negative feelings towards the spiders, use neutral words to describe them, or choose a completely different topic to talk about. By the end of the study, the phobia in the first group had been greatly reduced.

Brain science : new evidence for effectiveness of brain training

Today we would like to mention two new studies on a most essential topic for HAPPYneuron: How effective are computerized brain fitness programs for older adults? The first study (conducted by Dr. Karen Miller and Dr. Gary Small from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA) was only published in early August and showed that seniors who regularly trained with a computerized brain fitness program could considerably improve their language and memory skills. The second represents a meta-analysis from researchers at John Hopkins University und Harvard Medical School and indicated that computerized brain training programs could be an excellent way to stimulate your brain.

Conditions for maximizing effects of HAPPYneuron brain training

Following several requests from our users, the HAPPYneuron scientific team decided to look into the optimum using conditions for your favourite brain training program. The study was conducted over the first 3 months of training of a representative sample of members in 3 different languages (French, English and German), of different age ranges and different genders. In order to avoid any kind of bias, the subjects were also chosen according to their training habits. As an example, they had to be regular players, training all cognitive areas.
The results of various analyses showed that the users who trained regularly could see a significant increase of their performances, with no regard ...

Bigger brains with team work

According to a study from the Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, team work may have lead to increasing brain size during the evolution. The researchers used a quite original method to observe the impact of social interactions on brain size. Indeed, they created computer models of artificial organisms with artificial brains. They made them played against each other in competition games like the classic Prisoner's Dilemma. Then, they let them evolve in their model and showed that a cooporative society has bigger brains. This study is very interesting as it provides new elements on our origins by means of a new technologies.

HAPPYneuron proven to increase cognitive performance

In 2010 the Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning in Bremen, Germany, was commissioned to assess the impact of cognitive training for unemployed adults over the age of 50. After several cognitive training solutions had been evaluated, HAPPYneuron was chosen based on its effectiveness, easy handling and scientific background. Over a period of 3 months the voluntary participants took part in 3 training sessions of 45 minutes each per week. The results showed increased performances in the trained tasks as well as a transfer effect for certain tasks. The study mainly resulted in a major increase in self-confidence, thus also increasing participants' employability.

The younger you feel, the healthier your brain

How do you feel about your age? Positively, or rather negatively? As a new study shows, this question seems to have far greater consequences than you might think! Researchers conducted a study to examine the impact of autosuggestion and positive thinking on cognition...

Better Health with Telemedecine

Telemedecine is the use of technology to overcome the barriers of distance and improve a patient's health, but also a means of communication between health professionals. Telemedecine was developed in the 80s. New technologies such as mobile apps or the internet allow patients to receive health care. Patients who live far off or are bedridden can thus keep their appointments or start a therapy despite the distance.

Telemedecine is also used for cognitive stimulation as it can be done via computers and tablet PCs. This is how the SBT PRO cognitive remediation platform allows health professionals to monitor their patients throughout their cognitive therapy.

Music exercises increase gray matter in the brain

Last week, on June 21, France celebrated World Music Day, a day that has been important for the past 30 years and has also been adopted by several other countries and states in the United States... Street performers, free concerts and all sorts of music related events! So why are we talking about music now? Isn't HAPPYneuron all about the brain? Yes but... A study by researchers of the University Hospital San Raffaele found that only two weeks of piano lessons or music exercises increase gray matter in the brain. After the training stage the researchers detected better coordination and more balanced action between both brain hemispheres. The subjects also had improved motor skills, with a ...

Physical exercise is good for you!

You'll never hear it enough: Physical exercise is essential for both your body and your brain! This summer may just be the right time to start exercising! If you are still a little reluctant, don't forget that there is no need for extreme changes, like suddenly taking up long and tiring hikes... Keeping your body in shape can only take 30 minutes of your daily time, with simple exercise such as going for a walk, swimming, or riding your bike. Are you wondering why HAPPYneuron seems to find exercising so important? Not only does it only keep you fit but it also protects your brain and your cognitive functions! As a recurrent topic in our newsletters, blog, or even our website, physical ...

