How Does Sleep Affect Cognitive Performance?

Sleep is one of the most important activities we do. We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, and for many of us, we spend plenty of time while we’re awake THINKING about sleep.

How much sleep do we need?

The exact amount of sleep each person needs depends on a number of factors including age, physical health, and even genetics. We’ve all heard that we need about 8 hours of sleep every night to be ‘fully rested’ but the truth is, the recommended amount of sleep varies greatly as we age.

While adults and seniors typically require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep, school-aged children and teenagers require slightly more sleep, anywhere from 8 to 11 hours daily. The amount of sleep recommended is even higher for preschool-aged children and toddlers and can range from 10 to 15 hours per day. Newborn babies require the most sleep of any age group, with recommended sleeping times as high as 17 hours per day or more.

To understanding the exact amount of sleep you need each day you should evaluate your overall health, sleep patterns, and the types of activities you do each day.

If you feel that the amount of sleep you are getting isn’t enough to get through the day, you may want to spend a little more time sleeping. You may want to consider whether or not you are relying heavily on caffeinated drinks such as coffee to get through the day, as this can be a sign that you aren’t getting enough healthy sleep during the night.

How can sleep affect our brains?

What happens to the brain when we sleep?

When we fall asleep, we go through a number of sleep cycles consisting of a few distinct stages of sleep. These cycles typically last between 60 and 120 minutes each.

There are 4 stages of the sleep cycle, broken up into two groups: NREM and REM sleep. The first three stages are NREM, or Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep, while the fourth stage is REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep.

When we first fall asleep and enter into the first stage of NREM sleep, our brain begins to slow down, and our body with it. We begin to breathe more slowly, our heart rate drops slightly, and our muscles begin to relax.

As we fall deeper into sleep, we move into the second stage of NREM sleep where our body becomes less aware of our surroundings and our core body temperature drops. In this stage, the brain begins to release rapid, rhythmic bursts of brain wave activity known as sleep spindles

The next stage we enter is the third and final stage of NREM sleep, but it is also the first stage of what is referred to as ‘deep sleep’. During this stage our body and muscles become completely relaxed, blood pressure continues to drop, and our breathing slows. It is during this stage that the body accelerates the physical repair processes throughout the body and increases memory consolidation in the brain.

When we continue further into the ‘deep sleep’ stages, we enter into the fourth and final stage of the sleep cycle: REM sleep. During REM sleep our muscles become completely immobilized, our breathing and heart rate begin to rise, and our eyes begin to move around quickly. It is during REM sleep that we really begin to dream. This is the time when the brain focused on saving and organizing information into long-term memory as well.

What happens when we don’t get enough sleep?

When we aren’t able to get enough healthy sleep, our body quickly begins to experience the effects of sleep deprivation. Whether we experience mild sleep deprivation from missing a few hours of shut-eye or more extreme sleep deprivation from habitually poor sleep, we will see adverse changes in cognitive and physical performance. First and foremost, extreme sleep deprivation impairs attention and working memory, but it also affects other functions, such as long-term memory and decision-making. In addition to this, even with mild sleep deprivation, we can begin to see effects on general cognitive functions such as attention.

What can we do to get more sleep?

Our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be affected by many things. Consuming stimulants such as caffeine or medications can cause us to have difficulty falling asleep, but consuming alcohol or other depressants can make it difficult for us to stay asleep or reach the regenerative deeper levels of sleep. All aspects of our diets can affect our sleep including chemicals such as tryptophan, melatonin, and even sugar.

Another aspect of our lives that greatly impacts the quantity and quality of our sleep is how active we are throughout the day. Spending more time doing activities such as playing sports, working out, or even walking can make it much easier to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, though doing these activities right before bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep due to an increased heart rate and adrenaline.

In addition, setting and sticking to a schedule can help your body prepare for sleep better and wake up feeling more rested. Your body’s internal clock can help relax your body and prepare for sleep by releasing chemicals when it is ready for bed. When you have a set schedule your body can better predict when it is time to go into ‘sleep mode’ and waking up at the same time every day can help your body better schedule the sleep cycles so that you are in a lighter stage of sleep when your alarm goes off in the morning.

Commercial Partnerships: How Can CogniFit Enterprise Solutions Help Your Business?

For more than two decades, educators, medical professionals, and individuals have trusted the cognitive stimulation and brain training solutions from CogniFit. Now it’s possible for businesses to leverage this same trusted technology for use in enterprise solutions through our Commercial Partnerships.

How can Businesses Benefit from a Commercial Partnership with CogniFit?

Whether your business is looking to provide your current customers or employees with world-class cognitive assessments and training services from within your own technology ecosystem or you are planning to build a completely new solution that integrates some or all of CogniFit’s scientifically backed assessments, cognitive stimulation training programs, and engaging brain games, our enterprise solutions are here to help.

How Do Commercial Partners Integrate with CogniFit Technology?

Cognifit has enterprise integration options available for a range of business needs.

White-labeled Cognitive Assessment & Training

We can partner with a company to help them create or integrate custom-made digital brain health solutions with their current system. We have done it before for leading companies with products in sectors as diverse as Multiple Sclerosis Cognitive Training, Video Games Integration, Hearing Aids, Driving Schools, Pilots Assessments, Vitamins, and Nutrition.

This solution is ideal for smaller organizations or organizations with fewer technical resources, or for organizations who prefer to rely on the expertise of CogniFit when developing their solutions.

Fully Customized Integration of Our Cognitive Technology

For organizations who want to take a more hands-on approach to build solutions that integrate CogniFit cognitive stimulation technology have the option to use our powerful API. Using the CogniFit API, organizations can develop completely custom applications from the ground up.

In addition to this, CogniFit complies with the highest security and privacy standards (PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, etc.) for personally identifiable information. All our environments are hosted in AWS secured private virtual cloud and all our data and server communications are encrypted, meaning you can rest assured that your users’ data is secure.

Some of our many satisfied Commercial Partners.

If you think your business could benefit from CogniFit’s enterprise solutions, learn more about them by visiting our Commercial Partnerships page,

Benefits of Being Social

Imagine yourself sitting lonely in your apartment on a fine Sunday, feeling stressed about work and Monday and you get a call from your best friend inviting you for the dinner at your favorite restaurant? You’ll notice your mood swinging at 360 degrees! Well, this is the power of social life. Going out with friends, eating out, seeing a movie, going for a picnic or shopping might just be fun activities for you. But you don’t know how beneficial they are for your mental and physical wellbeing.

This article is all about how can your social life benefit you. What are the prominent benefits of being social and how does it adds to your health? So, let’s find out.

What are the benefits of being social? Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Being social can prolong your life span

A research study claims that being social can add to the years of your life. Your social life influences how long you live. This study was conducted at Brigham-Young University and it says that isolation and loneliness have more negative impacts on your life span than obesity. And we all know that obesity is the mother of all diseases. Another study from the University of Chapel Hill North Carolina states that people with fewer social connections have a 50% chance of dying early. Also, Horstman in her book says that healthy friendship, no matter if long-distance, increases the chances of a long and healthy life.

Being social reduces the risk of stroke  

Many people think that spending a night out with friends, taking them on a long drive, eating out at a restaurant are unhealthier practices. You should instead be going to a gym, getting your things done in time, and sleep peacefully. But they don’t know that research says that people who spend time with their friends are at lower risk of developing hypertension and inflammation. Also, their likelihood of having a stroke or brain damage is much low. Research at Harvard School of Public Health states that people who engage with their friends more have a sense of enthusiasm which reduces their health risks notably.

Being social strengthens your immunity

John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, studies social isolation and its effects on the human brain and biology. He states that isolation is associated with both mental and physical illnesses. Also, research says that socially isolated people have lower immunity and are at a higher risk of getting sick. They can easily catch common infections like cold and flu. However, socially active people have good immunity and don’t fall sick easily. Also, it keeps stress and depression at bay.

Being social encourages good habits

When you are out with good people, you automatically catch their vibe and encourage yourself to do good. A good friend circle can help you quit unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, etc. All you have to do is to make the right friends and see the good coming to you!  

Social life delays the onset of cognitive decline

Social activities keep your mind active. They engage your brain in something productive which benefits its growth and health. Psychology says that interacting with your friends is therapeutic for your brain, especially when your friends are young. The University of Arizona runs a clinical program where patients of Alzheimer’s disease are engaged with college-going students in exercise sessions. These sessions are proven to stabilize their mental decline and elevate their mood.  

Good social life relieves pain

 If you remember as a child having your mother stroke your fevered brow or kiss a skinned knee and feeling better, you’re not alone, and it wasn’t your imagination. Holding hands with someone you care about has been shown in studies to reduce pain perception as well as blood pressure. So, whether you hold hands, hug someone, or get a massage, it can help you feel better and reduce pain.

Social life has far more benefits than your imagination. It helps you keep going through life. Friends and family are your ultimate support in difficult times. Whenever you feel like giving up or feel like not doing anything, call your best friend or your parents. Talk to them about what is bothering you. Go out for lunch or drive. It will make you feel better. It is never advised to have a lot of friends. You can have your parents as your friends or siblings or that one friend from childhood is enough. Always remember, quality not quantity is what should be preferred.     

How Digital Cognitive Solutions Can Shape the Future of Education

Digital Cognitive Solutions? In the classroom? Do kids really need so much technology just to learn about reading, writing, and math? Many of us who are old enough to be parents ourselves likely remember going to school in the days of overhead projectors, typewriters, and *gasp* CHALKBOARDS!! And if we all turned out just fine without all this high-tech teaching equipment, is it really necessary for students today?

The pace of change has accelerated dramatically over the past half century. The technology of today would be almost unrecognizable to someone from even the early ‘90s.  And teachers and schools are doing everything they can to keep up and prepare their students for the ‘real world’ they will enter once they finish school. A world which likely will be much different than today.

While schools around the world are incorporating modern technologies into the classroom such as ‘smart boards,’ computers and tablets, and even fitness trackers, to help students become “technologically literate,” many educators are beginning to question how to prepare students for a future that will continue to change in unprecedented and unpredictable ways.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the answer to this problem will require a unique approach to education that not only uses modern technology and tools, but which also combines traditional education methods for teaching core subjects such as math, history, and literature, with inter-disciplinary teaching methods to help students develop skills that will help them succeed in the dynamic environments in which they will likely find themselves once they move beyond the classroom.

What is Inter-disciplinary Education?

Whereas many traditional methods of teaching focused on showing students how to solve specific problems such as how to find the circumference of a circle, or how to master a defined block of knowledge such as the literature of Shakespeare or the history of ancient Rome, an inter-disciplinary approach to education focuses on the skills that are needed for problem-solving, critical thinking, and cognitive flexibility.

By focusing on these skills, educators are able to help teach students how to solve problems for themselves, how to explore unique solutions, and how to uncover answers on their own.

Many pioneering schools have come up with unique methods for how to best meet this new challenge. Many have built on established education styles such as those found in Montessori schools, others have looked to completely redefine how a school should look and feel and the role school should play in the students’ lives.

Some schools have chosen to upend the traditional curriculum and incorporate subjects teaching students how to start a business, how to build robots, and even how to run a farm.

What Role do Digital Cognitive Tools Such as CogniFit have in this New Education Paradigm?

