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Friday
Dec272013

Brain Lobes--Easy to Remember!

The brain is a very complex organ. There are four major lobes of the brain. Here are some great visuals to help you remember the names and locations of each one.

1. The front of your brain is actually called the frontal lobe. Make a scowl like you are thinking really hard. Your frontal lobe is the area where you make judgments. So to remember the frontal lobe think of a judge in a courtroom with a deep thought, his scowl will help you remember that the front part of the brain is where our judgments come from.

2. The area in the back of the brain is called the parietal (pe-r ī –e-tal) lobe. So to remember how to say it, think of a purring cat that I tell (purr-I-etal) did a good job. The parietal lobe is an area where academic thinking like math calculations take place. To remember the parietal lobe think of the purring cat that did a math problem at home and his parents patted him on the top of his head because he got the answer right. He was so happy that he started purring.

3. The third lobe is at the back bottom of your head, the area called the occipital (\äk-si-pə-təl\) lobe plays a large part in your vision. Have you ever had to drink medicine you thought tasted bad? You see it and say “Ach! Do I have to sip it?” And your mom says, “Sip a little” or “Ach, sip a little.” So you can remember that, the back part of your head is where you store what you see, and to remember how to say it you will remember to see medicine that makes you say, “Ach! Do I have to sip it?” And what does your mom say? “A little.”

4. The last lobe is on the side of your head right above your ears. It’s called the temporal lobe. Have you ever watched a cartoon where the character has a temper and you see steam come out of their ears? You can think of it to help you remember the temporal lobe. Think of steam coming out of your ears. I have a memory of hitting my head while I was getting out of the car: it hurt really bad and made me mad. Have you ever hit your head on something and showed your temper? So let’s recall that memory to remember the temporal lobe.  

Wednesday
Dec252013

Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to say to all our clients, friends, family, and readers...Happy Holidays! 

Take some time today to breathe, laugh, relax, smile, love, and be grateful. Don't let the stress of the season overwhelm your brain, your heart, or your mind. 

I hope you enjoy each moment of the holiday season!

Friday
Dec202013

5 Brain Health Articles Trending Now

1. Brain connections strengthen while children sleep.

Although connections within hemispheres weaken during children’s sleep, the connections between hemispheres are strengthened.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269185.php


2. Brains of children with non-verbal learning disability different from those with high-functioning autism.

Researchers have discovered evidence that the brains of children with NVLD actually develop differently than other children, even those with HFA.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269167.php 

 

3. Blood biomarker predicts which TBI victims will have most damage.

Researchers have discovered that calpain-cleaved all-spectrin N-terminal fragment (SNTF) can serve as a biomarker to predict which concussion victims will have the worst white matter tract structural damage and persistent cognitive dysfunction.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269119.php 

 

4. Exercise during pregnancy helps newborn baby’s brain develop.

Mothers who exercised while pregnant had newborns (ages 8 to 12 days) with brains that had more mature cerebral activation. This suggests that the babies’ brains (of whose mothers exercised during pregnancy) developed more rapidly.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/269043.php 

 

5. Self-reflection during depression increases brain activity.

People who think about themselves during a depressive episode have increased brain activity compared to those who aren’t depressed.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268518.php 

 

Tuesday
Dec172013

Great Apps for Tweens!

Somewhere between being a grade-schooler and a full-fledged teen is your tween angel. Their brain is still developing and craving information, and it’s as good a time as any to take advantage of its “plasticity,” that is, its ability to change, grow and strengthen connections. Other than one-on-one brain training, the best (and perhaps cheapest!) way to do that is with free apps that build cognitive skills like memory, attention, visual and auditory processing, logic & reasoning, and processing speed.

With the holidays here, many children have technology and iTunes gift cards are on their wish lists. Here are a few we found that fit the bill:

1. Word Stack Free by MochiBits

Stack and match associated words, synonyms, antonyms, compound words, or words that are just related in some way. The stacks get progressively harder so you’ll have to do some planning; a word can be matched to multiple words so you’ll need to get the correct order! The free version comes with 40 free stacks and you have the option to buy more.

2. Flow Free by Big Duck Games

For kids who like Tetris, this game will be a blast. Pair matching colors with pipes to create a flow, covering the board to solve the puzzle. You can             race against a timer or play freely through hundreds of levels.

3. Left Vs. Right: A Brain Game by MochiBits

Although the myth of “right-brained” vs. “left-brained” people has been debunked, this game still provides a fun and brain-building workout. Match written words (like “orange”) with the perceived colors. It’s harder than it sounds!

