UCLA researchers found that older adults who regularly used a brain fitness program played on a computer demonstrated significantly improved memory and language skills. The study’s findings add to the field exploring whether such brain fitness tools may help improve language and memory and may ultimately help protect individuals from the cognitive decline associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
The phenomenon of highly superior autobiographical memory – first documented in 2006 by UCI neurobiologist James McGaugh and colleagues in a woman identified as “AJ” – has been profiled on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and in hundreds of other media outlets. UC Irvine scientists have discovered intriguing differences in the brains and mental processes of an extraordinary group of people with effortless autobiographical memory – in this people, they can easily recall every moment of their lives since about age 10.
You are headed out the door and you realize you do not have your car keys. After a few minutes of rifling through pockets, checking the seat cushions and scanning the coffee table, you find the familiar key ring and off you go. Easy enough, right?
Millions of people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries or amputees could soon interact with their computers and surroundings using just their eyes, thanks to a new device that costs less than £40 (approximately $62.00). Included in this report is a video demonstration of this new device as well as a link to download the original, full-text study.
So far it has seemed an irreparable limitation of human perception that we strain to perceive things in the very rapid succession of, say, less than half a second. Psychologists call this deficit an “attentional blink.” We’ll notice that first car spinning out in our path, but maybe not register the one immediately beyond it. It turns out, we can learn to do better after all.
Preventing diabetes or delaying its onset has been thought to stave off cognitive decline. This connection is strongly supported by the results of a 9-year study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) in Japan have uncovered two brain signals in the human prefrontal cortex involved in how humans predict the decisions of other people. Their results suggest that the two signals, each located in distinct prefrontal circuits, strike a balance between expected and observed rewards and choices, which enables humans to predict the actions of people with different values than their own.
Every day the human brain is presented with tasks ranging from the trivial to the complex. How much mental effort and attention are devoted to each task is usually determined in a split second and without conscious awareness. Now a study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers finds that a structure deep within the brain, believed to play an important role in regulating conscious control of goal-directed behavior, helps to optimize behavioral responses by predicting how difficult upcoming tasks will be.