Archive for the ‘brain training’ Category

The Brain Initiative Holds Promise for Treating Brain Disorders

June 9, 2015

brain1With nearly 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections, the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries in science and one of the greatest challenges in medicine. In the last decade alone, scientists have made a number of landmark discoveries that now create the opportunity to unlock the mysteries of the brain.

Recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued its first research awards for what’s been called America’s next moon shot: the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The BRAIN Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.

By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain, giving us new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.

The hope is that the Brain Initiative will result in the development of innovative technologies to capture dynamic pictures that reveal how the brain’s cells and complex circuits interact at the speed of thought. This in turn will enable scientists to transform how we diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression and traumatic brain injury.

Sources: National Institutes of Health and AARP

Optiminds is a cognitive-based, professional brain training skills center that has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. 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.

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.

Start the New Year with a Gift of Cognitive Training

December 23, 2014

Optigift2Do you have a family member who is struggling at school or who could use a little help sharpening their memory skills? Why not gift them an Optiminds cognitive training program to give them a little boost in the new year?

At Optiminds, you’ll find individualized tutoring and brain training programs tailored to people of all ages—from children to high school and college students to baby boomers. We can customize a program to address specific issues ranging from ADHD and Alzheimer’s to math, memory, reading and home schooling.

Optiminds also offers ACT and SAT testing assistance. And we’ve recently added College Counseling and Athletic College Prep counseling to our offerings.
You might also want to give the gift of summer camp with our Optiminds Cognitive Camp, designed to help students keep their brains in shape over the summer.

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 in the metro Detroit area. 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.

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.

Teaching Your Child Critical Thinking

June 23, 2014

criticalthink2Children can begin to learn critical thinking very early. Critical thinking is a skill that elevates thinking beyond memorization into the realm of analysis and logic. It is about knowing how to think, not what to think.

Here are some things you can try with your children to get them used to thinking critically, a skill that will serve them well throughout life:

  • Ask open-ended questions that don’t have one right answer. This encourages children to respond creatively without being afraid of giving the wrong answer. They will begin to see themselves as problem solvers.
  • Teach your child to find patterns and connections in everyday things—at the park, watching TV, different shapes in road signs, etc.
  • Help children develop hypotheses. Ask them, “If we do this, what do you think will happen?” Or, “Let’s predict what we think will happen next.”
  • Categorize and classify things, such as sorting laundry or Legos. Classification requires us to identify and sort based on a set of rules. After classifying something, follow up by asking your child what the similarities and the differences were with the groups that were created.
  • Help your child consider the pros and cons of a situation and make a decision, even if it is a wrong decision. Then ask your child how they feel about their decision and what would they do differently next time.
  • Instead jumping in to solve problems all the time, ask your child some questions and provide enough information so he or she doesn’t get frustrated, but not so much information that you solve the problem for them.
  • Encourage your child to do research, to look for more information about a topic. You could help them search for information on the computer, at the library, or by asking mom or dad.

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.

Alzheimer’s Update

May 16, 2014

seniorcomputer1Every 67 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated 5.2 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, including approximately 200,000 individuals younger than age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will escalate rapidly in coming years as the baby boom generation ages. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.

Alzheimer’s is especially hard on women. Of the 5 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.2 million are women and 1.8 million are men. A woman’s estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man. Not only are women more likely to have Alzheimer’s, they are also more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive condition in the nation. In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Despite these staggering figures, Alzheimer’s will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) in 2050.

A lifestyle that focuses on physical activity and a healthy diet may help support brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s. You may also want to take advantage of Optiminds’ customized brain training programs for seniors. A mix of mental/emotional exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills, these programs are designed to increase mental capacity and help you process information better and more quickly.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling us at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And visit our website at optiminds.com to learn more about us.

Some “Timely” Tips for Improving Your Productivity

March 9, 2014

busterclock3We all have the same number of hours in a day, yet some of us accomplish a lot and others very little.

Following are some simple changes you can make in your daily routine that are sure to give your productivity a boost:

Plan ahead—A little planning can go a long way and keeps you from constantly being in reactive mode. Take 15 minutes each Sunday night to review the week ahead. Then take just 5 minutes each evening to review the next day’s schedule. You’ll be more efficient and less anxious about getting things done.

Take care of the most difficult tasks first—When we procrastinate and let the most challenging projects hang over our head, the resulting stress hurts our ability to focus on what we’re trying to do currently. Tackle the big things first and you’ll be energized. The momentum will carry you forward through the rest of the day.

Focus on one thing at a time—Multitasking reduces focus and robs each task of your undivided attention, making it harder to do your best work.

Reduce touch points—Try to avoid going back-and-forth between tasks before finishing them. The fewer times you touch an item, the more productive you become.

Learn to say “no”—Your time is your most important resource. Say no to less important things, so you are free to conquer those that matter most.

Take a break—Our bodies are built for intense periods of performance, followed by a little rest—ideally 90 minutes of total focus followed by a 10-minute break.

Reduce distractions—Carve out distraction-free time, and put aside anything that can be dealt with later. You don’t have to answer every incoming text or email immediately.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com; and “like” us on Facebook.


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