The Best in May Brain News

Best May Brain News

Discover the latest May brain news and research in our latest monthly digest.

Psych Central : Early Life Brain Stimulation Linked to Robust Mental Health

Looking to combat cognitive decline? A new study has found that brain stimulating activities like leadership or management roles at work, continuing adult education or social engagement enhances mental agility in later years. Early and mid-life challenges help build cognitive reserve which provides a buffer against age or illness. Higher levels of reserve increase the chance of staying cognitively fit for longer. Start building your brain reserve and learn more about the findings of this large-scale research by the University of Exeter!

Science Daily: How Walking Benefits The Brain

Did you know that walking isn’t only good for your body but also your brain? Research by New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) reveals that this physical exercise can boost the blood supply to the brain. So go for a walk today.

NY Times: ‘Pacemaker’ for the Brain Can Help Memory, Study Finds

Scientists have discovered that zapping the brain with a little bit of electricity at the correct time may aid in enhancing memory. These findings might one day help create technologies to help people suffering from memory loss. Learn more about this cutting edge technique. 

Forbes : Too Much Sugar Linked To Reduced Memory, Brain Volume

Findings from a new study indicate that drinks laden with sugar are linked with brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease. On average, the more sugary beverages consumed, the lower the scores on memory exams and the lower overall brain volume. A reduction in brain volume has been associated with a higher risk for Alzheimer’s. Try to remove or lower the sugar in your drinks and discover more about this latest research! 

Play fun smart games that challenge and delight your memory and 5 other key brain areas for free!

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THE FIT BRAINS TEAM

Brain Training Success

Alzheimer’s Fundraiser: The Brainathon

Fit Brains Exiger Brainathon Alzheimer's Fundraiser

For years, the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease has been a moving target, with assumptions fueling a multitude of guesswork among practitioners and patients alike. But the past decade has been an awakening of sorts, and research has led to discovery of avenues to combat the disease. Exiger, the global regulatory and financial crime, risk, and compliance firm, sought out an innovative way to raise both the awareness of Alzheimer’s and funds to find a cure for the disease. In doing so, they partnered with Fit Brains. Fit Brains is an innovative brain training program from Rosetta Stone that helps users challenge their minds while playing progressively more difficult brain games. In joining forces with Exiger, we created a five-week fundraising event: The Brainathon. The result: over 35,000 raised for Alzheimer’s research in just five short weeks.

About the Brainathon

Exiger employees pledged to use the Fit Brains program five minutes a day, every day for the five-week period. Exiger then aimed to raise a dollar for every pledged minute of brain training. Fit Brains provided all employees with free memberships for the duration of the Brainathon, and all funds raised went to support various global Alzheimer’s organizations. Friends and families of the firm’s participations were also encouraged to play along and to donate. Prize incentives were set for certain goals eg. Most money raised, highest employee index score. Results: Leveraging the partnership and their unique concept, Exiger almost doubled their $18,000 goal. By creating a fundraiser to which all employees could contribute easily, and on their own schedules, Exiger was able to fully maximize its participation and outreach. Beyond the funds raised, a vital by-product of the Brainathon was awareness, both of Alzheimer’s disease and its’ global organizations, extending the fundraiser’s impact.

About Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behavior, and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging, but a progressively debilitating disease that ultimately leads to death. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s per the infographic below created by Exiger. It is the most expensive disease in America.

Alzheimer's Disease Statistics

About Exiger

Exiger is a leading regulatory and financial crime, risk, and compliance firm (www.exiger.com). Exiger chose Fit Brains as a partner because of its reputable brand name, easy-to-use interface, multilingual capability, and fun, innovative brain games. Furthermore, as an international company with international offices, Exiger needed a global program. Of Fit Brains, Exiger said, “We chose Fit Brains as…a perfect partner in the international fight against Alzheimer’s disease.” Exiger’s fundraising efforts are chronicled at www.exiger.com/exiger-cares.

About Fit Brains

Fit Brains is a fun and challenging brain training program. It is a global, award-winning, personalized brain games app and online program that challenges you to perform at your best. Fit Brains has been ranked the #1 education app in over 90 countries, with a rating of 4.5/5 and over 18 million downloads. Fit Brains combines leading technology, world class research, and game trends to give you an exciting experience. It was designed by game experts and neuroscientists striving to make brain training accessible and affordable to all. The program challenges 6 key areas of your brain, including memory, focus, speed of thinking, logic and problem-solving, language, and visual-spatial recognition. Plus, it targets EQ, Emotional Intelligence, the ability to recognize and manage your own and other people’s emotions, in 4 key areas: self-control, self-awareness, social awareness and social skills. The program also automatically adapts to you based on your progress, and customizes training to give you the appropriate level of challenge along the way

Want to run your own Brainathon?

Exiger encourages other corporations and organizations to run or participate in a Brainathon to help increase awareness and fundraise for Alzheimer’s Disease. Please email Mark Baxter, General Manager of Fit Brains at Partners@Fitbrains.com to learn more. Together we can make a difference.

Learn more about the science of brain training with Fit Brains at www.fitbrains.com. Read the full brainathon case study here.

Challenge your brain and discover why Exiger’s fundraising participants enjoyed our exciting games!