Nutrition: How sugar affects your memory

Most people are aware of how high sugar intake can affect your body. But what about your brain? A recent study published in the Journal of Physiology showed the negative effect a long-term high-fructose diet has on the brain. The study was conducted on rats and indicated that drinking soft drinks or eating sweets on a regular basis affects our learning and memory skills. Indeed, the study dealt with high-fructose corn syrup, not with...

Physical and mental exercise for the good of your brain

Last week, we told you about staying active after retirement. Today you will find a few clues as to how to achieve this. A recent study conducted by Yonas E. Geda, M.D., MSc of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona shows that the combination of physical exercise and computer use is an excellent way to reduce the risks of cognitive decline. Previous researches had already studied the effect of physical exercise or computer activity alone but it seems that combining both may have a synergistic interaction on brain functions.

Keeping your brain active slows cognitive decline

Aging is unavoidable. However, it doesn't mean that our mental performance is doomed to deteriorate completely. According to a new study published in Cell Press, the best way to maintain a fit brain is to remain active, especially when you are retired. OK, but how? Here's the answer: Simply choose varied activities like cooking, reading, playing an instrument, or doing sports. The easiest way to prevent cognitive decline and thus keep a fit brain is to stay mentally, socially and physically fit.

Source : ScienceDaily.com

Can Berries Contribute to a Healthy Brain?

This question was raised by a team of researchers in a study seeking to identify the real effects of berries on the human brain. The results showed that certain substances that can be found in berries such as blueberries, black currants, or raspberries had a protective effect on the brain and helped improve cognitive functions such as the memory.

In this context it can be said that age-related neurodegenerative diseases are related to an increase in oxidative stress and inflamed brain cells. Berries were found to protect the brain cells thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

While this study brings new evidence on the positive effects of berries ...

International Mother Language Day


In the context of foreign languages and cultures promotion, we would like to inform you that the International Mother Language Day will be celebrated on February 21. This special day was announced in November 1999 by UNESCO and aims to promote and preserve the practice of all languages used around the world and to encourage everyone to multilingualism. The count of all languages spoken in the world is very difficult to achieve, however it is estimated that more than 6000 languages are used!

Neurobiology: The FKBP52 molecule is giving hope for the fight against Alzheimer's disease

Dementia type tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease are accompanied by an accumulation of abnormal form of tau protein in the brain. By interacting with the filaments called microtubules, this protein plays an important role in non-pathological conditions as it helps the neurons to function correctly. The French team of Etienne-Emile Baulieu recently demonstrated that another protein may be involved...

Learn about Labor Day

Observed on the first Monday of September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States where the average American worked 12-hour days and 7-day weeks in order to earn a basic living. Thus on September 5 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day Parade in U.S. history. This day became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, barbecues, parades and athletic events.

Exercise is beneficial for the brain!

Two studies have shown that the practice of physical activity has beneficial effects on the brain. In the first study, the Canadian team, led by Professor Laura Middleton, reveals that being active, including walking around the house or doing household chores protect us from cognitive decline. The second one, led by Marie-Noel Vercambre, shows that 30 minutes of daily walking decrease the risk of developing cognitive impairment.

The Internet may Influence Memory Skills

The Internet is a well known tool used to access knowledge quickly and easily. But did you know that using it could affect the way our brain stores information?
A team of scientists led by Betsy Sparrow, assistant professor in psychology at Columbia, analyzed the impact of the huge accessibility of data from the Internet on memory skills. One of the experiments consisted in typing one sentence in a computer and testing if the typists remembered it. The results showed that people were more likely to forget what they wrote if they knew that the data was saved. Furthermore, easy access to data may also affect what we precisely remember. Indeed, in the experiment, subjects memorized better ...

Does gender have an influence on collective intelligence?

A team of researchers worked on factors improving collective intelligence and have found out a surprising factor: the more women in a group, the smarter it gets. Contrarily to all expectations, high individual IQ scores or highly motivated and "happy" groups did not perform better. The ones with more women did, however. And this only stopped at the extreme end, that is, when no more males were in the team, then only did the performance start to decrease. A real revolution, since all groups can benefit from this : family, team activities, business, politics. Maybe worth considering adding a few women colleagues in that Board in September?