The core cognitive abilities trained by CogniFit solutions play a key role in many of the skills needed for a successful interdisciplinary education. Skills like short-term memory, focus, planning, shifting, and more are vital in helping an individual adapt to unique and novel situations. They help us to solve problems and overcome obstacles.

As we wrote about in a recent article, a study from earlier this year found that students who trained with CogniFit over an eight-week period had improved academic performance compared to the control group. While there is still plenty of research to be done, these findings point to how beneficial brain-based learning tools such as this can be for the modern classroom.

This platform provides an easy-to-use tool for teachers to help evaluate and train the cognitive abilities most important for their students’ success in school and beyond.

You can read about our Education Platform for Schools and Teachers to learn more about how CogniFit is creating digital cognitive solutions for the classroom.

Biohacking, Transhumanism, and Redefining the Meaning of Mental & Physical Health

The human journey towards improving themselves and their lifestyle has always been on a roller coaster. Ever since man is born, he is trying to do whatever it takes to improve himself. If you look back in history, the earliest humans use to live in Jungles, wear leaves, and hunt animals to eat. There was no concept of the present world we live in. Then how things came into being? How has the world changed from a jungle to a global hub? Well, all this is due to human efforts towards improvement.

This unstoppable path towards improvement has proven to be beneficial for humans mostly. They’ve created many facilities for themselves and life has become so easy nowadays. Especially, the advent of modern technology has pacified our lives to a great extent. We have a machine for almost everything. The world is at just one right click and whatnot! However, the human thirst for improvement is not satisfied yet and this time they’re thinking of something that can be both advantageous and equally dangerous!

You’ll get to know in the latter part of the essay what we are talking about.

What is Biohacking? Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

Transhumanism

Transhumanism is a social movement that was carried out to promote the idea of research for developing stronger technologies for human enhancement. These technologies are thought to elevate;

  1. Human sensory reception
  2. Cognitive capacity
  3. General well being
  4. Emotive ability
  5. Lifespan  

Yes, you read it right. The transhumanism movement says that humans should be allowed to do whatever it takes to enhance their life even if it demands the integration of biological and physical technologies into the human body.

The principal supporters of the movement have been Rayy Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Eric Drexler, James Hughes, and Nick Bostrom. All of them are either computer technologists, nanotechnologists, or philosophers from America. Transhumanism is primarily divided into supporters of two post-humanity visions:

  1. One in which technological and genetic advancements have resulted in a distinct species of radically enhanced humans.
  2. The other emerges with greater-than-human machine intelligence.

This movement has encouraged people to carry out procedures to enhance their human abilities. They are redefining the concept of mental and physical well-being. The prominent result of which is Biohacking; the DIY biology which is beneficial and equally dangerous as mentioned above!

Biohacking

Biohacking is a very broad and unstructured term covering a wide range of activities like experimenting with yeast and other living beings, tracking your sleeping and eating pattern, changing your biological features, fighting to age, and what not! 

Do you know scientists are pumping the blood of a younger individual in an older adult with a hope to fight to age? Yes, it is a proper technique called young blood transfusion and it is a gift of Biohacking!

People who are practicing Biohacking are called biohackers. They attempt to manipulate their bodies and brain for optimizing their physical and mental performance. According to these people, Biohacking is an art that involves the use of science and technology to modify both the external and internal environment. Biohackers believe that humans have full control over their own body and as long as they are not harming somebody or something else, they are right to change their biology. Many biohackers have stem cells injected into their body, they take dozens of self-formulated supplements, bathe in the infrared light, etc. And most of them do so to live a longer life without any health adversities. This is one of the major aims behind Biohacking that people want a better and longer life. They don’t want to fall sick and die.

Biohackers not only use technology but some of their techniques have been practiced for centuries. For example, intermittent fasting, Vipassana meditation, and ice bathing in the morning are a few of them. Supplements, another tool for biohackers, have an older history. However, the difference here is that supplements of the biohackers are self-formulated having smart drugs in them.  

Some other Biohacking practices include;

  1. Cryotherapy
  2.  Neuro-feedback
  3. Near-infrared saunas
  4. Virtual float tanks
  5. Computer chips insertion

The first one is where the biohackers make him/herself cold purposely. The second one is a training of oneself for regulating brain waves and infrared saunas are supposed to escape the stress from EM transmissions. Finally, virtual float tanks help with meditation via sensory deprivation and computer chips do more than you can even imagine! Chips implanted in the bodies can help individuals to do everything like opening doors without a fob, monitoring their level of glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.  

Why are people Biohacking?

The basic reason behind people practicing such techniques is their desire to feel better. They don’t want to get sick and live longer. Some people want to become smart and strong. Some want enhanced cognitive abilities, some want better looks. Human goals towards betterment are always escalating which pushes them to do such stuff.

The expected outcomes of Biohacking include;

  1. Human bodies will be augmented with stronger and sharper skills.
  2. The human thought process will be faster and transferable
  3. Human productivity will increase due to gamification
  4. Business practices will shift noticeably

Is it legal?

The present laws don’t address Biohacking particularly. Regulations issued by FDA don’t state Biohacking as an illegal procedure but many allegations have been put forward according to which humans shall not be freely allowed to do whatever they want because this could be dangerous for the world. One strong stance in this regard is that since Biohacking is expensive, only a specific class can afford it. And they will try their best to inculcate elevated features then isn’t it injustice with people who can’t afford it. So, the technique is not stated fully legal or illegal yet and authorities are still working on this matter. However, regulations must be issued as soon as possible so that people know their limits!    

How Computer-based Training From CogniFit Affects Children’s Executive Functions & Academic Performance

As parents, we are always looking for what is best for our children. We want them to grow up to be healthy, happy, and successful. One of the best ways to set our children up for future success is to provide them with the best possible education. But like in so many areas in the fast-paced, high-tech world we all live in, it can be difficult to keep up with how new technologies are changing our traditional methods of teaching and whether these new tools are actually making a difference.

This is why CogniFit scientists have been teaming up with researchers from around the world to study how computer-based training affects the learning outcomes, executive functions, and academic achievement of children.

About the Study

Researchers Use CogniFit to Study How Computer-Based Training Affects Executive Functions in Children (Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels)

Using computers in schools and other academic settings is not a new idea. In fact, educators have been using computers as an educational tool for decades. However, the body of research into how these tools affect the cognitive executive functions (EFs) that are critical to academic performance remains incomplete and ambiguous.

So, researchers from the Faculty of Education at the University of Murcia (Murcia, Spain), the Center for Cognitive Research at University Antonio de Nebrija (Madrid, Spain), and the Arctic University of Norway (Tromso, Norway), developed a scientific study to “investigate the effects of a computerized game-based training program on EFs and its impact on academic performance…”

The study, which was carried out across more than two dozen schools, took place over 8 weeks. Participating students we asked to complete 3 sessions of 15-20 minutes each per week, with a pre- and post-intervention assessment of the students’ executive functions and information on each student’s academic performance used to measure the efficacy of the intervention.

About the Methodology

Based on the existing body of research on executive functions and learning, the research team identified several executive functions—described as “neurocognitive mechanisms that control thoughts and behaviors aimed at achieving a goal or objective”—which play a fundamental role in the development of skills in language and mathematics as well as in processing and organization of information.

The team grouped the executive functions into three core areas in line with the general consensus throughout the scientific literature: Inhibition, Cognitive Flexibility, and Working Memory.

These three principal executive functions served as the focus for the intervention and the pre- and post-intervention assessments.

Beginning in January of 2021, students across the 26 participating schools were given the pre-intervention evaluation coinciding with the beginning of the academic period, followed by an eight-week experimental intervention, in which the students were assigned to experimental and control groups. A week after completing the classroom intervention, and coinciding with the end of the same academic period, the students completed the post-intervention assessment.

The pre- and post-intervention assessments included a range of measurement tools including the Childhood Executive Function Inventory (CHEXI) to assess executive functions and cognitive abilities such as working memory, planning, regulation, and inhibitory control, the Flanker task to further measure inhibitory control, and the Simon task to measure response time.

In addition to these assessments, the participating students’ academic performance was estimated based on their grades from the corresponding academic periods (the pre-intervention assessment coincided with the end of the first period, while the post-intervention assessment coincided with the completion of the second academic period).

CogniFit’s cognitive assessment and training programs were used for the assessment as well as for the computer-based training intervention program. The program was designed to be integrated into the school routine with the support of the teachers. Teachers received a brief, 30-minute initial training in order to familiarize themselves with the program. Each class had to do 3 sessions per week (preferably on alternate days) for 8 weeks. Each session included 3 games and lasted approximately 15-20 minutes.

A minimum of 14 sessions was established as the objective to be achieved in order to complete the training program. Performance was automatically recorded and uploaded to a server where researchers could confirm compliance. Tutors received information by email or phone once every 2-3 weeks. 

What did the Researchers Find?

Researchers Found Promising Results and Topics for Future Research. (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

After the study was completed, the researchers were able to begin processing the data and found some very promising results, though there are still many questions and future studies to be done.

The results showed an improvement within the training group in the assessments exploring inhibition and working memory, as well as in academic performance, compared to the control group. In contrast, no significant intergroup differences were observed in the chronometric tests measuring inhibition. These results highlight the relevance of computerized EF training programs as part of the educational activities developed at schools.

The results revealed a clear-cut improvement in the academic performance of students who completed the Computer-based Training, which is in line with other recent studies. The improvements took place in the subjects related to language and sciences, suggesting “a significant contribution of the [Computer-based Training] in learning in a school context”.

These findings build on the numerous studies that corroborate the direct relationship between executive functions and academic performance. This improvement of executive functions may also affect other key aspects in learning and academic performance such as the verbal factor, logical reasoning, problem-solving, reasoning, planning, or skills related to reading.

However, the research team does note that despite the overall positive results in this study, the claims made in their analysis must be interpreted with caution, saying “future studies should be aimed at exploring additional components, such as cognitive flexibility”.

You can read the full peer-reviewed scientific publication here.

For more information on CogniFit research, you can visit our CogniFit Research page, outlining our long-term research, partnerships, and more.

CogniFit for Families: Test, Train, and Track Your Family’s Cognitive Skills

CogniFit has long been a favorite brain-training tool for thousands of users looking to boost their cognitive abilities. But did you know that CogniFit also offers a one-of-a-kind cognitive training platform specifically designed for families!?

The CogniFit Families platform allows families to enjoy all of the fantastic cognitive assessments and training activities offered by CogniFit with some great additional features designed specifically for families… So, go on, invite your kids, invite your parents, invite your third cousin on your mother’s side if you want, and enjoy the CogniFit Families platform the way it’s meant to be enjoyed: Together!

About the CogniFit Platform for Families

The CogniFit Families Platform

When you register for CogniFit Families, you will be able to access a special dashboard that will allow you to manage your Family account, connect or create accounts for family members, purchase and assign assessment and training licenses, and track the progress of each member of your family.

Adding Family Members, Assigning Tasks, & Tracking Their Progress

When you are ready to add a family member to your Family account, you will have the option of creating a new account for them or connecting an existing CogniFit account they already use.

Once a family member is connected to the Family account, you will be able to assign assessments and training programs to meet the needs of each individual family member.

