The Science of Fit Brains
Welcome to Fit Brains. I'm Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Chief Science Officer of Fit Brains and a Clinical Neuropsychologist specializing in brain health across the lifespan. I have published many peer reviewed articles, chapters and books within the scientific community in order to help educate people on the basics of the human brain and how to keep it healthy over the entire lifespan.
The Value of Brain Fitness
The human brain starts slowing down as early as age 25. Fortunately, you can keep it running at peak performance and even make improvements at any age. Just like your body, you can "use it or lose it". One of the essential concepts of Brain Fitness is the building of "Brain Reserve", which is also related to Brain Plasticity, or the brain's ability to reorganize itself and build new connections.
What are the Benefits of Fit Brains?
Anyone looking to improve brain performance and maximize brain health can benefit from Fit Brains. Fit Brains combines fun and engaging brain games with specially designed tracking tools to help users maximize and round-out brain skills in an entertaining fashion. Our games have a strong foundation in science and offer a varied and complex workout across multiple areas of the brain.
Incorporating Fit Brains into your daily routine can help to preserve your brain, which contains the most important asset you have: your Life Story. Your Life Story is your identity, or collected memories of daily experiences that combine to create your very own "autobiography". Regular engagement in brain health activities can also increase your overall happiness, balance your mood, and help reduce stress and anxiety that can cloud thinking or even damage the brain.
The brain, like a muscle, should ideally be stimulated on a daily basis. In addition to these primary areas of the brain, each area is further subdivided into sub-measures that are reflected within game activities and progression metrics. These areas are not distinctly separate; they work together in conjunction, like different instruments in an orchestra, and can be blended with one another to achieve a greater measure of brain stimulation. Each of these areas are stimulated using techniques derived from the related fields of Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience.
How can Fit Brains help improve my brain health?
Fit Brains games offer a variety of well-rounded, scientifically based activities wrapped within a fun and engaging experience that is accessible even to first-time players. By offering stimulation across the spectrum of the brain, and ramping the difficulty in a way that increases the complexity of the tasks over time, brain games can offer people an effective means of brain exercise. Our games are integrated with a broad collection of personalization tools that adjust training based on the user's skill level. An important factor in an effective brain fitness program is a balanced approach. For optimal health, all 5 areas of brain function need regular exercise.
Building a Stronger Brain
Mental activity is an important way to develop a stronger, healthier brain through the building of Brain Reserve. Brain Reserve relates to the brain's ability to physically reorganize itself in response to the demands placed upon it. A brain with a strong Reserve is one that has formed many cellular connections and is rich in brain cell density. A strong reserve is generally believed to have the ability to delay the onset of mental deterioration, such as Alzheimer's Disease. Simply put, neurodegenerative diseases must work longer and harder to manifest in a brain that has built up strong reserve.
Brain Plasticity & Cognitive Reserve
The miracle is that your brain is dynamic and continues to be shaped and to develop. It has plasticity. As such, there is no finite capacity or limitation. In this way your brain is very distinct and actually much superior to the fanciest of all computers because computers will always have built in limitations and finite capacity.
Research has found that keeping the brain active helps to build brain or cognitive reserves. This is the brain's ability to create new neural pathways and connections that can be used as a sort of 'brain savings account', allowing you to draw on this account at a later date. Studies show that many people continue to operate at a high level of functioning throughout their lives by building these brain reserves.
Your dynamic brain is shaped by environmental input across your lifespan, beginning in the womb. There really is no critical period of brain development unless one considers life itself to be the measure. The variety, diversity and complexity of stimulation that your brain receives can make a significant difference regarding its health. You do have some control and this is great news!
In 2006, the ACTIVE Study, funded by National Institute of Health, demonstrated that older adults could improve their brain abilities with the correct training. Certain mental exercises can partially offset the expected decline in older adults' thinking skills and show promise for maintaining cognitive abilities needed to do everyday tasks. Some of the gains from training were seen to be beneficial 5 years later.
The Bronx Aging Study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed almost 500 people for more than 20 years. The research found that people who participated in mentally stimulating activities, such as interactive games and other leisure activities multiple times a week had a 65-75% better probability of remaining sharp than those who did not participate in these activities.
Another well-known study is the Nun Study. Scientists followed 700 nuns for more than 20 years. An interesting finding was that certain types of intellectual activity and stimulation could protect against many types of cognitive decline.
A study from Columbia University supports the concept of brain reserve and that education, occupation and stimulating leisure activities all reduce the potential risk of developing brain disease.