HAPPYneuron Science: the guarantee for high quality training

HAPPYneuron is always one step ahead when it comes to improving its solutions. Two weeks ago, we were present in New York at the annual conference in Cognitive Remediation in Psychiatry to share experiences with top world scientists in order to prepare the best brain training solutions for you! The work we have done over the last few years was also recognized when several speakers used our games as examples of effective cognitive tools! We are also proud to share with you that 4 posters out of the 12 presented cited scientific studies based on the use of our computerized cognitive remediation products.

HAPPYneuron games in the Brain Gym program: fight against age-related diseases!

Four years ago, Dr Bender and his team of doctors and researchers conducted a study showing that their Brain Gym program had reliable effects on brain health. This program includes regular training sessions and contains 6 essential points to fight against Alzheimer's disease: a low fat diet, meditation, stress reduction, physical exercises, socialization... and last point, and one of the most important, the stimulation of cognitive functions with HAPPYneuron program recommended by Dr Bender!

Last week, the Iowa local television station "Who TV" took an interest in a group of people who have adopted this program...

Retirement and cognitive stimulation

A recent article mentioned a study by researchers from the RAND center for the Study of Aging showing that the age of retirement has an impact on the natural brain decline observed during aging. This phenomenon would be linked to the cessation of brain stimulating activities and social interaction during retirement. Thus do not hesitate to make a "mental plan" as well and start now to stimulate your neurons with HAPPYneuron games!

For the Good of Your Brain, Learn about chocolate !

At this time of year, you’ll probably be subject to the temptation of eating excessive amounts of chocolate. But don’t feel too guilty about it! Scientists demonstrated that this coveted food has several benefits on health and more particularly on the cognitive functions. So, stimulate your neurons by eating chocolate and practicing HAPPYneuron games!

National Nutrition Month®

March is also National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the American Dietetic Association. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for this year is "Eat Right with Color".

Treating Depression and Anxiety with Video Games

A study from East Carolina University has recently shown the effectiveness of casual video games to treat depression and anxiety. The researchers worked with 60 subjects suffering from depression, half the group representing control subjects. The team recorded an average decrease of 57% of depression symptoms, found that the subjects had become less anxious, and noticed that their mood had also improved.

Changing Your Fitness Habits

So we've read it in many studies: Physical exercise is important and contributes to a healthy life style. It has also been shown to be essential for cognitive health, helping us not only to remain physically fit but also to maintain mental sharpness.

Today, however, researchers find that it is not enough to inform people. This solely informative approach is not sufficient and motivating enough to get people to change their life styles accordingly and become more active.

This applies not only to physical fitness but also to cognitive fitness. HAPPYneuron is therefore taking the step and offering you ways to improve your cognitive fitness habits.

For the Good of Your Brain, Learn about President's Day!

Did you know: 4 US presidents were born in February.
- George Washington February 22, 1732
- William Henry Harrison February 9, 1773
- Abraham Lincoln February 12, 1809
- Ronald Reagan February 6, 1911

Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day.

The first attempt to create a Presidents Day occurred in 1951 when the "President's Day National Committee" was formed by Harold Stonebridge Fischer of Compton, California, who became its National Executive Director for the next two ...

For the Good of Your Brain, Learn about St. Valentine's Day!

We all know that learning new skills is good for the brain. The scientists tell us that learning new information of any kind is helpful. So let's learn something about Valentine's Day!

Did you know that nearly 150 million cards are exchanged each Valentine's Day? Or that more than 40,000 Americans are employed at chocolate companies? Or that the day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine? Impress your friends with your knowledge...

Pesticides May Affect Your Brain Function

The results of a new study on 614 French vineyard workers in their 40s and 50s shows that there may be a link between a long-term exposure to pesticides and dementia.

When Retirement Leads to Memory Decline

If you are now looking at the picture and thinking "This is how I want my retirement to look like", think again!

A recent paper with the title "Mental Retirement" and published by two economists from Stanford University is currently suggesting that early retirement may lead to quicker memory decline.

Coffee And Sugar Improve Your Brain Efficiency

The Holidays… For most people, this period rimes with chocolate, tea, coffee, and lots of sweet treats. As we all know, all these are to be consumed in moderate quantities. But what if a mix of coffee and sugar suddenly became legitimate to boost your brain efficiency?