As your family members complete assigned tasks, you will be able to view the results of the assessments and the progress each member has made with their training programs, all from one central location.

How Family Members Can Enjoy CogniFit

When a family member is ready to take an assessment or begin a training session, there are a couple of options for how they can perform these tasks: They can either sign into their personal account that has been connected to the Family account and start the activity just like normal, or they can begin the activity directly from the main dashboard of the CogniFit Families platform.

Family Members Can Access Assigned Tasks From Their Personal CogniFit Account…
…Or Directly From the CogniFit Families Platform.

This means that you can give family members who are old enough to have their own account, or those who live far away, the freedom to access their assessment and training tasks from their own devices. And you can help very young or elderly family members access their training and assessment tasks without the need for them to navigate their own individual accounts.

Flexibility and simplicity. The very best of both worlds.

For more information on how the CogniFit Families platform works, how to add and manage family members, and more, check out these useful articles in our FAQ section.

How Intermittent Fasting Affects the Brain

You may have come across many diet plans suggesting what to eat and in what amount. But have you ever thought, what is the best time to eat? Has any diet plan ever suggested that when to eat and when not to so that you can make the most of your food? If not, then we’re here with something very special for you! 

This article is about intermittent fasting and how it benefits the human body. We’ll be focusing on the effects of such fasting especially on the brain and cognitive working. You may be thinking that how can fasting be so beneficial, right? But this is something more than usual fasting and can do wonders for you! Let’s dig into the details of what happens and how!

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that includes a planned schedule transiting between fasting and eating periods regularly. Where most of the diet plans focus on what to eat, intermittent fasting is all about when to eat. In this eating plan, you eat for a specific time and then fast for a fixed number of hours. You eat just one meal in a couple of days which helps your body burn extra fats.   

Many research studies prove intermittent fasting to be very effective against weight gain and many forms of diseases. According to the researchers at John Hopkins University, human bodies can go without food for hours and days. This concept can be traced back to prehistoric times when people didn’t know how to farm and lived upon hunting only. They could easily thrive for long periods without eating. The researchers also add that people in the past had lesser calories but worked more and thus the ratio for diseases was low. However, the present lifestyles are mostly sedentary and people are taking extra calories which gives rise to diseases like obesity, diabetes, etc. If people practice intermittent fasting, it can help them keep such diseases at bay.   

What happens during intermittent fasting?

On regular basis, people eat throughout their waking hours but in the case of intermittent fasting, you have to choose specific periods for eating and fasting. And you can’t break the cycle! For example, you can eat only for 8 hours every day and fast for the other 16 hours of the day. Also, you can choose to eat one meal during the day and skip the rest. After hours without eating, your body starts utilizing its stored reserves for the production of energy. It will start exhausting the sugars and fats referred to as metabolic switching.  

It is always recommended that you consult your doctor before starting with intermittent fasting. But the general pattern is; during the eating periods, you should eat normally. Avoid high-calorie junk food and fried items and opt for healthy fruits and vegetables. And during the fasting times, you can only drink water and beverages with zero calories.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting comes with a variety of both mental and physical health benefits. The metabolic switch during eating and fasting periods has proven to be great for the body and brain. Here are some quick general health benefits of intermittent fasting;

  1. Intermittent fasting improves your heart health by regulating your blood pressure and heart-related measurements.
  2. It causes significant weight loss due to the burning of fats and sugars. Also, the practice maintains muscle mass.
  3. Studies show that intermittent fasting can prevent diseases like obesity and diabetes.
  4. Studies show this type of eating and fasting to reduce tissue damage during surgeries.
  5. Intermittent fasting improves your mental wellbeing and cognitive abilities and here is how it does so.

Effect of intermittent fasting on the brain    

Going without food for a long time can have long-term effects on your brain. It can safeguard your brain’s function and improve its working potential. As mentioned above, fasting can trigger a metabolic shift where your body switches from glucose/sugars to ketones. Ketones are produced by the liver using fats. The increased use of ketones causes greater burning of fats and the consequent biological cascade boosts your brain function ensuring resilience and improved cognitive productivity. This is because your cranial cells enter the survival or repair stage during fasting and growth and regeneration when eating.

The five major advantages of intermittent fasting include;

  1. Slow aging of the brain
  2. Regeneration of cranial cells
  3. The flexibility of the brain toward the neurological condition
  4. Improved psychological condition
  5. Good mood, thinking, and memory

Many studies serve as pieces of evidence for all the mentioned benefits. For instance, a 2019 study states that mice, deprived of food for 12-16 hours, exhibit higher levels of protein markers as compared to others. These protein markers were specific to the production of new brain cells. When you’re fasting, your body produces ghrelin which spurs the creation of newer brain cells. A 2015 study also confirmed this statement where mice who ate every other 24 hours showed greater ghrelin production than others. Also, once you are adapted to intermittent fasting, your brain works quickly during the fasting hours. You are likely to feel fresh and elevated which keeps your mood happy. Also, people who fast intermittently are linked with good memory and critical thinking. 

CogniFit Pro: Cognitive Health Solutions for Professionals

CogniFit’s professional platforms are an integral part of our digital cognitive and brain health technologies.

While most individual users likely know CogniFit has dozens of fun and exciting brain games to help them stimulate their cognitive abilities, they may not be aware that our assessment and training tools (and, yes, even our games) also are used by thousands of healthcare professionals, education professionals, and even researchers around the world.

We have created specialized platforms for our professional customers, customized for the specific needs of each type of user, that allows them to use CogniFit technology to test, train, and track the progress of their patients, students, and study participants.

What Makes the Professional Platforms Special?

While each of the three professional platforms is customized to the specific needs of each user group, they share several key features that make them stand apart from the CogniFit platform that our individual users are familiar with.

The CogniFit Professional platforms allow professional users to connect new or existing accounts for multiple individual users to their professional accounts. Once connected, the professional can assign assessments and training programs to individual users or group individual users into groups that will be assigned the same assessment or training plan. These groups make it easy for the professional to organize connected accounts into classrooms, demographic groups, or experimental and control groups, for example.

In addition to this, professional users can easily track the progress of the connected accounts, print out detailed results reports, or even download the raw data for further scientific analysis.

Who is CogniFit Pro for?

The CogniFit Professional platform comes in three versions: CogniFit for Healthcare Professionals, CogniFit for Schools and Teachers, and the Cognitive Research Platform. Let’s take a look at each:

CogniFit for Healthcare Professionals

The online platform for health professionals from CogniFit offers a selection of neuropsychological tests and standardized tools that allow for a complete cognitive screening of the patient. The information and results presented in the platform are highly valuable to the healthcare professional because they represent a reliable diagnostic resource.

CogniFit for Healthcare Professionals

This online cognitive test battery allows the doctor or other specialists to explore and understand how the different cognitive domains work in each patient.

  • Using a computerized neuropsychological exam, we are able to measure 20+ fundamental cognitive skills.
  • This assessment allows the professional to detect any deficit and score the severity of the cognitive alteration.
  • The platform for health professionals allows you to compare data to a set of references and create graphs and reports.
  • The neuropsychological assessment from CogniFit provides healthcare professionals with a highly valued tool to help identify and recognize determined disorders.
  • This tool allows you to monitor the each patient’s intervention and follow their rehabilitation.

CogniFit for Schools and Teachers

CogniFit Education Platform. Educational technology designed for schools and professionals interested in taking on developmental problems and exploring brain functions related to cognitive development in childhood and adolescence.

CogniFit for Schools and Teachers

This brain based learning platform designed for schools is a professional instrument created by specialists in child neuropsychology that may help educators without specialized training to analyze learning and childhood developmental processes. The brain based learning education platform from CogniFit is designed to help teachers in the following areas:

  • Develop each student’s potential: Learn about the brain processes implicated in learning and neurodevelopment.
  • Implement methodological and didactic improvements: Incorporate a base to the education process to help focus improvements in teaching and designing learning strategies. Enriching educational and vocational guidance.
  • Prevention of poor school performance: Find out which cognitive weaknesses may affect the child’s performance in school and learn how to properly handle the difficulty.

Cognitive Research Platform

Cognitive measurement and analysis tools specifically designed for researchers. The professional brain training and neuropsychological assessment platform was created to help researchers conduct studies in which cognitive analysis is essential.

Cognitive Research Platform
  • CLINICAL Tools for Researchers: Get access to a number of measurement and analysis instruments to assess cognitive function. Whatever the specialization, this digital platform will save you time, making it quicker for the professional and more comfortable for the patient. The platform makes it simple to collect, manage, and analyze the received data, as well as manage participants and track the measurement of their cognitive functions.
  • DIGITAL Health: Perform experimental studies about the effects of cognitive stimulation with computerized programs (brain training). Carry out research to train specific cognitive domains: The CogniFit programs assess and train a wide range of cognitive skills. You will be able to monitor a range of cognitive problems.
  • COGNITIVE Research: This tool is designed specifically to allow the researcher to personalize and adapt this neuropsychological assessment instrument and closely follow the participant’s cognitive skills and evolution.
  • Digital Cognitive Assessments Batteries: Each neuropsychological assessment battery is intended for use as a regular screening tool to track subtle cognitive deficiencies. The cognitive tests allow physicians to design and monitor each patient’s intervention and cognitive rehabilitation process.
  • Digital Cognitive Training Programs: Patented brain training program methodology designed to measure, train, track, and monitor 23 cognitive skills we use in our daily lives. Help stimulate cognitive functions and improve brain plasticity. Based on AI and advanced adaptive algorithms the system automatically adapts the training to the needs of each user. Placebo digital training for the control groups

The link between hydration, health, and happiness

All of us know how important it is to drink water. This is because water is the key to life. Every single cell, tissue, and organ of your body needs water for proper functioning. Water is necessary for your major corporal processes like metabolism of nutrients, regulation of temperature, lubrication of joints, better cognitive functioning, and many other.  If you aren’t drinking enough water, you may be risking your health badly. How? Let’s find out.

This article presents a comprehensive link between hydration and health. It enumerates that why it is important to stay hydrated and what could be the consequences if you don’t.  But before that let’s dig into what is hydration.

What is hydration?

The scientific definition of hydration is the process of causing something to absorb water. In simple terms, hydration refers to the absorption of the water, which you drink, within your body. For instance, you drink water daily, right? What do you think it is doing in your body? Well, it goes to each and every cell of your body and is being absorbed for proper functioning. This process is called hydration and if you are providing enough water to your body, you are said to be hydrated.    

Why it is important to stay hydrated?

It’s important to stay hydrated. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Hydration is something more than just drinking and absorption of water. It is crucial for the proper functioning of a living body. Majority of the biochemical processes occurring in our body require an aqueous medium to occur. So, water is necessary! Also, hydration is a must for the delivery of nutrients to the cells. Proper hydration keeps your body temperature right, strengthens your immune system, and improves cognitive functioning. If you are hydrated enough, you’ll be sleeping properly, have a good mood, not likely to catch many infections, etc.

Here is a little detail about how can staying hydrated transform your health.

