The Best in Brain News: December Digest

Fit Brains Monthly Brain Digest & Brain News

Read about current brain news and leading brain research in our latest monthly brain digest.

More Proof That Brain Training Helps Combat Dementia

Findings from an Australian study indicates that brain training can enhance memory and mood in older adults who suffer from mild cognitive impairment. Discover their findings!

Brain Training Games Help Lower ‘Chemobrain’ Issues

Researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered that brain training games involving focus, memory and visual abilities lower chemotherapy-induced neurological issues (“chemofog” or “chemobrain”) in cancer patients. Read more about their fascinating study.

Is It Better for Your Brain to Give Than Receive?

Does holiday gift shopping stress you out? Take heart, the act of giving is good for your brain and your overall life expectancy! Countless studies indicate that the act of giving is good for your brain, mood, health and overall longevity. Find out why and get into the holiday spirit!

Christmas Spirit & Your Brain!

Are you one of those people who can’t wait to put up Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving? Or are you a Scrooge? Scientists have discovered that people who like Christmas have different brain activity than those who ‘bah humbug’ during the holidays. Their research is preliminary but they hope there might be a cure for all Scrooges one day. Read this festive brain news and get your holiday cheer on!

Challenge Your Brain! Fit Brains offers fun smart games for your mind.

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THE FIT BRAINS TEAM

“Brain Training Success”

 

Superfoods for A Super You!

Fit Brains Superfoods

You are what you eat! Studies indicate that your brain cells can regenerate even as you age. Food is a key factor in this and there are some great superfoods for your noggin’.

1. Berry Clever

Blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress, lower the effects of age-related brain diseases, enhance learning capacity and motor skills. Plus this delicious fruit boosts memory. They are super brain food! Throw some blueberries into a smoothie for a healthy, delicious breakfast.

2. Nuttin’ Sharper

Walnuts, the ‘king’ of nuts is chock full of neuroprotective compounds that help motor skills, learning and memory. Its’ antioxidants help fight against the decline of cognitive aging. Munch on a handful of these yummy nuts today!

3. Smarty Fruity

Avocado, is a nutrient-dense fruit, it contains monounsaturated fat which helps blood flow, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. This superfood is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E. Slice some avocados into a salad and give your brain a boost!

Fit Brains Fun Games

Fit Brains offers the most and widest variety of fun games that stimulate all 6 key areas of your brain. Find out how you compare against your peers.

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

How to Meditate When You Think You Can’t

Woman Who Meditates

Meditation is a powerful practice that is good for both your brain and body. And, just like Fit Brains, you can do it for just 1 to 2 minutes anywhere, anytime with immediate benefits. So it’s a no-brainer that we should all do it.

Meditation 101 ‘Ommm’

1. Pick a general time

Meditate to start off your day but if you are too rushed in the morning, any time that’s convenient is fine. Just try to pick a time that you can do daily so it becomes easier to make it a habit.

2. Find a quiet spot

It can be your bed, a bench on a park or the beach.

3. Get into a comfortable position

Either sit or lie down. Don’t slouch. The ‘Savasana’ aka dead corpse pose in yoga is a great one, lie down with your palms facing up.

4. Keep your eyes open & soft

Focus your eyes on one spot and soften your eyes. If you have trouble concentrating, you can shut your eyes.

5. Focus on your breathing

Clear you mind of all thoughts. Follow the natural flow of your breath from your nose all the way down to your lungs. Notice how your chest, rib cage, shoulders and belly ebb and flow with each breath. If you start getting distracted (and you will), gently re-focus back on your breath. If you still can’t focus, then count to 5 while focusing on your breath. Don’t worry, in the beginning you may have thoughts flittering in and out of your mind or you may even fall asleep! Keep at it!

6. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes daily

Once you master meditating for a few minutes, increase the number of minutes the next week.

Namaste! Congratulations you’ve mastered your inner yogi. Now why not challenge your brain further?

Delight & Challenge Your Brain

Fit Brains Fun Brain GamesFit Brains is easy to pick up and hard to put down. With over 60+ games, we have the most and the widest variety of games on the market.

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Discover the Brain Benefits of Labor Day!

Man Working His Brain on Labor Day

Why your brain celebrates labor every day! It’s almost Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer, and by some reports, hot dog season. But we’re celebrating anyway! Aside from the positive contributions that workers of all kinds have given our society, work is good for your brain. Doing something new and challenging, like your work, benefits your mind. Fit Brain’s own Dr. Paul Nussbaum acknowledges the challenge and stress that can come with learning a new skill at work, but reassures that “You will develop new neural circuits, and your brain will thank you for the effort.” You will benefit the most if you try to continually challenge yourself by trying new tasks and learning new ways of doing things.

Even if you aren’t employed, learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby are other ways you can keep your mind active, challenged and engaged! Music lessons, sports, or a new language, are just a few examples of hobbies that can give you a new lease on life and stimulate your brain too.

Fun Fit Brains Games for the Brain

And, if you want to challenge and entertain your mind play Fit Brains fun games. Fit Brains games will give your brain “smart” entertainment.

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

 

Emotions: Can Machines Understand Them?

Many People Feeling Emotion

The short answer is that they could understand emotions if equipped with the proper sensors and algorithms.

Physiological Components of Emotions
Emotions always have a physiological component. When we feel excited our heart rate changes, skin conductance increases, facial expressions exaggerate. Many physical and physiological signatures of emotional states have been well studied and classified. For example, the facial action coding system developed by Paul Ekman have been used to detect emotion by computer scientists since the 1970s.

Today the advances in photography and affective computing made possible the development of more accurate automated face analysis. This is how it works. 1) The machine “attends” to the facial signals through automated face detection and registration, and “receives” facial signals with high speed cameras. 2) The next step is extracting key signals. In facial expression recognition, the signal components are called Action Units (AU), or the movement changes of individual facial muscles. The machine does this through a variety of algorithms such as principal component analysis, linear discriminant analysis, and support vector machine classifiers. 3) Based on the specific combination of AU, the machine concludes an emotion experienced by the recorded facial expression.

For example, pain is characterized by brow lowering (AU4), orbital tightening (AU6 and 7), eye closure (AU43), nose wrinkling and lip raise (AU9 and 10). After going through the preceding steps and detecting the changes in these Action Units the machine will conclude that the person experiences pain.

Other Key Factors
Physiological changes such as tone of voice, body movements, heart rate and more can be measured with biometric sensors. Many devices already have these sensors and collect the data. The algorithms to analyze this data and make conclusions about emotions are already developed. It’s just a matter of time before machines will actively read our emotions and use this information in ways we hope will benefit us.

The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”