Feed Your Brain... With New Information!

As we always preach, feeding your brain new pieces of information is very important to keep it fit. Here's another one for you today: Do you know what Hanukkah really is about?...

Sleep To Boost Your Memories and Creativity

The Holidays are getting closer and you have no gift ideas? Maybe a little nap will help you recall the gift preferences of your loved ones! You might have known that sleep helps you boost your memory, but would you ever have thought that a sharp memory could also help you boost your creativity too?

When Your Brain Falls In Love

Ever wondered how "falling in love" actually happens? Or have you ever done something stupid out of love and put it down to "the heart has its reasons"? Well, you may have been wrong!

Regular Memory Screening…

National Memory Screening Day, is an annual initiative spearheaded by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) in collaboration with community organizations. The organization promotes early detection of memory problems as well as Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and encourages appropriate intervention.

A memory screening test is a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. If you are, or a loved one is, becoming forgetful, are finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate, or are having trouble recalling words in conversations, you should consider taking a memory screening test. Read more about who should consider screening. ...

Honoring National Family Caregivers Month

Watching a family member struggle pains us all, especially when there is little we can do personally to alleviate their ailment. Unfortunately one of the most common issues facing the aging population today is Alzheimer's disease, which causes a person to gradually lose his/her ability to learn, reason, and communicate. The disease is both progressive and irreversible. Anyone caring for a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease knows this challenging task requires sacrifice and can quickly become overwhelming.

The Doctor's In: Intelligence and Creativity

Most of us have a general concept of what intelligence is but, similar to the intangible concepts of happiness and love, our personal definition of intelligence is influenced by our own understanding of the concept. Creativity is another term influenced by our own viewpoint of the world and is open to personal interpretation.

The Doctor's In: How Our Attention Works

Attention is generally defined as our ability to allocate our processing resources and selectively focus on one thing, idea, or task while filtering out other distractions. There are many ways to describe attention and this week Dr. Bernard Croisile discusses the topic. After reading the article try this week's featured game and exercise your attention skills.

The Doctor's In: How Our Memory Works

The way our brain stores, maintains and retrieves memory is fascinating. It is only recently that neuroscientists and academic researchers are beginning to really understand this complicated process. This week Dr. Bernard Croisile provides an overview of what is currently known about memory.

8 Unusual Facts About Your Brain

This week we explore eight unusual facts you may or may not know about your brain. If you would like to share any unusual facts you know about the brain, please click through to the article and add them to the comment section.

The Doctor's In: Thanksgiving Brain Savers

This may come as a surprise, but some of the foods most likely to land on the table this Thanksgiving are really good for you and can deliver a bundle of benefits to your brain.

From stuffing to cranberries to red wine to hot chocolate, and even that last sip of coffee, plus many other traditional dishes that can preserve and even enhance mood, memory and other mental functions. Think of them as brain savers!

The Doctor's In: Assessing Your Alzheimer's Risk

November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Consider some "2009 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures"

There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease today

It is the 6th leading cause of death and on the increase (heart disease and cancer are on the decrease)
5.3M Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease today
10M baby boomers will get Alzheimer's disease and significantly more will suffer from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
The average lifetime cost of care for an Alzheimer's patient is estimated at $174K

What can you do to decrease your odds of getting Alzheimer's disease?

Scientific studies have proved that the risks ...

Surfing the Web Can Boost Your Brain

You can teach an old dog new tricks, say UCLA scientists who found that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web. So go ahead and web surf. It's good for your brain!

The Doctor's in: Diabetes and Memory Loss

Diabetes slows down memory loss in people with Alzheimer's disease! Researchers conducted a 4-year study on 608 subjects with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, out of which 63 people also had diabetes. Their memory and thinking skills were tested regularly. Those with diabetes turned out to have a slower rate of memory decline than those who "only" suffered from Alzheimer's disease. The reason for this is not clear yet. However, it could be the result of the cardiovascular medication elderly diabetics are taking, which other studies have shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease as well as the rate of cognitive decline.