Hydration ensure good heart health

The heart is one of the strongest muscles of living beings. It continuously pumps blood throughout the body and works 24/7 until you die. Many factors may contribute to the overworking of your heart and dehydration is one of them. If you don’t drink enough water, your blood volume is likely to lower. It causes your heart to work fast and harder thus making it prone to strokes, cardiac arrests, and other diseases. On the other hand, drinking an ample amount of water daily can save you from such cardiovascular risks. 

Hydration lubricates your joints for easy motion

If you are into sports or some intense physical activity, you must have noticed your doctor or trainer tell you to drink more and more water. This is because water helps to improve your muscles and joints so that they can respond well to physical activities. A lesser amount of water may cause dehydration followed by muscle cramps and stiffness of joints which is very painful. Well-lubricated joints and muscles make motion easy.    

Hydration cleanses your body

Do you that the food you eat, beverages you drink, and the environment you live in have a wide variety of contaminants in them. And these contaminants enter your body as toxins causing physical imbalances and making you feel tired and fatigued. Drinking enough water and staying hydrated cleanse your body. Water helps your kidneys with filtration of all types of waste and toxins from your blood and excrete them out. The more water you drink, the more waste will be excreted out and you’ll feel refreshed.

Hydration strengthens your immune system

Hydration can help you treat different illnesses because it strengthens your immunity. In fact, water is considered one of the safest and natural immune boosters. When you are sick, your body is fighting the germs that have entered to cause the disease. If you are taking in enough water, it becomes easy to get rid of these germs because water has an excellent cleansing effect. It provides an adequate environment for your immune cells to function and thus aiding a speedy recovery.   

Hydration causes weight loss

Drinking enough water can cause you to lose weight healthily. It keeps your stomach satisfied and thus prevents unnecessary and untimely food cravings.

How dehydration affects the brain and cognition?

As mentioned above, hydration is crucial for the working of all the cells in our body. Similarly, your brain cells need an adequate amount of water for proper working as well and dehydration can sometimes be very dangerous for cognitive functions. For instance, mild dehydration can disturb your mood, ability to concentrate, memory, and cause headache, anxiety, fatigue, etc. Even 1-3% loss of water can hamper your cognitive abilities.

Adults with a dehydrated brain exhibit signs of enhanced neuronal activation during cognitive tasks. It indicates that their brains have to work harder than normal to get the task done. This can possibly link dehydration with declined cognitive performance. Also, a meta-analysis of almost 33 studies links dehydration to impaired attention, poor motor coordination, and lessened cognitive functioning.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration

As dehydration poses significant harm to human health, it is necessary to recognize and treat it at its earliest. Common symptoms that signify the likelihood of dehydration include;

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Lightheadedness
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Weakness
  5. Muscle cramps
  6. Dark yellow urine 
  7. Sleepiness and fatigue
  8. Headache and confusion
  9. Feelings of drinking more and more water
  10. Little or no tears when crying

If you are experiencing most of these symptoms, you’re most probably dehydrating. It is time that you start drinking enough water to avoid major complications. 

Ways to stay hydrated

Simple ways to stay hydrated. Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

There are many simple ways of staying healthy and hydrated. Doctors and nutritionists recommend that;

  1. Men should drink 13 cups of water daily
  2. Women should drink nine cups of water daily
  3. Children and teens must have 6-8 cups of water every day

You don’t need to drink plain water only. You can fulfill your water content by eating a good portion of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Google out some hydrating food and include them in your diet. You can also make juices and smoothies. You can also add a slice of lemon or lime to your drinking water. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere and drink as much water as you can. Just like your everyday meal schedule, make your water schedule as well and follow it strictly. You will start noticing the wonders of water in no time! 

The CogniFit API: Helping Our Partners Leverage the Power of CogniFit

One of CogniFit’s top priorities is to reach and bring the benefits of our cognitive solutions to as many people as possible and our API represents a giant leap forward in our ability to do just that.

You may have noticed several of our recent posts about the exciting partnerships with organizations in such diverse markets as telehealth, hearing care, and even video games, and wondered how this all worked.

The short answer is that these partners, and more, have been able to tap into our powerful API to create these unique solutions for their respective audiences that leverage the power of CogniFit’s leading cognitive technology and expertise to add even more value to the portfolio of products and services they provide.

For the longer answer, let’s take a look at what an API is, how they work, and what the CogniFit API can do for our partners.

What is an API?

An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a type of software interface that facilitates the connection and transfer of information and instructions between two often unrelated computer programs.

This might sound a bit confusing, but it might help to think of it like this:

Imagine that you are hungry and decide to go to a restaurant. At the restaurant, you look at the menu and order a hamburger with extra cheese and no sauce.

Now imagine you are a computer program that needs information from another program. In this instance, instead of using a menu, you would use an API. Makes more sense now, right?

Why do we use APIs?

If we think back to the previous example of the menu at the restaurant, we can see several good examples of why APIs are so useful.

The first would be that it presents the available content in an organized way, you might have sections based on the type of food or drink or whether it is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The same is true with an API. When a partner accesses our API, they will have access to complete documentation that organizes everything they need to integrate with our technology into easy-to-understand sections so they can find what they need quickly.

Another example from the restaurant would be that a hungry diner using a menu doesn’t have to physically go into the kitchen to see what food is available and they don’t have to cook the meal themselves. Similarly, with an API, developers at partner companies don’t need to go through our code and try to recreate everything from scratch—everything comes fully prepared and ready to eat use in their programs.

A third, and very important, example is that the menu helps to separate the diners from the kitchen, reducing any chance that poor hygiene, undercooked chicken, or slippery floors may cause damage to the diners, the restaurant, or anyone else. This is also true with an API. By separating the end-user from the source material and data, we are able better protect everyone from loss of data, unapproved or accidental access to secure information, and are better able to control and monitor our own environment, ensuring a cleaner, safer, and more secure experience for everyone involved.

What can partners do with the CogniFit API?

The CogniFit API lets partners create a streamlined user experience.

Our API gives our commercial partners a streamlined, secure, and flexible way to provide digital cognitive solutions to their clients, customers, members, or even employees.

As the digital foundation of our enterprise solutions, our API allows our partners to integrate custom digital brain-health solutions into their current systems or build a brand-new digital health solution from scratch.

For more information about our enterprise solutions, visit our Commercial Partnerships page.

The Big Question: Uncovering the link between ‘general cultural knowledge’ and IQ

We all like to believe that we are smart, or at the very least, have a level of intelligence that is above average. Intelligence is an important part of how we, as a society, value individuals. Intelligence, or the appearance of it, is often a key criterion that schools look for when admitting students; colleges and universities rely on it to give scholarships, grants, and awards; and employers look for signs of intelligence when selecting the best candidate for a job.

The important role that intelligence plays in society means that it is important to understand how we measure ‘intelligence’ and, more importantly, how these measurements can be improved.

IQ as a measure of intelligence

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

One of the most basic ways we measure intelligence is by testing an individual’s IQ, or intelligence quotient. This score is typically found by presenting the individual with a series of tests to determine their ‘mental age’, then dividing their mental age by their ‘chronological age’.

This system is designed to determine not only an individual’s critical thinking and reasoning abilities but also to provide a simple way to compare multiple individuals of varying ages and mental abilities.

And while for many practical applications the IQ system provides a reasonable, flexible, and simple solution, it is not without its flaws.

Our understanding of intelligence has evolved

As we learn more about the human brain and cognitive abilities, we are beginning to understand that there are multiple types of intelligence and that intelligence can be affected by things such as culture, education background, and even our environment.

It is often said that IQ scores are great at testing a ‘specific type of intelligence in a specific type of person in a specific type of culture’. Much of the tests, science, and research that underpin the IQ scoring system was developed, implemented, and reviewed by scientists who are predominantly Western, educated, white, and male—an issue that is common throughout many areas of psychology and cognitive science.

The problem arises when we try to test the intelligence of individuals who may not have had the same background. Individuals who were not educated at ‘western’ schools or universities; individuals whose life experience may be so completely different from those who designed the tests that their intelligence cannot be properly understood through traditional IQ tests.

Photo by Bestbe Models from Pexels
Photo by Jamal Yahya from Pexels
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How can the cultural background and knowledge of these individuals affect their outcomes on intelligence tests?

Exploring the link between knowledge and intelligence

If an IQ test were to ask individuals to name the 50 states in the USA, its results would quite probably be skewed to show that Americans were smarter than the rest of the world. If the test, however, asked questions about how to calculate the score of a Cricket match, those very same Americans might be labeled as ‘underperformers.’

While these are intentionally silly examples, it is easy to see how the general knowledge that an individual has due to their location, culture, and past experience can affect their scores—and, importantly, how important it is to create measures of intelligence which as unbiased, culturally-neutral, and universally relevant.

It was with this in mind that Scientists in Spain have developed a research project known as ‘The Big Question’ (in Spanish, ‘La Gran Pregunta’) to investigate the role that ‘general cultural knowledge’ has on intelligence scores, and how location affected the population’s average scores in cultural knowledge.

 What is ‘The Big Question’?

The Big Question is a research project devised and coordinated by Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, director of the Cognitive Science Center (Centro de Ciencias Cognitivas, or C3, in Spanish)  of  Nebrija University, with participation from teams of researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid and the  Rovira i Virgili University designed to study the variations in the cultural knowledge of the people living in the various Autonomous Communities in Spain.

Thanks to the data collected in the project, the research teams will be able to draw a scientifically sound map of shared knowledge that will serve as a baseline of general culture knowledge in Spain.

The project is presented as a quiz containing general knowledge questions about different categories in which each player tests their level of general cultural knowledge.

There are 37 different categories that address thematic areas such as zoology, astronomy, inventions and discoveries, architecture, or mythology and folklore, among others. The platform is fed by a list of 1,300 questions, and, after completing a short questionnaire on basic sociodemographic data, each player is presented with a random selection of 60 questions each time they enter to play a game.

In the first two weeks that the platform was live, more than 36,000 games were completed, with players from all the autonomous communities. At the moment, the average score on the test at the national level is 60%, with some differences between communities.

Average scores per autonomous community. The Big Question.

Once the data cleansing procedure has been applied, the provisional data show an unequal distribution between territories, even though these differences never exceed 5%.

The average of correct answers per Autonomous Community ranges from 57% to 62%. Above the average we find Galicia, Castile and León, Principality of Asturias, La Rioja, Aragon, Community of Madrid, Basque Country, Cantabria and Valencian Community. The communities that scored below the average were Extremadura, Region of Murcia, Balearic Islands, Autonomous Community of Navarre, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Canary Islands, and Catalonia.

The science and questions of the quiz

The history of databases on general culture is still quite recent and more scarce than some might think. In the early 80s, Nelson and Narens found that there was no database that defined which facts were likely to be considered general culture, nor whether there was data more difficult to remember than others.

They themselves compiled a list of 300 questions they obtained from books, atlases, colleagues, friends, and other sources of information they considered relevant. Students from two U.S. universities answered these questions and collected different cognitive and metacognitive measures. Over the following decades, these questions were used in countless research in cognitive science.

However, and as is normal, with the passage of time this compendium of facts and data that were very relevant or important in the 80s were changing. Society advances and changes, and with it cultural knowledge relevant to each historical context.

This led a group of scientists in 2013 to review the original set of questions and see how it had evolved over the past three decades.

