Archive for the ‘brain improvement’ Category

That Challenging Job May Be Helping Your Brain

June 16, 2015

lovejobDid you know that a job or work that is mentally demanding can actually help protect your memory and thinking skills later in life?

According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, challenges at work can be positive if they build up mental reserve over the long term. In fact, the type of career you have may be even more important than your education level for protecting brain health.

In the study, a thousand people over age 75 were given memory and thinking tests every 18 months for eight years. Researchers rated participants’ work history based on how often participants had to schedule activities, resolve conflict, develop strategies and perform other complicated tasks.

They found that those who had the highest levels of tasks that stimulated verbal intelligence and executive functions during their career had half the rate of mental decline compared to those with low levels of mentally demanding tasks.

One of the first signs of age-related cognitive decline is a decrease in executive function—the ability to organize thoughts. But just as lifting weights builds muscle, handling challenging mental tasks every day may strengthen neural processes that then build up mental reserve in old age.

So take your job and love it—it may be the ticket to enjoying a great retirement!

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power and concentration. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Things You Can Do to Turbocharge Your Brain—Part Two

March 23, 2015

Based on her extensive research, Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D. and expert in brain science, has developed seven suggestions for improving brain performance that anyone can implement.

We posted Dr. Chapman’s first three suggestions in our March 3rd post. Here are her remaining four tips for turbocharging the brain:

Thinker3Think big—The brain is designed to shift between details and the big picture, so it gets overwhelmed by too much focus on details and minutiae. It’s more effective to take the time to think about a problem or idea from the 10,000-foot view. This shifts our perspective—and strengthens brain systems to generate high-level ideas and transformative solutions.

Calibrate mental effort—Mental energy, like physical energy, can be depleted. Prioritize your day by focusing effort on the most important tasks while your brain is at peak operating power, usually at the start of the day.

Innovate—Stepping outside your routine is important to brain health and performance. Our brains seek novelty and innovation, so challenge yourself to expand your knowledge and learn new skills.

Motivate—While it is important to learn new skills, the brain is happiest when exploring areas you are passionate about. Focusing on what motivates and matters to you actually increases your rate of learning.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power and concentration. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Things You Can Do to Turbocharge Your Brain—Part One

March 16, 2015

The human brain is the most powerful and complex electro-biochemical machine ever created—housing 100 billion neurons in a small calcium shell, laced with organic pumps, channels, and switches.

Researchers are finding that rather than being static and unchangeable, this amazing organ is dynamic, adaptable, flexible and repairable. Based on her extensive research, Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D. and expert in brain science, has developed seven suggestions for improving brain performance that anyone can implement. Dr. Chapman is Founder and Chief Director of the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas

Here are Dr. Chapman’s first three suggestions (The remaining tips can be found in our March 16th post):

multitask3Start single tasking—Your brain is not built to perform two tasks at the same time. Instead, it must switch quickly from task to unrelated task. Multitasking actually tires the brain and activates stress hormones. So contrary to what multitaskers think, giving your full attention to the project at hand will increase accuracy, innovation, and speed.

Limit information—Thanks to our technology-driven and uber-connected world, the sheer volume of information we are exposed to every day is nearly 200 times more than we were exposed to 20 years ago! Research shows that this information overload comes at a price. High-performing minds are more efficient at knowing what to block out and what to keenly pay attention to. Limit what you take in to enhance your brain’s natural ability to block out what does not matter.

Detox distractions—On average, individuals work for three minutes at a time before being interrupted. Complicating matters, technology is actually rewiring our brains to be addicted to interruption, as we anxiously wait for the next ping signaling a new email, text or social media post. By silencing your phone and computer and closing your office door, you can actually accelerate your brain’s ability to complete tasks.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power and concentration. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Facts About Alzheimer’s

February 16, 2015

AlzRise2The number of Alzheimer’s cases continues to increase every year as our population grows older. Following are some basic facts about this devastating disease as reported in a recent AARP Bulletin:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia, a collective term for a number of conditions marked by a loss of mental abilities.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Alzheimer’s sufferers are women. While young people can develop Alzheimer’s, the disease is most common among people over 65.
  • Alzheimer’s currently costs the U.S. some $214 billion annually. One study estimates that 42 percent of families that include someone with Alzheimer’s spend more than $20,000 a year for care.
  • Recent studies show that the cost of caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has surpassed the cost of treatment for cancer patients or victims of heart disease. One reason is that the disease can linger for years, meaning extremely high long-term costs for both government insurance programs and families.
  • The number of Alzheimer’s cases continues to increase every year as the population grows older.
  • Alzheimer’s lags behind other diseases when it comes to federal funding for research on prevention and treatment.