Juggle Your Way to a Sharper Brain

According to a recent study, activities such as learning to juggle actually boosts brain connections. Following an extensive 6-week practice period, the researchers observed changes in regions of the brain's white matter that are linked with reaching, grasping, and peripheral vision, regardless of how well the participants had learned to juggle.

From a cognitive point of view, it can therefore be inferred that learning something new and novel in addition to the time spent practicing is the key to changes in the brain. When brain training, it is essential to engage with new and varied exercises and to do it consistently over a period of time to realize the real changes and ...

Does Brain Training Make You More Desirable?

So geeks are desirable? For the first time, scientists have found evidence that a male's cognitive performance is linked to his success with the ladies. Researchers from Elon University, North Carolina, found that female university students see intelligent men as the most attractive.

The Doctor's In: Depression and Your Memory

Common mental conditions like depression affect our cognitive abilities, most notably working memory and attention, and can contribute to the difficulty of coping and being effective in our every day jobs and life. Depressed individuals must engage more brainpower to achieve the same results as someone without depression. This can places heavy demands on the brain’s resources and may result in progressive brain exhaustion. This can lead to noticeable cognitive deficits.

This year the theme of the World Mental Health Day on October 10th is "Mental Health in Primary Care Medicine: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health". Through emphasizing the benefits of enhancing ...

The Doctor's In: Exercise Your Body or Your Brain - Must You Choose?

Yes, you've always known that your willpower has its limits. Now, a new study by scientists of the Canadian McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, reveals that using your willpower to do one thing might reduce your ability to do another totally different thing. The researchers gave subjects a cognitive task to complete and found that they didn't exercise as much afterwards. However, these results should not be taken as an excuse to stop exercising! This should rather be seen as a challenge to learn to increase your will power for the benefit of both your body and your brain!

Get Social For Your Brain Health

So you understand that maintaining a social network of friends is important to your cognitive health. Do you feel like your social life could use a boost? Try these tips for enhancing your social interactions and relationships:

* Call a friend or relative you haven't talked to in a while
* Schedule a regular lunch or dinner date with a friend
* Organize a weekly card or board game with a group of neighbors
* and more ...

Clear Your Brain's Cobwebs!

We've all heard it said that a healthy body is a healthy mind: Scientists have found that most forms of exercise help you to think more clearly by increasing blood flow to the brain. Specifically, researchers found that doing aerobics improves problem-solving and decision-making skills. In the study referenced below, both men and women had greater concentration and focusing capabilities after their aerobic workout sessions. Similar results were found after 45-minute treadmill sessions. Read more about the study results...ideal physical exercise for your brain and then review some physical exercise brain boosters.

Got Brain Reserve?

For years, research was conducted to find out why some people remain cognitively fit throughout their lives, while other people don't. One of the main proponents of this theory is Dr. Yakoov Stern. It is described as a person's ability to withstand progressive brain pathology such as Alzheimer's disease by not showing any clinical symptoms. Scientists speculated that those without symptoms had greater neuronal resources, or in other words a greater reserve in terms of neurons and skills. Ever since, this has been known as "cognitive reserve". It is also the brain's ability to create new neural pathways and connections.

Researchers later produced great evidence that mentally ...

The Doctor's In: Driving with Your Brain

Earlier this year, I wrote about the cognitive skills necessary for safe driving. It’s ever more clear that abilities such as vision, reaction times, attention, judgment and ability to multi-task, are all essential to our ability to be safe on the road. As we age, our brains change and our ability to multi-task decreases. Elderly drivers need to pay attention on the road and not use the phone—especially dialing numbers. (This is true for younger drivers as well, but is a much harder sell, I’m afraid). This month, the Dana Foundation summarizes some recent articles on this topic that’s worth a read here. Check out the featured game below. It can significantly help to train your ...

Brain Fitness at the Senior Olympics

The Summer National Senior Games are being held from August 1-15 in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Athlete Village at Stanford University Campus. This is the largest multi-sport event for qualifying athletes ages 50 and older. We salute all the athletes who participated on over 20 distinct sporting events. How very inspiring it is to see! Check out this article Too Old to Compete? Don't Tell These Athletes for a dose of inspiration and find out about Stanci (56) who is blind and and has been swimming in competitions for years, or Dee (78) and Johnie (82), the tennis playing couple!