They administered the questions with some changes to almost 700 students from different universities and, although there were some changes between the general knowledge demonstrated in both experiments (for example, in 1980 only 7% of the sample knew that Baghdad was the capital of Iraq, and in 2013 this value increased to 47%), the authors concluded that the set was still valid.

More recently, and in order to explore whether the results of the North American tests could be generalized to Spain, a team of Spanish scientists decided to test the knowledge of almost 300 participants from two universities. When they analyzed the consistency in the answers given to the same questions by students from different countries, they found a very high correlation between the two groups, which would indicate great intercultural stability.

However, differences were also found in some aspects of knowledge between Americans and Spaniards (for example, 97% of the Spanish sample knew that Venice is the name of the Italian city best known for its canals, compared to 46% of the North American sample).

All these studies, and similar ones in various countries, have involved a very limited number of questions. In addition, these studies have generally focused on the university population of young adults, who can hardly be representative of the whole society.

But today, thanks to new technologies and the use of the Internet, and following in the wake of large projects that have allowed to collect data from hundreds of thousands of people, ‘The Big Question’ is allowing scientists to create the most current and complete database on data and facts of general culture, thus creating a Trivial Pursuit of national dimensions and with a scientific foundation.

General knowledge and intelligence

There is no scientific consensus on questions such as whether general knowledge is part of a type of intelligence, or whether it is an indicator or a measure of it.

Some intelligence tests have sections of general knowledge, and many authors claim that this knowledge would be equivalent or belong to crystallized intelligence, that is, to what we already know (the facts, data, and experiences acquired and memorized over the years).

Others argue that their relationship is greater with reasoning and working memory, these aspects are more related to fluid intelligence, which refers to the mental ability to apply reasoning and logic to various new situations that will lead us to acquire new knowledge.

Be that as it may, it should be noted that there are authors who suggest that the results of a possible test of general knowledge sufficiently updated, relevant to the participants, and properly psychometrized, could be considered as a fairly reasonable representative value of intelligence.

General knowledge is highly relevant and informative in view of the expectations of the future of work and society. It is absolutely necessary to arrive at a clear description of what this general knowledge is, what aspects it covers, and what variables are the ones that modulate it.

In a changing world with a strong global and intercultural character, advances will come hand in hand with projects that promote knowledge, culture, and scientific collaboration. With that philosophy was born “The Big Question”.

3D Art Puzzle: A Unique Puzzle for Training Perception and Memory

We are proud to announce our newest brain game, 3D Art Puzzle. A game that is as gorgeous as it is engaging and fun to play while you train some of your most important cognitive abilities!

About the game

The main goal of 3D Art Puzzle is to move a collection of geometric shapes within a 360-degree space until you encounter the image hidden in the shapes. There are many different levels with varying difficulties with increasing complexity of colors and shapes.

But don’t let the simplicity of the game fool you. Though the first few levels present you with collections of shapes that aren’t very complex, consisting of only a handful of shapes and a few colors, the game can become a fun challenge for even the most advanced puzzle master in the later levels!

How to play the game

When you first start each level, you will see what appear to be random shapes of various colors.

But as you move the group of geometric shapes up and down or left and right around a central axis, you may begin to see the image hidden in the shapes.

As you move the shapes and understand how they sit in relation to one another, you may begin to notice patterns in how they are placed which can help you to find the final image.

The aim of the game is to complete the 3D Art Puzzle accurately.
As you level up, the pieces will become more complicated with different color gradients, making the pattern harder to recognize.
The images and 3D Art Puzzle pieces will increase in difficulty as you advance.

The science behind the game

3D Art Puzzles is a brain game that requires the user to move an unfamiliar object in a 3D space to discover the image hidden in the shape. This exciting game helps stimulate the cognitive abilities related to Visual Perception, Spatial Perception, and Working Memory.

Visual Perception

Visual Perception refers to our ability to interpret the information that we receive from our surroundings through our eyes. This ability to interpret information depends on our particular cognitive processes and prior knowledge. The result of this information being interpreted and received by the brain is what allows us to see, understand, and react to our environment based on visual cues and stimulation.

Being able to read this text might seem like a simple process. We look at the letters and are able to make sense of the words. It seems simple, but it’s actually an extremely complex process that uses a number of brain structures specialized in visual perception and the different sub-components of vision:

  • Photoreception: The light rays reach our eyes through the pupils and activate the receptor cells in the retina.
  • Transmission and Basic Processing: The signals made by these cells are transmitted through the optic nerve toward the brain. It first goes through the optic chiasma (where the optic nerves cross, making the information received from the right field of vision go to the left hemisphere, and information received from the left field of vision go to the right hemisphere), and is then relayed to the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus.
  • Understanding and Responding: Finally, the visual information that our eyes receive is sent to the visual cortex in the occipital lobe where it is decoded by our brain, allowing us to understand the visual information and react to it.

Spatial Perception

Spatial Perception is the ability to be aware of our relationship to both the environment around us (exteroceptive processes) and with our own physical self (interoceptive processes). While this may all sound quite complex, it really comes down to this: Spatial Perception is what allows us to understand our environment and where we are within it.

Spatial awareness is made up of two processes, the exteroceptive processes, which create representations about our space through feelings, and interoceptive processes, which create representations about our body, such as its position or orientation.

  • If you have ever tried parking your car and when you saw a spot wondered “is that spot big enough for my car to fit?”, you were using the exteroceptive process to understand and evaluate your environment.
  • If you have ever been walking along the sidewalk and effortlessly walked up a few stairs without really thinking about it, you were using the interoceptive process to understand the position of your feet and raise them at the correct moment.
  • If you have ever walked into your kitchen and smashed your little toe on the kitchen table, then you have experienced what it is like when your exteroceptive and interoceptive processes don’t work as well as they should.

Spatial Perception is what allows us to complete complex tasks such as drawing, driving, or playing sports without going outside of the lines.

Working Memory

Working Memory, or operative memory, can be defined as the set of processes that allow us to store and manipulate temporary information and carry out complex cognitive tasks like language comprehension, reading, learning, or reasoning. Working memory is a type of short-term memory. Working memory refers to the ability that allows us to retain the elements that we need in our brain while we carry out a certain task.

Are you ready to test your Perception and Memory skills and stimulate your cognitive abilities?

We hope you enjoy our newest cognitive stimulation brain game and would love to hear your thoughts on this or any of our other games in the comments!

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next exciting game, due out next month!

CogniFit Partners with Sonova’s Audiological Care Business to Build Digital Solutions for Customers with Hearing Loss

August 05, 2021 — CogniFit Inc. (CogniFit), has entered into a partnership with the Audiological Care business of the Sonova Group—a leading provider of innovative hearing care solutions based in Switzerland. With its Audiological Care business Sonova assures exceptional and state-of-the-art audiological care for our customers, presented in a modern, attractive environment and backed by the highest technological standards in hearing aids and in-store diagnostic and fitting equipment.

The partnership will see Sonova Audiological Care leverage CogniFit’s leading cognitive technology and expertise to build a unique, next-gen digital solution that supports individuals with hearing impairment to train the cognitive skills that are essential for understanding speech and maintaining overall cognitive agility.

Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of CogniFit said of the partnership: “We are truly excited to be a part of this innovative project and to have the opportunity to work alongside Sonova’s Audiological Care business and help improve the lives of people by building a more integrated approach to audiological care solutions.”

When asked about the partnership with CogniFit, Dr. sc. Martin Kirchberger, Director of Clinical Deployment Europe at Sonova Group, shared this sentiment, saying: “At Sonova and with our Audiological Care business, we are continually pushing to elevate our health service offerings for our consumers.  Our partnership with CogniFit creates the unique opportunity to address hearing loss more holistically. We hear with our ears, and we understand with our brains. We now have a fantastic auditory-cognitive training tool in our offering thanks to a wonderful collaboration with CogniFit.”

A new digital audiological care solution from Sonova, powered by CogniFit. Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

Who Is Sonova?

 Sonova operates through its core business brands Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Advanced Bionics, and the brands of the Audiological Care business, e.g. AudioNova, Geers, Boots Hearing Care, Connect Hearing, and Lapperre. Sonova offers its customers one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in the industry – from hearing instruments to cochlear implants to wireless communication solutions.

Founded in 1947, the Group has a workforce of over 14,000 dedicated employees. Across all businesses, and by supporting the Hear the World Foundation, Sonova pursues its vision of a world where everyone enjoys the delight of hearing and therefore lives a life without limitations.

Cognitive Training and Audiological Care

Age-related hearing loss is very common in our society. About half of the population over the age of 65 years and up to 90% of individuals over the age of 80 years are affected by ARHL (Cruickshanks, Zhan, & Zhong, 2010; Lin, Niparko, & Ferrucci, 2011). Speech understanding not only involves the auditory perception of sounds but also relies on cognitive functions (Lemke & Scherpiet, 2015).

With age, changes in cognition such as a decline in performance on cognitive tasks that involve quick processing of information, inhibiting interfering information, or holding and manipulating recently received information to make a decision, occur.

Dr. sc. Maren Stropahl, Expert for Audiological Health Services at Sonova, sums up the importance of this approach, saying “As the prevalence of age-related hearing loss increases with the aging society and as hearing loss often comes with comorbidities, it is becoming clear that integrated services are going to play a key role in holistic audiological care. If we want the best outcomes for older individuals we will need to focus on the full range of physical, cognitive, and social health outcomes; This partnership represents a big step in that direction.”

How Is Sonova’s Audiological Care business integrating CogniFit Technology in their next generation of audiological services?

Sonova’s Audiological Care business will develop a unique companion app to accompany their audiological solutions for customers with age-related hearing loss.

This app uses CogniFit’s powerful API to integrate assessment, training, and monitoring technology into the Sonova ecosystem resulting in a simple and intuitive user experience.

How the App Works:

Upon completing the registration process in the app, the user will take an initial evaluation, lasting roughly 10 minutes, that assesses the user’s baseline scores across a number of core cognitive skills such as Focused Attention, Phonological Short-Term Memory, Divided Attention, Working Memory, and Auditory Perception which is needed to personalize the training.

These scores, calculated on a scale from 0-800, represent the individual’s performance compared to other individuals in the same demographic group; a score of 400 represents the average score for all individuals in the group.

Based on the results of this initial evaluation, a personalized training program is generated for the user. The training program includes a series of scientifically backed cognitive stimulation tasks, presented in the form of fun and engaging video games, each of which focuses on one or more of the associated cognitive skills.

The training program uses CogniFit’s patented algorithms to automatically adjust the difficulty of the cognitive stimulation tasks to provide each user with a challenging, yet balanced training experience.

As the user progresses through their training, they will be able to track the evolution of their cognitive skills over time through a simple dashboard from within the app.

By pairing traditional hearing solutions with this cognitive training companion app, Sonova’s Audiological Care business is able to extend their portfolio of offerings and provide a more comprehensive audiological service to their clients.

When Will This Next-Gen Audiological Solution Be Available?

The partnership roadmap plans for a first MVP product release before the end of 2021 and continues product updates during the next 24 months. During this first phase, Sonova’s Audiological Care business will roll out this new solution through their subsidiary brands in four key markets: Austria, Australia, The Netherlands, and Canada and the solution will be available in German, Dutch, and English.

