Tag Archives: brain training

Obesity and a Happy Brain

Brain HealthAs most of us get into middle age we might take special notice of our body’s ability to keep a few extra pounds around the waist. Most of us understand the importance of eating healthy and the disease risk associated with extra weight around the belly.

Recent research suggests the brain’s ability to sense gratification may be critical to overeating behavior. We may have a gene that assists us with knowing when we are filled after eating. Research now indicates that a brain that does not express satiation will lead to continued eating and increased risk of obesity.

We know that a healthy diet and regular exercise are very important for maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding obesity. However, genetics also plays a role in which an important neurochemical, Dopamine, may play a critical role. Dopamine is the primary neurochemical that regulates our pleasure sensation.

Eating temporarily boosts dopamine levels, but obesity may be associated with fewer Dopamine receptors which lead to less sensation of pleasure with eating. Research now suggests that the brain regions important to Dopamine expression when eating treats such as a milkshake does not get activated in those who are obese.

Interestingly, Dopamine has been studied as a primary mechanism for addiction and impulsive behavior including eating. Attempts are underway to try and understand how Dopamine might be triggered even in obesity to reduce impulsive eating so as to reduce gaining more weight. To read more about Dopamine, click here

Practical Tips for Your Executive System

No worry, this is not a list of leadership skills or how to become the best CEO in the world! Rather, you may not even realize you have your own “Executive System” that sits in the region of your brain known as the frontal lobe. The largest and youngest member of your cortex, the frontal lobe is a very interesting part of you. It facilitates many important and distinct skills that are used everyday. Examples of such skills include planning, organization, analytic, sequencing, multi-tasking, inhibition, creativity, attention and discrimination, fluency, emotional expression and perception, ethics and social grace, and judgment. Even your personality is the product of frontal lobe function!

We refer to the frontal lobe as the “executive system” because it serves the role of executing the multiple intentions that arrive from other parts of the brain. It is the CEO of the brain or the grand Maestro of the behavioral and cognitive symphony of the brain. Clearly, the frontal lobe—executive system is critical to your neuronal health.

Some practical tips to stimulate and exercise your executive system include the following:

1. Organize your day, organize your room (good one for the teenagers in the house!), and help to organize an event or even your child’s schedule.

2. Participate in planning a vacation, trip, or some future event.

3. Practice expressing different emotions and then perceiving emotions on the faces of others.

4. Practice stating aloud the alphabet, but alternate between letters and numbers in a logical order. Any time you can alternate between two distinct categories is a workout for your executive system.

5. Give yourself some free time to imagine and create.

6. Pay attention to ethics and decision making that involves good or poor judgment.

7. Watch how typical personality traits can change with stress, mood, and alcohol. These chemical triggers alter the frontal lobe and can also alter one’s personality for a temporary period of time.

8. Express as many words as you can in 60 seconds that begin with different letters.

9. Draw 30 small circles on the page and write words of different colors under each circle. Then color the circles with a color that is different than the word you wrote under the particular circle. Now, state aloud the color of the circle, not the written word for each of the 30 circles as fast as you can. See how many you can correctly state in 30 seconds.
10. Go to www.Fitbrains.com and play the following games to exercise your executive system:

Good luck with your workout!

Brain Games: Busy Bistro

Busy BistroBusy Bistro helps you to improve short and long-term aspects of memory amidst the distractions of a busy kitchen environment. In this brain game, you are the apprentice of a chef with a variety of great recipes, but a poor memory for the finer points. Can you help the chef remember the finishing details on his next delightful creation of culinary genius? Your ability to remember details is the key, and practice makes perfect. Let’s get cooking!


  • Fun cooking-themed characters, appliances and environments to keep you motivated
  • Hundreds of real recipes to challenge your memory
  • Designed to improve short and long term memory

Busy Bistro is a game of Memory. Click here to play Busy Bistro!

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Brain Games:Super Word Scrapers Brain Game

Super Word ScrapersSuper Word Scrapers is a brain game that utilizes vocabulary and word fluency to strengthen your core language skills. Create words for every letter of the alphabet to fill an empty skyline with majestic skyscrapers that defy the very laws of gravity. Test and strengthen your language skills with a wide variety of quick word scrambles, tricky riddles, and other fun language activities found in the frequent “Super Word” challenges.


  • Improve your vocabulary and word fluency while building majestic skyscrapers
  • Over 150,000 unique words in the Word Scraper dictionary
  • Hundreds of fun Super Word Challenges to test every aspect of your language skills
  • Combine your word-building skills with those of your Friends and Family in an exciting Team Game

Super Word Scrapers is a game of Language. Click here to play Super Word Scrapers!

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The Wonder Juice Machine

The Wonder-Juice Machine is a brain game of Executive Functions (Logic) that strengthens your deductive and visual skills. Use your skills of reasoning to direct a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables through a tricky, juice-making contraption, in order to create healthy “Wonder Juice” smoothies for your customers. The puzzles get more challenging as the game progresses, so be sure to put on your thinking cap!


  • Game helps to strengthen Logic and Reasoning skills in a fun way
  • Healthy theme includes hundreds of nutrition tips and healthy smoothie recipes
  • Hours of challenging puzzles for all levels of players, from easy to hard

The Wonder Juice Machine is a game of Logic. Click here to play The Wonder Juice Machine!
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Brain Games: Paradise Island

Paradise IslandParadise Island is a collection of word-construction brain games set in a variety of beautiful tropical themes. You will alternate between syllable construction and letter/word building language activities while collecting exotic trinkets and rewards.

Key Features:

  • Challenging word creation game
  • 200+ unique catagories with 30,000+ words
  • Hundreds of hours of brain stimulating gameplay

Wouldn’t you love to sip your favorite tropical drink on the white sand beach of your very own Paradise Island?

Paradise Island is a language game. Click here to play Paradise Island!

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Economic Anxiety and our Health

economy.jpgThe world economic situation is fertile ground for anxiety, some realistic and other perpetuated from misinformation and personal agendas. It is important to take some time to consider the following as methods for coping with these uncertain times:

  • 1. Information and knowledge will help to reduce anxiety, even when the information is not positive. Most of us experience anxiety or unease when we are confronted with uncertainty. As such, it is a good idea to spend some time researching the economic issues (stock market, credit, employment, etc) from a variety of viewpoints. You may have noticed that reading and predicting the economy is not a science, but for those in the stock market, there are predictable patterns based on many years of past behavior. This should provide some certainty even though the present represents a turbulent time.
  • 2. Meet with your financial planner to review all investments and liabilities. He or she will help you reduce your risk and loss while planning appropriately for the near and long term future.
  • 3. Have a family meeting to discuss the issues and to provide a forum to express fears and hopes. Make a family plan that adapts spending and saving to the current market demands.
  • 4. Place a focus on your emotional condition and make an extra effort to exercise and eat healthy. This will enable your body to handle the stress better.
  • 5. This is a great time to use relaxation procedures such as breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Meditation is also a good daily activity.
  • 6. Have faith in our human innovative and adaptive nature and believe that we will survive this period of uncertainty.
  • 7. Reach out to others who may be in a particularly difficult situation and offer them your time and friendship.

Try the Fit Brains brain games.