HAPPYneuron was proud to participate. At the Humana tent at the Stanford University campus, ...

The Doctor's In - Feed your brain right!

Want to consume the best foods for your brain? Find out why wild salmon is better than farm-raised salmon, why your brain loves cacao and coffee beans but may be less keen on chocolate and coffee drinks. Why matcha, that Japanese green tea powder, is nothing like standard tea bags, what acais actually are, and finally, why blueberries are also know as "brainberries"! Read about it here.

Keep That Coffee Habit!

Not just one, but two recent studies have shown that increases in caffeine caused significant decreases in abnormal levels of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists believe that the discoveries could lead to caffeine being a treatment in the future as well as defensive strategy against Alzheimer's disease. Pour another cup of coffee and read more about it at Medical News Today.

Your Brain in the Workplace

Want to know why programing your Blackberry should be viewed as a challenge and not a punishment? Why constantly learning new things will help you learn even better over time? Do you know what time of day your brain is most likely to retain new information? Why learning on the job is beneficial for everyone?

Learning on the job isn’t a luxury these days; it’s absolutely necessary. Plus we all expected to be working longer in life than our parents did. And that's where your brain at work comes in. Ideally you need your brian to performing at peak levels in order to contually learn and adapt to new situations.

We are delighted to see that the Dana Foundation has ...

Hang Out This Holiday Weekend for the Good of Your Brain

There are likely to be BBQs, family gatherings, community events and fireworks on the agenda over the next few days. Is this good for your brain? “Absolutely” says the scientific community who have studied the positive effects of socializing on the brain - specifically delaying brain decline and reducing stress. Read more about the benefits of socializing here ...

Get a healthy Brain Lifestyle!

Do you have trouble remembering things? Doing memory exercises and working on memory retention strategies can help a lot. HAPPYneuron is a great solution.

But what if you even forget to do your memory workout? Now, with the new “Workout Reminders” feature, you can tell the HAPPYneuron coach to email your personalized workout on a schedule that suits you. You may never forget your brain workout again!

The Doctor's In: Train your memory and shape up your school results!

Last year, the New York Times published an article on how memory training is good for the brain. It is possible to improve your general ability to solve complex problems, also called "fluid intelligence"? This can only be excellent news for you and all graduating students! The scientists studied 4 groups of volunteers who all underwent a daily half-hour memory training for a shorter or longer period, depending on the group and found that all participants had significantly improved. Read more about it here ...

The Doctor's In: 10 signs of Alzheimer's Disease

The Alzheimer's Association recently published an article on the 10 signs of Alzheimer's disease. The first sign is occasional memory loss, like not being able to remember important dates or events, further signs are difficulties in planning or solving problems, completing everyday tasks, confusing time and place and not knowing how and why you arrived to a particular location. You can read about the different types of memory loss here and learn more about the 10 signs of Alzheimer's disease here...

Your Insurance Against Brain Decline

Did you know that the average lifetime cost of care for an individual with Alzheimer's is almost $175,000? Laura Fay, HAPPYneuron's CEO, speaks about this in a recent podcast interview. The cost of a cognitive cross training program seems small when faced with the possibility of that type of personal financial burden in the future. When systematic cognitive training is included in a brain healthy lifestyle, it offers an additional level of insurance against brain decline. You can learn more about the magnitude of the economic impact of Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), the strategies that can be used to slow mental decline, and how HAPPYneuron is helping to educate the ...

Sleep your way to a Healthy Brain

We instinctively know that sleep is important if we want to think clearly. Now, according to a study published on April 3 in the journal Science, researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health found more evidence that sleep resets the brain to allow more growth and learning the next day. Read about their fascinating research here and get a good nights sleep - your brain will thank you for it.

Cognitive Progress Graphs

Check out the Cognitive Progress graphs in your personal profile page. These have been updated to better show your overall progress since the beginning of your cognitive training with HAPPYneuron. We hope they will encourage you to keep up with your brain workouts!
There are six progress charts – one showing your overall HAPPYneuron Performance Index (HPI) progress, and one for each of your cognitive functions of Memory, Language, Attention, Visual-Spatial skills and Executive Function. As always, you can drill down for more detailed information in each area. Check it out and give us your comments.