References

[1] The National Institutes of Health, 21 March 2021, Quick Statistics about Hearing, The US Department of Health and Human Services, accessed 14 may 2021,

[2] Hoogendam YY, Hofman A, van der Geest JN, van der Lugt A, Ikram MA (2014) Patterns of cognitive function in aging: the Rotterdam Study. Eur J Epidemiol 29:133–140

[3] Fortunato S, Forli F, Guglielmi V, De Corso E, Paludetti G, Berrettini S, Fetoni AR. A review of new insights on the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline in ageing. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2016 Jun;36(3):155-66. doi: 10.14639/0392-100X-993. PMID: 27214827; PMCID: PMC4977003.

[4] Deal JA, Betz J, Yaffe K, Harris T, Purchase-Helzner E, Satterfield S, Pratt S, Govil N, Simonsick EM, Lin FR, Health ABCSG (2017) Hearing impairment and incident dementia and cognitive decline in older adults: the Health ABC Study. J Gerontol A BiolSci Med Sci 72:703–709

[5]. Fritze T, Teipel S, Ovari A, Kilimann I, Witt G, Doblhammer G (2016) Hearing impairment affects dementia incidence. An analysis based on longitudinal health claims data in Germany. PLoS ONE 11:e0156876

Happy Hopper: A Challenging Game for Training Response Time

Summer is in full swing, which means plenty of fun in the sun, family barbecues, and… frog jumping??? Well, if that last one wasn’t on your summer bucket list, you may want to think about adding it to the list! Our newest cognitive stimulation game is fun, exciting, and a great way to get some sweet revenge on those pesky flies that kept buzzing around your most recent picnic!

We are proud to announce Happy Hopper, a fun and challenging cognitive stimulation game that is sure to have you jumping with joy while you train some of your most important cognitive abilities!

About the game

New Brain Game: Happy Hopper

In Happy Hopper, you have to help our froggy friend reach the cloud of flies by jumping on the stones, all while avoiding obstacles.

This game has been designed to stimulate our response time by having us help the frog jump on top of fast-moving stones. Like all of CogniFit’s games, the difficulty of Happy Hopper adapts according to the level of the user, so it is suitable for everyone from 7 years old and up. This makes Happy Hopper the perfect choice for those who want to stimulate their mind and help strengthen cognitive skills.

How to play the game

The concept of the game is fairly straightforward. The player must jump on top of moving platforms in order to reach a swarm of flies at the top of the level. With each new stone, stump, or grass-covered platform that the frog jumps on, he reaches higher up the level, and closer to those tasty flies.

Happy Hopper Instructions

However, things aren’t always as easy as they seem: the platforms move quickly, and some even have cracks in them and will break if the frog lands on them too many times.

In addition, there are other obstacles that might block your progress up the level.

  • Diving Birds: These birds fly at an angle and try to hit the frog. Though they fly quite slowly, they can still be dangerous.
  • Flapping Bats: These bats come at the frog in much the same way as the bird, but they are much faster and more difficult to avoid.
  • Moss-Covered Platforms: Not all platforms are safe for the frog. Sometimes you will see rocks and logs covered in green moss. While they may look just like the others, if the frog lands on one of these they will lose a life.

The frog starts each level with three lives, shown as little hearts in the corner of the screen. Each time the frog is hit by a platform or by an obstacle, they lose one life. Upon losing all lives, the frog will start over at the beginning of the level.

The aim of the game is to reach the cloud of flies by jumping on the stones.
As each level increases, you will have to avoid the different obstacles.
You must try to jump as fast as possible and decide if you should jump higher when the obstacle is bigger.

The science behind the game

Happy Hopper is a brain game that requires the user to time their jumps in order to land safely on each platform and climb as high as possible. This exciting game helps stimulate the cognitive abilities related to Response Time, Estimation, and Inhibition.

Response Time

Response Time, also known as reaction time, refers to the amount of time that takes places between when we perceive something to when we respond to it. It is the ability to detect, process, and respond to a stimulus.

Our ability to appropriately respond to stimuli in a timely and efficient manner depends on many factors, including our ability to perceive, process, and respond to the situation at hand.

  • Perception: Seeing, hearing, or feeling a stimulus with certainty is essential to having good reaction time. When the starter shoots the gun at the beginning of a race, the sound is received by the athlete’s ears (they perceive the stimulus).
  • Processing: In order to have good reaction time, it’s necessary to be focused and understand the information well. Following the previous example, the runners, after hearing the gun, will be able to distinguish the sound from other background noise and know that it is time to start running (process the stimulus).
  • Response: Motor agility is necessary in order to be able to act and have good response time. When the runners perceived and correctly processes the signal, they started moving their legs (respond to the stimulus).

Estimation

Estimation is one of our most important neuropsychological functions, as many of our daily activities depend on our ability to estimate speed, distance, or time. Estimation could be thought of as the mental process that allows predicting an appropriate response based on incomplete knowledge.

Estimation allows us to predict an object’s future location based on its current speed, distance, and time. The brain processes the information that your eyes receive and determines what will happen as well as when and how to react quickly.

We also use our estimation ability in perceptive thought processes. Once the brain has decided what information from your surroundings it’s going to process, it evaluates and estimates its distance, speed, etc. In order to accurately process the information you receive and make an estimation, you need to use past experiences as a reference for what might happen in that specific situation. Using real-life previous situations will help ensure that you make an informed estimation about what might happen.

Inhibition

Inhibition is the ability to control impulsive or automatic responses and create measured responses by using attention and reasoning.

This cognitive ability is one of our Executive Functions and contributes to anticipation, planning, and goal setting. Inhibition, also known as inhibitory control, blocks behaviors and stops inappropriate automatic reactions, allowing us to replace an undesired, automatic response for a better, more thought-out response adapted to the situation.

Some examples of how we use inhibition in our daily lives are:

  • If you get bitten by a mosquito, it’s normal to want to scratch yourself to relieve the itch. People with good inhibitory control will be able to keep themselves from scratching the bug bite, even though it itches. Poor inhibitory control may make it difficult to resist scratching the itch, causing the bug bite to bleed and scab.
  • If you’re having dinner with your family and your brother-in-law (who you don’t like very much) says one annoying thing after another, you might have a hard time keeping yourself from saying something to him. However, if you have good inhibitory control, you’ll be able to control yourself and keep calm. If you have poor inhibitory control, you risk ruining the dinner.
  • It’s common to see situations at an office where employees find themselves automatically doing things that are distracting them from their job, like looking at their phone, talking to colleagues, or investing time in worrying about personal activities. If an employee has good inhibitory control, they will be more efficient workers.

Are you ready to test your Response Time and stimulate your cognitive abilities?

We hope you enjoy our newest cognitive stimulation brain game and would love to hear your thoughts on this or any of our other games in the comments!

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next exciting game, due out next month!

Integrating CogniFit Tools into The WeShareCare Platform from Lighthouse Disruptive Innovation Group

CogniFit is excited to announce another major partnership, leveraging our powerful API to integrate with the WeShareCare platform from Lighthouse Disruptive Innovation Group. Work has already begun on the integration partnership and we expect to see the integration go live during Q3 of this year!

Who is Lighthouse Disruptive Innovation Group?

Lighthouse DIG is a Boston-based team dedicated to discovering unique business opportunities and developing them from the seeds of an idea until they are a fruitful operation. They work with companies “to define, test, and validate new business opportunities through B2B collaborations, world-class academia, and cutting-edge startups”. Lighthouse DIG strives to elevate business development teams, enhance innovation through disruptive technology transfer, and expand return on investment by leveraging unique business expertise.

One of the most exciting ventures to come from the Lighthouse group is the WeShareCare platform, a continuous care platform based on cutting-edge AI technology.

 

What is the WeShareCare Platform?

The WeShareCare platform gives users a feeling of connection and confidence by providing real-time communication with caregivers, while also providing a flexible, easy to use integrated technologies to improve their well-being status.

WeShareCare helps users monitor their state of wellbeing and connects them through a conversation with a caregiver, specialized or not, to complete this monitoring. In the conversation, they can ask the user about things such as the quality of their rest, nutrition, or exercise, and gather indicative values that will help the caregivers to monitor the user on their continuity care journey.

The WeShareCare App from Lighthouse DIG.

Without an appointment, users can connect to WeShareCare and start to perform ongoing care of their wellness status. WeShareCare is not a telemedicine platform, and caregivers do not make diagnoses, but they are there to give helpful and supportive suggestions to help improve people’s state of wellbeing.

The WeShareCare platform aims to provide a comprehensive continuous care solution and includes offerings for nutrition, chronic pain management, cognitive wellbeing, and more—and is open to users worldwide with caregiver follow-ups available 24/7.

How Does the WeShareCare Platform Leverage CogniFit Technology?

The WeShareCare platform provides a unique hybrid solution for continuous care—connecting users with human caregivers through a peer-to-peer network and providing a holistic suite of technological tools for monitoring and improving their wellness outcomes.

As part of a group of over a dozen leading technology and scientific partners involved in the WeShareCare platform, CogniFit’s patented neuropsychological exploration and brain stimulation tools play a key role in a holistic suite of digital wellness tools available to users.

To learn more about how WeShareCare is using CogniFit as part of their integrated solution, please contact info@we-sharecare.com

CogniFit Tools are Helping Itaca Group Treat Patients and Train Future Psychologists

CogniFit is proud to form a part of the trusted cognitive evaluation and treatment toolbox used by Itaca Group, a leading network of psychology practitioners based in Cordoba in the south of Spain.

The Itaca Group works with many of the top neuropsychological companies to provide their patients with first-rate counseling and mental health services, incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as Virtual Reality for Therapeutic Interventions and a full range of cognitive tools based on the latest in neuropsychological Research & Development.

In addition to this, Itaca Group is heavily involved with multiple university programs. Not only does this academic collaboration mean that Itaca is helping to train the next generation of graduate and postgraduate students, but also that the professionals who make the Itaca group such a fantastic healthcare option are always at the forefront of neuropsychological knowledge and best practices.

Itaca Psychology and Language

How Is Itaca Group Leveraging CogniFit’s Cognitive Tools for their Patients?

The Itaca Psychology and Language centers, which provide professional early childhood, adolescent, and adult neuropsychology care services, have chosen CogniFit tools as part of their holistic initial patient screening and evaluation process, which incorporates multiple psychological evaluation tools to understand each patient’s unique psychological profile and needs, and to generate an initial baseline report based on the patient’s neuropsychological profile.

Once the report has been created, the team of professionals at Itaca are able to design a personalized intervention program for each client, using a broad set of tools including CogniFit’s cognitive training solutions to build the best treatment for each individual.

How Itaca Group Uses CogniFit Tools to Train the Next Generation of Counselors

In addition to providing their patients with best-in-class counseling services built on modern professional psychology practices, Itaca Group is also actively involved in guiding the future of mental health counseling through their many partnerships with universities and research institutions.

As part of this focus on developing the next generation of psychology professionals, the Itaca Group has created Itaca Formacion¸ a professional development and training center which offers high-quality online and in-person post-graduate courses designed to provide unique learning experiences based on the latest scientific theories and cognitive tools.

