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 training programs could be an excellent way to stimulate your brain.
More about these studies here and here.

Fears And Emotions: Just talk about it
Researchers showed that it is possible to master your fears and emotions by speaking them out. Subjects suffering from extreme fear of spiders first had to slowly approach a spider. Then, they were shown spider images. Finally, they were 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, the phobia in the first group had been greatly reduced.
More information here.

Feeling bored? Maybe you're not paying enough attention!
Boredom is often just temporary and harmless but for some, boredom may actually be a chronic condition with serious consequences for both health and wellness. Boredom has never been clearly and scientifically defined. A research team from Canada analyzed several studies on the topic in neurosciences and psychology in order to understand the psychological and cognitive underlying mechanisms. Here's their definition of boredom: "an aversive state of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity". They were also able to determine the various causes of boredom which may partly be due to attention disorders.

How sugar affects your memory
A study published in the Journal of Physiology showed the negative effects 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...
Visit our blog to read the full article!

Bilingual Babies
Over to a brand new study from the beginning of the year: A French-American research team showed that bilingual babies use additional strategies to distinguish their two mother tongues. The study revealed that by the age of seven months, babies are able to distinguish between the two languages. To do so, they use the prosodic details of each language. Prosody can be described as the features of spoken language. It includes rythm, pronunciation and intonation such as length and level of sounds. Interesting elements on language acquisition! And good news for parents with bilingual children: no reason to worry, your babies will be perfectly able to learn both languages!

Source: http://www.


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