The Doctor’s In - How does the Brain Work?

You may find this primer about brain development and functioning, created by the Society of Neuroscience, quite interesting. This is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians whose mission it is to research and educate. The primer is called Brain Facts. It's written with a non-medical audience in mind and it's available for free. Definitely worth checking out if you have an interest in how the brain works, how memory is stored in the brain, how changes in the neural pathways effect our memory, the process of learning, and more.

Cognitive Cross Training Explained

Last week HAPPYneuron’s Laura Fay spoke with Adriane Berg of the Longevity Club Radio Show about the cross training program, the history of brain science, the impact of technology on the effectiveness of the program and the resulting cognitive health benefits for life. Listen on (about 5 minutes into the show).

Be a safe Driver

Cognitive capabilities are important to strengthen for continued safe driving as we age. In recent years, state-sponsored research in Maryland has shown that if a driver fails a cognitive test, he is 25 percent more likely to be involved in a crash. That’s quite a statistic! The good news is that the cognitive abilities important to driving can be prolonged and even rehabilitated even if they are in decline. Read Dr. Croisile's full article here...

What are all the different types of Memory Loss?

I am asked this question all the time. There are many memory disorders and it's often difficult to understand the differences. Here's a brief overview.

Normal memory loss: Everybody's brain ages. As the connections and chemicals in the brain alter with time, many people forget things like names, keys, and what the they went in the next room for. This is pretty normal, and doesn't automatically lead to deterioration if a person is leading a brain healthy lifestyle.

Mild cognitive impairment: Problems with memory, language, or other problem solving functions are now noticeable to others but may not interfere with daily life. For example, Mom continually loses her keys ...

For the Good of your Brain, Learn about St. Patrick's Day!

Exposing your brain to new information is important. On this St. Patrick's Day (Tuesday, March 17th) ask yourself what you really know about it except that people wear green and lots of beer is consumed? Like most holidays we celebrate, the history and the traditions go way deeper than that. Impress your Irish and non-Irish friends alike, with your knowledge. Read about the History of St. Patrick's Day and about who was St. Patrick?.....hint - he wasn't actually Irish.

Drink a Day may Delay Dementia

A drink may actually be good for your brain. A 2007 study led by researchers at the Department of Geriatrics at the University of Bari, Italy, and published by the American Academy of Neurology, found that for people with mild cognitive impairment, consuming up to one drink of alcohol a day may slow their progression to dementia.

Brain Decline, Brain Health and Staying Vital

Laura Fay, HAPPYneuron's CEO discusses importance of staying mentally fit and how to improve cognitive abilities on the "Coping with Caregiving" Radio show last weekend. Revealing that brain decline starts as early as our 30s, she discusses all the elements required to keep your brain healthy and how to lower your risk of accelerated brain decline. For your listening pleasure, the 10 minute show was recorded and is available for listening here.

For the Good of Your Brain, Learn about President's Day!

We all know that learning new skills is good for the brain. The scientists tell us that learning new information of any kind is important. So let's learn. Perhaps you know the 3rd Monday in February as President’s Day?.. unless you live in a state where it’s known as Washington’s Birthday or Lincoln/Washington Day. Confusing? Sort it all out for yourself, and your friends, by watching a short video explaining the whole thing…and then some!

For the Good of Your Brain, Learn about St. Valentine's Day

We all know that learning new skills is good for the brain. The scientists tell us that learning new information of any kind is important. So let's learn something about Valentine's Day.....Just who was St. Valentine? What was the date of the first mail-posted valentine card on record? Why do we celebrate it on Feb 14th? Impress your friends with your knowledge...go to the HERE for all you need to learn.

Your Brain in Stressful Economic Times

Sandrine Belier, Ph. D., Cognitive Psychology, discuss this question. She also talks about how a fit and healthy brain can guard against all the doom and gloom that seems to be in the news every day. Read what she has to say on these topics at the HAPPYneuron Blog.