Optiminds offers adults and seniors customized brain training programs designed to stimulate targeted areas of the brain. Our programs include mental/emotional exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills along with recommendations on diet and physical exercise tailored to older adults.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Researchers Still Don’t Know If Cognitive Benefits of Playing Brain Games are Long-Term

January 9, 2015

Brain research has been a very active field in recent years and we continue to learn new things about our brains all the time.

braingames1Scientists now know, for example, that the brain remains malleable even into old age, taking in new information, processing it and sparking new neurons. We also know that any mental workout—from learning a new language to playing computer games—produces changes in the neural systems that support acquisition of the new skill.

But while there is data to support that people who play brain games, for example, get better and faster at playing them the longer they participate, what is not yet known is whether or not these abilities are able to be transferred to everyday, real-world tasks.

As researchers continue to study whether or not activities such as playing brain games have long-term cognitive benefits, it’s good to know that if you find brain games enjoyable, playing them certainly can’t hurt. The best way to keep minds sharp is to remain active and engaged—and that includes physical activity, reading and socializing with friends.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Games That Help Enhance Cognitive Skills

December 9, 2014

inchimalsResearch shows that learning skills can be taught—and therefore improved. So if you are looking for some ideas this Christmas for games that will help your children’s learning skills while providing hours of entertainment, here a few affordable ideas to get you started:

For ages three years and older:
Inchimals—Good for teaching young children basic addition, subtraction and measurement skills while reinforcing their ability to count. Includes 12 wooden blocks and a spiral-bound, dry-erase notebook with 100 puzzles.

For ages seven years and older:
Kanoodle—two brain-twisting solitaire games in a pocket-sized case. Kids use combinations of colored connected beads to construct designs from the enclosed puzzle book. Because the game is portable, kids can Kanoodle anywhere.

Double Bananagrams—This award-winning word game needs no pencil, paper, or board. It’s great for travel and with 288 tiles, this version of Bananagrams can be played with up to 16 people.

For ages eight years and older, one or more players:
Bop It—This modern-day, handheld version of “Simon Says” stimulates social interaction plus thinking and motor skills. It also helps children listen and follow directions. Comes in many versions and makes an excellent family or travel game.

Looking for a tutor in the metro Detroit area? Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Help Your Child Concentrate Better

August 23, 2014

At a time when multitasking (texting, listening to music, surfing the Internet)— is becoming the new normal, you may find that your child is having trouble focusing on the task at hand.

If you can establish effective focus strategies and concentration skills at an early age, you will have provided a foundation for long-term success in high school, college and the professional working world.

Here are some practical and manageable tips parents can use to help their children focus:

Set expectations early—Explain to your children that just as you have many important responsibilities (at home, at work, in your community, etc.), learning is their most important “job” right now. Establish a routine for homework and studying by including younger children in homework by having them color or look at books while older children are doing homework.

Divide big projects into small tasks—Big projects can overwhelm. Splitting the task up will give your child the feeling of progress as the pieces are completed.

Manage distractions—Set up rules such as: no television, phone or computer until homework is done. Research has found that certain types of music such as classical and instrumental help people concentrate better, so consider playing Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

Use time to increase focus— Sometimes setting a short period of time will help a child focus longer. Set a timer for a particular task that your child can work to “beat.” One rule of thumb is that a child can focus on a single activity for about one minute per year of age.

Establish rules for doing homework—Make a rule that your children’s homework and studying be completed (neatly and correctly) before going out to play. As seasons and activities change throughout the year, be flexible and adapt to changing schedules.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Your Brain Is Much Better Than You Think

August 9, 2014

brainpower1No human has fully explored the capacities of the brain. Contemporary psychological research has shown that, when it comes to the human brain,we have more potential—virtually unlimited—than we think.

In 1968, psychologist Pyotr Anokhin demonstrated that the minimum number of potential thought patterns the average brain can make is the number 1 followed by 10.5 million kilometers of typewritten zeros.

Scientists have also found that the brain:

  • is capable of making a virtually unlimited number of synaptic connections or potential patterns of thought
  • is more flexible and multidimensional than any supercomputer
  • can learn seven facts per second, every second, for the rest of your life and still have plenty of room left to learn more
  • will improve with age if you use it properly
  • is not just in your head; intelligence is also located in cells that are distributed throughout the body.
  • is unique. There has never been anyone quite like you. Your creative gifts, expressions, DNA and dreams are unprecedented and unique.

Source: “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci,” by Michael J. Gelb.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.


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