Itaca Group has chosen to include CogniFit’s assessment and training software in these courses as one of the examples of the high-quality cognitive tools available for mental-health practitioners to incorporate into their professional activities.

It is truly an honor to be involved with this program, which allows us to collaborate with Itaca Group and share our cognitive tools with their students.

Being able to work with organizations at the forefront of neuropsychology treatment is always exciting. But, especially so with Itaca Group, whose dedication to a modern approach to mental health treatment goes beyond simply helping those patients they have today, but also to training the healthcare professionals of the future so they can provide an even greater treatment for the patients they will have tomorrow.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know in the comments below!

CogniFit Partners with Nebrija University to Study Road Safety and Driving Risks

Since our founding over two decades ago, CogniFit has been developing cognitive tools based on the leading neuropsychological research to help people assess and train their cognitive abilities such as focus, divided attention, and response time.

As we have grown, we have begun leveraging the unrivaled tools and cognitive data we have been able to build over these past 20+ years to give back to the scientific community and be an active participant in the cognitive sciences.

One recent example of this is the inter-institutional agreement we have made with Nebrija University. As part of this unique agreement, the Nebrija Research Center in Cognition recently launched the CogniFit Driving Research Unit, an international research team specialized in investigating the relationship between cognitive factors and driving skills.

What is the CogniFit Driving Research Unit?

CogniFit partners with Nebrija University to study driving safety. Photo by why kei on Unsplash

The research unit came about as a natural next step, building on several important scientific studies led by Nebrija University, which explored the cognitive skills necessary for safe driving.

The scientific activity of the CogniFit Driving Research Unit will be coordinated by the director of the Nebrija Research Center in Cognition, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, and by José Luis Tapia, a pre-doctoral researcher awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities with a position in the University Teacher Training Program.

The unit will be equipped with modern driving simulators that provide a high level of immersion in realistic environments, and with internationally pioneering software for measuring and training cognitive functions, as well as for assessing driving competence in drivers of all ages.

As part of the partnership, CogniFit will be providing technical support for the research initiative. This support will allow the unit to incorporate driving simulators and digital tools for cognitive assessment and training to promote new scientific projects.

The CogniFit Driving Research Unit at Nebrija University will serve as a meeting point for different research groups, such as the GREEN group, a group specialized in vehicle engineering directed by José Luis Olazagoitia, and the CEDI group, directed by Claudia Poch, which is specialized in cognitive aspects related to education.

Likewise, the unit will have strategic alliances with the Nebrija Automobile Club and with different degrees and postgraduate programs of the Advanced Polytechnic School.

What Projects will the CogniFit Driving Research Unit undertake?

The first projects to be promoted by the CogniFit Driving Research Unit will explore the impact of cognitive estimation skills on driving expertise. Estimation skills allow us to give a reasonable answer to critical questions for which there are no direct answers, such as the speed at which a vehicle is moving, the distance to a pedestrian or an obstacle, or the time that will elapse from the moment we start a maneuver until we can finish it.

Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, the coordinator of the unit, explains that “although for most people driving is a common, simple, and automated activity, it requires a series of complex cognitive processes that integrate multiple sensory, cognitive and motor functions”.

The CogniFit Driving Research Unit will develop research projects to explore these processes, evaluate them and train them in order to prevent, as much as possible, an estimation error from leading to tragic consequences. Thus, “the unit is born with an applied scientific orientation and aims to provide knowledge that will help prevent accidents,” says Duñabeitia.

We at CogniFit, the world’s leading company in the development of cognitive assessment and intervention tools, are excited to be a part of this exciting partnership and are pleased to be able to share our data analysis and cognitive training tools available to researchers.

Our CEO, Carlos Rodríguez, believes that “this unit will serve as a link between the scientific field, insurance companies, and public and private institutions aimed at creating safer cities.”

Tell us what you think in the comments below and let us know if you have any questions!

CogniFit is Excited to Join wellyou as Part of ‘The World’s Largest Scavenger Hunt’

An exciting scavenger hunt from wellyou

When we heard about wellyou and their worldwide scavenger hunt event and all the ways it could help people build some of the healthy habits they might have lost over the past year and a half, we knew we had to be a part of it!

CogniFit has always been focused on providing tools to help our users boost their cognitive health. But for each of us to live our healthiest, happiest life requires more than just a strong mind; it requires a holistic approach including mental, physical, social, and even spiritual wellbeing.

As we begin to emerge from the depths of the most severe pandemics in over a century, we are forced to deal with the adverse effects it has had on our overall mental and physical health. To overcome the effects that isolation due to quarantines, social distancing, and working or studying from home has had on our lives, it is more important than ever to find safe and effective ways to focus on our overall health.

Who is wellyou, and What is The Global Scavenger Hunt?

wellyou is a Berlin-based startup with the goal “to make the world a happier place by providing people with the tools they need to increase their physical, mental, and social wellbeing.” The team behind wellyou believes that each and every one of us has the potential to live happier, healthier, and more compassionate lives if we put in the necessary work. And, like us here at CogniFit, the wellyou team is looking to provide the tools to help everyone build that happier, healthier life.

wellyou has organized a worldwide scavenger hunt to help people break out of the bad routines we might have developed during the hard times we all went through over the past year and a half; habits like the delicious but not entirely waistline-friendly homemade bread habit I’ve been enjoying; or how it has become so easy to spend all my free time at home watching movies when I know it would be better for my mental health to step back out of my comfy comfort zone and get out and socialize.

The scavenger hunt will take place over 3 weeks across more than 1,500 cities around the globe, and participants will have the opportunity to partake in challenges that do good for themselves and others.

Using the wellyou scavenger web app, participants will be able to locate three different sites in their city where they will be challenged to do something to benefit their physical, mental, or social health.

On top of that, there will be a raffle at the end of each day of the scavenger hunt amongst the participants who completed all three of the challenges for a chance to win a prize.

So, if, like me, you have developed some less-than-healthy routines over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, routines in which you may have neglected your physical, mental, or social health, the wellyou scavenger hunt might be the perfect opportunity to break some of those bad habits and start working towards rebuilding towards a happy and healthy life!

How is CogniFit Supporting This Unique Scavenger Hunt?

At CogniFit, we are always looking for new and exciting ways to bring our products to an even bigger audience. But equally as important, we are always looking for ways to team up with outstanding partners who can help our current and future users on their wellness journey—which is why CogniFit is so excited to partner with wellyou for their global scavenger hunt event.

As a Sponsor of the scavenger hunt event, we are proud to be offering subscriptions to our world-renowned cognitive assessment and training platform as a prize for lucky winners of the scavenger hunt events, giving access to exciting games, tests, and training activities to help participants continue building healthy habits even after the scavenger hunt has ended.

But the scavenger hunt is just the beginning for wellyou. They are building a science-based program to help users continue working on their overall wellbeing all year round.

They are working hard to make it happen, but they need the help of the community to make this vision come true. For more information, read about their crowdfunding campaign to learn more about the company and what you can do to help.

CogniFit Launches Innovative Video Coach Feature for Brain Training

Building and maintaining good habits can be difficult, which is why CogniFit has added Video Coaches to our brain training programs to help keep you motivated.

We took the traditional cognitive training model and added features to help you stay on track, help you understand the activities and how they are helping, and to help you feel like you have the support you need to keep training and build strong cognitive habits.

What is Video Coaching from CogniFit?

Think of it as having a personal trainer for your cognitive abilities. We have recorded hundreds of unique videos across our most important cognitive skills to help users feel more confident and more connected to their training. Our group of expert trainers provide unique insights and pointers on how to make the most of your training, how to stay motivated, and how to boost your cognitive skills.

We have built a talented production team and a brand-new studio at our main offices which allow us to produce high-quality content for our users. But the decision to build an in-house production studio not only gives us the ability to create normally scheduled content, but also to create unique specialty content with guest coaches as well as to quickly adapt our content as we receive feedback from the community.

We will launch the program with two fantastic Video Coach trainers, Brendan and Cristina, who will help our English-speaking users to reach their cognitive fitness goals.

Let’s take a moment to meet our video coach trainers

Brendan

CogniFit Video Coach – Brendan

Brendan, originally from London, is trained in a range of disciplines spanning the breadth of human wellbeing. After studying Psychology and Philosophy in university, Brendan went on to study Neurolinguistic Programming, reaching the level of master practitioner, and even helps train others in this field as an NLP coach.

In addition to these mentally focused areas of wellness, Brendan has also dedicated much of his time to physical aspects of wellbeing such as yoga, which he has practiced for over 30 years.

He has also focused on sharing his holistic view of health, giving courses in self-development, meditation (including Zazen and Japa), and Qigong.

He is excited about the video coach program at CogniFit, saying “many cognitive training tools seem ‘cold.’ The addition of video coaches makes users not feel alone. It feels like a community. With dedicated instructors, users can understand their progress, and the interactive elements help users to feel like they are part of a community.”

Cristina

CogniFit Video Coach – Cristina

Our other fantastic video coach, Cristina, was born in Spain and raised in London. Her coaching style is based on neuro-performance training, a method of brain-based coaching that combines various psychological and behavioral models from pioneers in the field of neuroscience.

Neuro-performance coaching involves techniques and toolkits based in science which aim to improve overall wellbeing of the individual.

Cristina, like Brendan, is also trained in Neurolinguistic Programing, studying under co-creators John Grinder, Carmen Bostic St. Clair, and Michael Carroll. She has a degree in psychology and natural medicine as well.

Cristina recently returned to Madrid, Spain to manage a virtual coaching and healing practice which can be found at www.cristinalopez.co.

She is passionate about helping CogniFit players understand the mind-body conditioning process to gain insight into how the brain works. She believes understanding the mind and body with spiritual awareness is the root of all healing.

She is excited not only for the launch of the video coach program but for the future of CogniFit in general and has become a valuable member of the team even beyond her role as video coach, helping our marketing teams spread awareness of the brand.

What’s Next for Video Coach?

As the video coach program grows, CogniFit will continue to release new videos every week, and we plan to add additional languages very soon, so that we can reach as many users as possible with this exciting new brain training tool.

We hope to expand the idea to make all of our users feel motivated and part of a brain training community.

Conclusion

We look forward to seeing how our fans enjoy this exciting new feature. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave a comment below.

The EpiCog Project: Understanding the Benefits of Cognitive Training for Patients with Epilepsy

CogniFit is excited to announce that our cognitive evaluation tools have been used as part of a promising new scientific study in Epilepsy. The EpiCog project was carried out by The ApoyoDravet Association, the Center for Cognitive Science of Nebrija University, and the company Impulso Cognitivo S.L., an organization dedicated to the development of tools for cognitive profiling of people with and without typical development.

The research team utilized tools developed by CogniFit Inc., to develop a research project to explore the benefits of precision cognitive training for the improvement of skills associated with executive functions in adults with different forms of epilepsy.

EpiCog Epilepsy Research project. Photo by HalGatewood.com on Unsplash

About The EPICOG Project

The EpiCog project began its scientific actions in December 2020 after a recruitment of interested people through different platforms and social units related to epilepsy and Dravet syndrome, thanks to the main impulse of the ApoyoDravet Association and, especially, of its Executive Director, Luismi Aras.