HAPPYneuron's Scientific Foundation

For many years, I and, the HAPPYneuron scientific team have been working with prestigious medical institutions and universities to collaborate on the effective use of interactive Cognitive Training activities for the deferral of brain decline in addition to the remediation of specific conditions such as Mild Cognitive Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Depression and Schizophrenia. Many of you have expressed interest in these so we recently posted a list of research studies. There are many more in progress and they will be posted as the information becomes available.

Did You Know?: Peer Comparison Methods Matter

Age, gender and education level are the three primary variables that influence your cognitive reserve and your natural cognitive orientation. Therefore, from a cognitive performance perspective, your peers are the people of the same age, gender and education level as you and they can be expected to have a similar cognitive performance as you. Therefore, scientifically, it is essential that all comparisons relative to others are performed factoring these 3 important factors. With almost 18.5M data points in the HAPPYneuron database, these comparisons are very accurate and are becoming ever more accurate with each passing day. So the more YOU workout your brain, the more it helps OTHERS ...

Keeping Your Brain Young

Woman’s Day Radio Host Barbara Brody, Health Editor at Woman’s Day Magazine, interviews Dr. Coleman of the Alzheimer’s Association and Dr. Robert Bender of the Johnny Orr Memory Center and the HAPPYneuron Scientific Team, on the topic of keeping our brain’s young. The program is about 30 minutes long. Definitely worth a listen! Click here to go to WD Radio and hear the show.

How Does the Brain Really Work?

The Alzheimer’s Association has done a very nice job of offering a wonderful Interactive Tour of the Brain in 13 languages. Check it out....

Seven Simple Tips for a Healthier Brain

Dr. Bernard Croisile, MD Neurology, Ph.D. Neuropsychology, gives you some easy tips on how you can take control of your brain's health and make the most of your mind.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Head Injury

This article has been written by Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D. a subject expert from Prevention, a strong HAPPYneuron partner. "Many of us are unaware that head injury, especially repeated head injury or concussion, is a risk for our brain's long term health. As I wrote last time, new evidence suggests that repeated head injury among athletes may increase their risk for a progressive cognitive disorder. However, even those of us"

Seven Simple Tips for a Healthier Brain

Author of Dental Floss for the Mind, Get your Brain in the Fast Lane and Broccoli for the Brain, neurologist Dr. Bernard Croisile, Ph.D., gives you some easy tips on how you can take control of your brain's health and make the most of your mind.

Losing One's Mind

Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities. The most common form of dementia among older people is Alzheimer's disease (AD), which initially involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Although scientists are learning more every day, right now they still do not know what causes AD, and there is no cure.

In this Time/CNN article, Walter Kukull, director of the U.S. National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center explains how researchers could reduce people's risk of Alzheimer's Disease. In this brief yet informative interview, he talks about genetics, drug discovery, and mitigating diseases.

Remember Me?

We're entering the season of graduations, summer vacations and parties, as well as family reunions. Often we see people during these events that we haven't seen for awhile and the faces are familiar, but we can't recall their names. Christine Green, Ph.D. and blog contributor to Prevention Magazine's website, has some tips for how to remember names and avoid those embarrassing pauses while you search your memory bank for clues.

The Doctor is In

Ever wonder what the biggest misconception is about the role of brain training? This article is an insightful piece based on an interview with Dr. Michel Noir, co-founder of Happy-Neuron. An engaging look into his research and observations, you will discover how cognitive abilities are developed over the span of a person's lifetime, starting from when they are born. Learn how brain training actually works, including the underlying phsyiological mechanisms that explain how mental training benefits the brain.

Natural Ways to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Research has shown that diet and exercise have an impact on preventing this dreaded disease. Vitamins, fish oil and a daily stroll can be your best defense, not to mention making your quality of life more enjoyable. Gale Maleskey, MS, RD (registered dietician), writes for Stop Aging Now about ways to keep your brain sharp and prevent Alzheimer's.

Got Tea?

In a recent article posted on BeautyEats.com, there were 7 reasons listed to drink green tea. One of the 7 reasons was to "PROTECT YOUR MEMORY, OR YOUR MOM'S." Green tea may keep the brain from turning fuzzy. Getting-up-there adults who drink at least two cups a day are half as likely to develop cognitive problems as those who drink less. Why? It appears that the tea's big dose of antioxidants fights the free-radical damage to brain nerves seen in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

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