4. Clockwork Brain by Total Eclipse

Named one of the 500 Best Apps in the World by The London Times, this app includes a variety of games to test memory, visual/spatial ability, language processing and logic.

5. Conundra by Sarah Pierce

If you like Scrabble (and want to see your scores improve!), Boggle and Hangman, this anagram game is right up your alley. The anagrams are from 6-10 letters long and there are three free levels.

6. Mathdoku+ by Tapps Tecnologia da Informacao

Like Sudoku? Love math? This game combines them to create 700 levels of entertainment to build reasoning, logic, and math skills.

7. 4 Pics 1 Word Puzzle: What’s That Word? By Second Gear Games

This visually challenging game shows four pictures – revealed one at a time--that all represent the same word. Guess the word with fewer photos being shown and you earn coins. There are 10 levels with 250 words.

All these games can be found on iTunes.

Thursday
Dec122013

Protect Your Brain As You Age--Fight Alzheimer's

Americans’ average life expectancy is 78, meaning there are plenty of people living well into their 90s. And as advances in healthcare and technology increase, the 65+ population is growing quickly. The Administration on Aging predicts that the U.S. will have 55 million seniors in 2020.

But living longer also means more people will suffer from what is perhaps our greatest threat to older Americans today: Alzheimer’s. The brain disease causes a decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills, which in turn makes caregiving difficult for loved ones – mentally, emotionally, physically and sometimes financially.

The good news is, scientists around the globe are working hard to find a cure for the disease, and there are ways you can fight back against Alzheimer’s. Here are 10 ideas to help you fight against Alzheimer's. 

  1. Raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. There are countless ways to help raise funds that don’t involve cold calling! You can search the Alzheimer’s Association’s website (http://www.alz.org) for a local fundraising “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” or sign up for a credit card that allows you to donate a portion of your purchases to the charity of your choice (http://www.nerdwallet.com). Using search engines like Good Search (http://www.goodsearch.com/ or making purchases through socially responsible shopping sites like iGive (http://www.igive.com) or GiftBack (http://www.giftback.com).
  2. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Although more evidence is needed, research indicates that high intake of omega-3s may reduce the risk of dementia or cognitive decline. That’s because DHA is found in the fatty membranes of the brain’s nerve cells, especially where the cells connect.
  3. Create a baseline. Because early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease is an inherited genetic disorder, it’s important to create a cognitive baseline against which you can compare changes down the road. No one test can confirm Alzheimer’s disease, getting a diagnosis – especially for early onset – may require a medical exam, cognitive tests, a neurological exam and/or brain imaging. A cognitive skills training specialist can measure your brain skills to help you create a baseline.
  4. Exercise regularly. Studies show that even moderate exercise may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and/or change its course once the disease begins to develop.
  5. Talk to your doctor about medications. Currently there are two types of medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s. These are cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Some doctors prescribe both together. While these drugs aren’t cures for the disease, they can help lessen symptoms like memory loss and confusion.
  6. Sign up for a clinical trial. Participation in clinical trials is one way you can contribute to the fight against Alzheimer’s – and it’s not just people with the disease who are needed! Researchers need help from healthy volunteers and caregivers as well to help detect, treat and prevent Alzheimer’s. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s website (http://www.alz.org) to check out TrialMatch, a free service that connects volunteers with current studies across the country.
  7. Enroll in personal brain training. We now know that the brain is "plastic" – capable of change at any age – and customized brain training programs have proved to be incredibly effective in strengthening weak brain skills in seniors. Allan Wren, director of a LearningRx (www.LearningRx.com) brain training center in Texarkana, put his own father through cognitive skills training after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. "He attended two three-month 'Think' programs with a small break in between," says Wren. "He achieved a 20 percent gain in short-term memory in his first and second efforts." Those kinds of gains can make a significant impact on quality of life for both the person with Alzheimer's and their family members, as short-term memory is one of the first brain skills to be impacted by the disease.
  8. Ask about vitamin E. Because vitamin E is an antioxidant, it may protect brain cells and other tissues when used under doctor supervision. But high doses can increase your risk of death – especially if you have coronary artery disease. In addition, vitamin E can interact with medications, like blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
  9. Manage your diabetes. Research seems to indicate that people with diabetes – especially type 2 – have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The best things you can do is manage your diabetes by eating healthy, exercising, taking prescribed medications on schedule and monitoring your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.
  10. Sign up to be an advocate. Join the Alzheimer’s Association in speaking up for the needs and rights of those affected by the disease. As a volunteer advocate, you can contact elected officials through letters and phone calls to help persuade them to address pressing needs through legislative action. To find out more, visit www.alz.org.