Posts Tagged ‘brain-training’

Music Training as Brain Training

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

In a broad review of research data from around the world, scientists Nina Kraus and Bharath Chandrasekaran from Northwestern University have found consistent evidence that musical training has a strong positive impact on the development brain function, in particular language, speech, memory, and attention. Their report “Music training for the development of auditory skills” was published in the July 20 issue of the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

“The effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness and thus requires society to re-examine the role of music in shaping individual development, ” the report concludes, and advocates for inceased investment in musical training.

Here of some snippets derived from the data the report digests:

  • Musicians, as compared to non-musicians, more adeptly incorporate sound patterns when learning a new language
  • Children with musical training, versus those without, show stronger neural activation to pitch changes in speech and have a better vocabulary and reading ability
  • Musicians display enhanced cognitive and sensory abilities than non-musicians, making them better able to pick up speech in challenging listening environments
  • Music training seems to strengthen the same neural processes that often are deficient in individuals with developmental dyslexia or who have difficulty hearing speech in noise.

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, the benefits to musical aptitude and appreciation that people find from training with Brain Fitness Pro underscore the strong connection between music and core brain functions.

Brain Training Report – Session 273

Monday, July 12th, 2010

brain training dual n-back

Brain Fitness Pro Session 273

Session number: 273

Average n-back: 11.2

Duration (estimate in minutes): 40

After a nearly two weeks of not training (returning from a vacation) I reached my second highest dual n-back score today – 11.2.

Brain Fitness Pro working-memory training report

This post was submitted by martin.

New Brain Training System – The Humble Abacus

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

This story reminds us that many of the traditional teaching methods that fell out of favor in the last few decades had some distinct advantages, as brain training tools, over those that replaced them. Repetition and focus help strengthen and tune the brain’s processing skills as well as fine motor skills. Along with penmanship, times table memorization, and rote learning the abacus develops the raw material of intellectual development…

Akita Japan

Akita, Japan

A report in the Daily Yomiuri indicates that the abacus, or soroban in Japanese, is returning to favor as a means of assisting in the development of concentration and memory.

Abacus training and certifications are on the rise and some elementary school have reintroduced the deceptively simple-looking counting device.

Parent Haruko Sato said her fourth-grade son “listens better and has become more motivated” after studying at an abacus school.

Kiso Kubota, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, cognitive neuroscientist and author of a book on the abacus, attributes the mental benefits of the abacus (better memory and the logical thinking skills) to the intensive use of the prefrontal area of the brain for mental arithmetic.

japanese abacus brain training

Japanese Abacus or Soroban

In the 2011 school year, abacus will become a required subject for both third- and fourth-grade primary school students in Japan. In the 2009 school year, 3,147 public primary schools requested abacus instructors from soroban schools and related entities.

Unfortunately, given its long fallow period, many soroban instructors are nearing retirement age. The abacus league’s executive director, Shimpachi Waku, said the organization will increase its efforts to develop educators so soroban will remain “part of the country’s education and culture.”

Double-Session Training – Shaking Off The Rust

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

After a break of about a month I’m now three days into my renewed double-session training. Despite the time commitment I’m again finding this approach quite rewarding. I feel as though it’s already given me a needed boost in focus and follow-through. (I’ve completed several tasks in the last couple of days that had been outstanding for a while.)

Today I started with a session of “nines” and then hit a very good level of focus in a session of regular dual n-back.

"Nines" - Session 89

dual n-back - Session 261

Staten Island High School Practices Meditation

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

I found this piece very exciting. A high school in Staten Island, NY, is piloting a brief but regular period of meditation as an experiment to see whether it improves students’ concentration and academic performance. Fascinating!

“Before, they didn’t pay attention and they felt the need to be snarky in order to show they existed and to wake up. For teachers to yell at them about these things takes time out of class and makes them feel worse about themselves,” said Susan Finley, executive director of The Producers Project, which has been filming Concord High School students for seven years. “Now, when a teacher says focus, they know they can…There’s more confidence, they’re more relaxed in their own skin, and they feel more hopeful.”

The meditation practice is coupled with education about neuroplasticity and brain science.

(Image courtesy of

NY Times Article – Gadget and Information Overload

Monday, June 7th, 2010

My Desk - Complete with 3 Computers

The NY Times began a series of brain-related articles today with an article called “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price.” For anyone who uses even a modicum of technology for home and work, the story will resonate, I think.

The piece does a great job of outlining the dangers of being overly attached to e-mail, text messages, twitter feeds, and the Internet in general.

Knowing that our habits and repeated actions reinforce our need to stay connected and multi-task points to the solution – we must work mindfully and diligently to break the habit!

For me, it’s great to have a training program like Brain Fitness Pro that demands my attention and helps me train my brain to stay on task.

Brain Training Therapy For Brain Injury

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Psychologists in London, England, have shown that brain training can aid recovery from brain injuries.

As reported at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 16, 2010, scientists at London’s Metropolitan University, just 15 minutes of daily brain training brought about dramatic memory improvements.

According to Dr Simon Moore – “It is really interesting to find that people with brain injuries both benefited from, and enjoyed these brain training games, and we hope that they can become part of treatment programmes that improve brain injured patients’ independence and self-fulfilment.”

This finding reinforces the anecdotal reports from Mind Sparke customers that Brain Fitness Pro restores cognitive ability lost after brain injury from physical trauma, adverse drug reaction, or depression.

Brain Training Update: New Nines High

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I recently ended my experiment with doubled up daily sessions of regular dual n-back and “nines.” Although I wanted to see how far I could push it, other things got in the way. I’ve since reverted to one session per day, five days per week, alternating regular dual n-back and “nines.”

My scores continue to vary dramatically and today I reached a new high score at “nines” of 10.85. (I was even contemplating not training at all today because I felt time-pressured — an impulse I always try to ignore!)

Brain Training with Nines - Session 81

Brain Training with Nines - Session 81

Brain Training – Dual N-Back 11.3

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Well, I continue to be pleasantly perplexed by the progress I’ve made since I started training with a combination of dual n-back and “nines”. After a new dual n-back high on Friday of 10.9, today I reached 11.3, staying at n=13 for several rounds. “Nines” score today was 10.1.

Dual n-Back Brain Training - Session 244

Dual n-Back Brain Training - Session 244

Latest Brain Training Success Story

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Anne, MD and Harvard medical school grad, successfully gained entry to Mensa after training with Brain Fitness Pro.

“I took a Mensa home test prior to the training and didn’t pass…. Then I did the full training course, took the actual Mensa test, and got in! I’m very satisfied with the training.”

Do you have a brain training success story to share? Please let me know at