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THE FIT BRAINS TEAM

“Brain Training Success”

Nothing that you read herein should be regarded as medical or health advice. The study statistics are written by independent third parties and the publication of any such content by Exiger does not imply any affiliation between any third parties with Fit Brains or endorsement of Fit Brains products. Information and statements regarding brain training software such as Fit Brains have not been evaluated by regulatory authorities and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you require medical or other assistance, you should consult a health professional.

 

Improve your brain health with the MIND diet

Woman eating fruit saladWhen most people hear the word “diet” they probably tend to think “difficult” or “impossible”, but most of us probably don’t expect that a diet is going to be easy to follow!  A diet is something we do because it’s good for us and we want to make some change in our health or our appearance, but not generally because it’s fun and easy.  That is about to change, thanks to the new MIND diet (short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay).  

This diet is reportedly tied for first place as the easiest diet to follow, according to US News & World Report. (US News & World Report, 2015).  Like the name suggests, this is a diet that is also good for your brain, and is specifically designed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  In a study at the Rush University Medical Center, scientists found that “…the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.” (US News & World Report, 2015)  

A diet that can improve your brain health, help prevent Alzheimer’s AND is the easiest diet to follow?

So what exactly is the MIND diet?

It is a combination of the popular Mediterranean diet (think primarily plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains), and the DASH diet (again, emphasis on fruits and vegetables, no dairy).

Specifically, according to a report in US News & World Report, “The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.”  With this diet you’ll need to “avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.”

So, even if “diet” didn’t make your list of 2016 resolutions, this is one that won’t be hard to follow and is well worth it for better brain health!

Whether or not you decide to try the MIND diet, you can try playing brain games just to challenge yourself by playing fun games!  Have fun while you give your brain some exercise! And, Fit Brains has more games and more variety than any other brain training program.  Give Fit Brains a try today!

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And, follow us throughout the year to learn more about how to improve your brain health and maximize your potential in 2016!

Fit Brains. “Brain Training Success”

Source: “MIND Diet”. US News & World Report. 2015. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mind-diet

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – 3 Brain Facts You Should Know

Senior couple sitting on beach
Here’s to a Healthy, Happy Brain!

It’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month! We thank the 15 million+ Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in America.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behaviour and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging. And it’s a progressively debilitating disease that leads to death.

The Numbers

Did you know 47 million people worldwide and 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s? Every 67 seconds an American develops this disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It can’t be cured or slowed unlike the other 9 leading causes of death. And two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

But There Is Hope

Even though there isn’t a cure, drugs and certain actions can manage the disease. Also, research shows that lifestyle factors and a positive outlook can help with brain aging. Recent UK study results conducted by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council indicate that regular brain training can benefit people over the age of 50. Findings from another well known study reveal that adults who learn new skills and do mentally stimulating activities like crosswords usually have lower rates of dementia. The notable Nun study indicates that an optimistic mind provides a natural defence against Alzheimer’s. And, here’s a twist, even though some nuns actually had the disease, they showed no outward symptoms, thanks to keeping their brains active and positive! Brain training can help maintain brain function and help prevent cognitive decline.

Quick Tips to Maintain Brain Function and Prevent Cognitive Decline

  1.     Hit the Gym
  2.     Nosh on a Healthy Diet
  3.     As Pharrel Williams Sings, Be Happy!
  4.     Challenge Your Mind with our fun free games! [hyperlink]

What is your favorite activity to boost your brain?  Tell us in the comments!  And follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Brain Train Your Way to Better Performance: The FINGER Study

According to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet (March 2015) brain training, exercise, healthy eating and management of risk factors seems to maintain or improve cognitive function and delay cognitive decline.  The Finnish Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) is the first of its’ kind, ground breaking trial to combat some of the key high risk factors for dementia (eg. Heart health, high BMI).

Method

1260 Finns aged 60-77 were randomly divided equally between the control group who were given general health tips and the intervention group.  The latter had regular meetings with healthcare professionals and were given comprehensive guidance on healthy eating, exercise programs, brain training and managing metabolic and vascular risk factors, for example, with regular blood exams.

Findings

After 2 years, the participants’ cognitive performance was assessed with a standard exam, the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB).  The overall scores for the intervention group were higher by 25%.  The remarkable results for certain sections of the exam, processing speed at 150% and executive functioning at 83% were even higher.  Executive function refers to the brain’s capacity to manage, plan and execute thought processes.

“Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. However, our study is the first large randomised controlled trial to show that an intensive program aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.” Professor Kivipelto, lead Researcher – Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and University of Eastern Finland

Train & Play with Fit Brains

Your brain is like a muscle, it can grow fitter and stronger with exercise. Train and play with Fit Brains. Fit Brains exercises help stimulate and entertain your mind. You can play Fit Brains on any web browser or train or train on-the-go with our IOS, Android or Amazon app!   

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Journal Reference

Tiia Ngandu, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Esko Levälahti, Satu Ahtiluoto, Riitta Antikainen, Lars Bäckman, Tuomo Hänninen, Antti Jula, Tiina Laatikainen, Jaana Lindström, Francesca Mangialasche, Teemu Paajanen, Satu Pajala, Markku Peltonen, Rainer Rauramaa, Anna Stigsdotter-Neely, Timo Strandberg, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Hilkka Soininen, Miia Kivipelto. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trialThe Lancet, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60461-5