The initial selection of the sample that would participate in the blind randomized controlled trial began a scientific project led by Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, Director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Nebrija University, in which a research strategy was designed that would allow evaluating the benefits of cognitive training in a period of 4 months.

For this, and thanks to the agreement with the company Impulso Cognitivo S.L., chronometric tests were developed to assess the cognitive abilities associated with executive functions (specifically inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility) before and after the proposed interventions.

These psychometric tests were created after a thorough process of analysis of the scientific literature on the most affected cognitive processes in people with epilepsy and were used as pretest and posttest measures.

How was the Research Carried Out?

After completing the initial evaluation tests, the participants began an 8-week period of cognitive intervention through the tools of the company CogniFit Inc., thanks to the commitment acquired through its CEO, Carlos Rodríguez, with the EpiCog research project for the improvement of the cognitive health of people with epilepsy.

Participants had free access to the training platform that CogniFit Inc. expressly designed for this project, thus being able to complete a two-month cycle of cognitive stimulation through different game-like challenges to train the most compromised cognitive abilities in the condition.

Each participant had the opportunity to train 3 or 4 sessions per week through digital devices such as computers, tablets or smartphones.

At the end of the training phase, all the participants who had shown good adherence to the intervention again completed the battery of psychometric tests developed by Impulso Cognitivo S.L. and Nebrija University, thus allowing a general assessment of the improvements obtained, as well as a precise evaluation of the cognitive components on which the greatest impact was observed.

Results of the EPICOG Project

In general terms, the results of the EpiCog project showed a particularly good adherence of the participants to the cognitive stimulation process, and a quantitative improvement in the skills associated with executive functions, especially in components of precision and speed of response.

These results will be presented and discussed in depth at the opening table of the third International Congress on Dravet Syndrome and Refractory Epilepsy that will take place between June 17 and 20, 2021: https://www.epibilbao.com/

Conclusion

We are excited to learn more about the results and potential next steps based on these findings and look forward to continuing to support research into the ways cognitive stimulation training can be used to benefit the scientific and medical communities.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section below.

How CogniFit is Helping Playwing Expand Their Core Business Model

CogniFit is excited to announce a unique partnership with Playwing, a young startup with connections to some of the biggest names in the video game industry.

Playwing is partnering with CogniFit

According to Carlos Rodriguez, CogniFit CEO, this project is “an exciting example of the power of CogniFit’s API, which has enabled Playwing to prototype, produce an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and begin development on a fully scalable, commercial-grade, white-labeled platform that is introducing a brand-new market segment to CogniFit’s brain training technology—all in a matter of weeks.”

Who is Playwing?

Playwing is a gaming developer and publisher company focused on multiplayer, crossplatform and crossplay games, privately owned by the founders of Ubisoft. Founded in 2017 and leveraging their connections with gaming heavyweight Ubisoft, the founders quickly built a successful portfolio of mobile titles purchasable through a proprietary mobile app store and monetized their offerings through a uniquely modern revenue model known as Direct Carrier Billing, which allows users to acquire games and in-app purchases through their mobile telephone service providers, streamlining the purchasing process and removing unnecessary payment intermediaries.

As the company grew, they began to explore whether the business model which they had created and refined in the mobile games space could also function across other product categories. It wasn’t long before Playwing found success with this strategy, with the release of a sports-focused mobile app portal known as 100% Sports, which allows users to access on-demand video and mobile content about their favorite sports teams, including unique, premium content.

The company has also created a magazine reader app, known as Kiosk, providing further proof of the viability of this business model. Building on the success of these new ventures, Playwing began looking for additional verticals where they could create unique mobile stores to continue to expand their core business model. And this is where CogniFit is playing a unique role in the story of this startup.

About the Playwing Partnership

The new Playwing platform with CogniFit integration.

CogniFit has been a leader in the cognitive stimulation and brain training segment for years, providing users with engaging and impactful brain games and cognitive assessment through our desktop and mobile platforms for consumers and providing a range of professional tools for medical professionals, researchers, and educators.

Playwing has proven to be successful at building engaged communities of gamers, sports fans, and readers, and saw the CogniFit API as a unique opportunity to create a new platform for their users to enjoy.

The project has seen Playwing connect to CogniFit’s library of cognitive stimulation activities through our API (Application Programming Interface), which allows software developers to quickly and easily leverage the cognitive stimulation expertise of CogniFit to create their own software, apps, or platforms.

The new platform that Playwing is developing—which will have a completely customized UX/UI and frontend design, making it more appealing to Playwing’s target audience—is scheduled for release later this year, with a limited single-country soft launch planned for Q3 2021 with a wider release shortly after.

What’s Next?

Having seen how cool the early designs and preproduction versions are looking, I can tell you that this is going to be an exciting project to watch.

While we are all eagerly anticipating the final product later this year, why not take a moment to leave comment below and let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Candy Line Up: A Fun Way to Train Working Memory

Are you ready to try out our sweetest brain game yet? The developers must have been dreaming of working in a candy factory when they began planning this brain game, designed to give our users a fun and engaging way to train some of the most commonly used cognitive abilities!

We are proud to announce Candy Line Up, a cognitive stimulation game that is so sweet we feel the need to remind you: THIS GAME IS, IN FACT, SUGAR FREE, HAS ZERO CARBS, AND PROBABLY WON’T CAUSE CAVITIES.

About the game

Candy Line Up: CogniFit’s Newest Brain Game

Candy Line Up is a fun and relaxing way to stimulate the brain by organizing different types of candy into their respective packaging. Each tube should have a single type of candy, and you can gain points by filling a tube all the way up.

But just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, the game gets a bit more complex, adding unique modifiers to certain tubes. These modifiers could mean that certain candies can’t be placed inside of certain tubes (no one wants to mix those lemon drops with chocolate raisins, right?). Other modifiers may give you extra points or additional restrictions, making each game unique, and creating a fun challenge as users progress through the levels.

The science behind the game

Candy Line Up is a puzzle game that requires the user to plan their moves strategically while maintaining awareness of the various colors, patterns, and other details of the game in order to make appropriate decisions when executing the strategy.

This exciting puzzle game helps stimulate the cognitive abilities related to Planning and Working Memory. As the game progresses, the introduction of unique constraints and obstacles helps to train the cognitive ability for Updating.

Planning

Planning is a fundamental cognitive skill that forms part of our executive functions. Planning can be defined as ability to “think about the future” or mentally anticipate the right way to carry-out a task or reach a specific goal. Planning is the mental process that allows us to choose the necessary actions to reach a goal, decide the right order, assign each task to the proper cognitive resources, and establish a plan of action.

Working Memory

Working Memory, or operative memory, can be defined as the set of processes that allow us to store and manipulate temporary information and carry out complex cognitive tasks like language comprehension, reading, learning, or reasoning. Working memory is a type of short-term memory. Working memory refers to the ability that allows us to retain the elements that we need in our brain while we carry out a certain task.

Updating

Updating is the ability to oversee actions and behavior as you carry out a task to ensure that it is being completed according to the plan of action. In other words, updating is what makes it possible to ensure that your behavior is appropriate for a given situation and is adapting to potentially changing circumstances. Updating makes it possible to identify and correct any change from the original plan and is a function that we use countless times over the course of a day.

How to play the game

The concept of the game is fairly straightforward. The player must move candies, one at a time, until the tubes are filled with a single type of candy.

However, things aren’t always as easy as they seem: you may only move a candy onto another candy of the same type and color. You must plan your moves carefully so that you can organize the candies correctly and move on to the next level.

Candy Line Up Instructions

When players begin the game, they will be presented with several options for adjusting the difficulty of the game. Choices include how many jars will be present, and the type of modifiers and obstacles the player must deal with.

Candy Line Up Difficulty Options

These modifiers add layers of complexity that make this game infinitely replayable and engaging. Modifiers include:

  • Colored Coins: Jars with colored the colored coin icon above them give bonus points for filling them with the candy that matches the color.
  • Prohibited Candies: Jars that have the prohibited candy icon (shown as a candy with a circle and line through it) are not able to hold the corresponding candy.
  • Lids or Caps: Some jars will be covered by caps, prohibiting the user from adding any candies to the jar while the cap is present.
Easy Difficulty
Medium Difficulty
Hard Difficulty

Are you ready to test your sorting skills and stimulate your cognitive abilities? Click the link below:

We hope you enjoy our newest cognitive stimulation brain game and would love to hear your thoughts on this or any of our other games in the comments!

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next exciting game, due out next month!

How CREAR Education Institute is Using CogniFit in Their Innovative Neuro-learning Methodology

“If You are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people”

– Chinese Proverb.

Education is one of the most valuable gifts that a society can give to their children. This was true for the earliest groups of hunter-gatherers passing on the knowledge necessary to survive the harsh environment. It was true for the early civilizations teaching the next generations how to build cities and explore new lands. And it is true today, as we prepare students for a modern, interconnected, digital world that is moving faster than ever before.

And just as the concepts and content that we teach evolve over time to meet the demands of the world we live in, so too must our methods for educating students evolve based on new knowledge and understanding of how the human brain works and how to promote effective learning.

One of the schools that is exploring new methods for educating students for the 21st century is Unidad Educativa CREAR, an Ecuadorean education institution for early-childhood, primary, and secondary students whose vision for education is to “bring together students from diverse backgrounds to help them reach their highest mental, physical, social, and emotional potential based on scientific evidence.”

In order to make their vision a reality, they have developed a unique model for educating their students called Neuro-learning.

What is Neuro-learning?

CREAR Education Institute
Neuro-learning Education Model

This modern methodology is designed to promote efficient learning and to help students reach their full potential by integrating modern scientific understanding of how our brains function and how we develop mentally, physical, emotionally, and socially throughout childhood and early adulthood.

By using only those education best practices which are tested and backed by scientific evidence, Neuro-learning helps students to take full advantage of their educational possibilities in an enriching, personalized, and multicultural environment.

How Does Neuro-learning Work in Practice?

The educators who created the Neuro-learning methodology prioritized three main areas of education that would be provide the most value for their students: Personalized attention, a focus on development, and a multicultural environment.

Personalized Attention

The more that scientists learn about the human brain, the more we understand that no two brains are the same. Each student will have their own unique cognitive strengths, interests, and skills and the Neuro-learning methodology has been designed with this basic principle in mind.

Each student’s development is evaluated, and a personalized plan is created based on current neuroeducation principles. As students progress, periodic measurements allow the educators to adjust and adapt the program to the current needs of the student.

A Focus on Development

While many education methodologies focus on mastery of scholastic content, the Neuro-learning model goes beyond simple memorization and instead utilizes the content as a vehicle for promoting active development of the students’ mental, physical, emotional, and social skills.

In addition to this, the Neuro-learning methodology connects students based on their abilities and interests through High-Performance Programs as part of the normal school schedule. These programs allow students to grow beyond the normal limits of the traditional classroom by exploring their talents, interests, and abilities with more flexibility.

A Multicultural Environment

Living in a globalized, interconnected world means that it is more important than ever to understand and be able to interact with people from different cultures and countries. For students living in countries where English is not the native language, learning English can be a critical component of preparing for success later in life.

Neuro-learning creates an environment that promotes language development by incorporating scientific methods which have been demonstrated to be efficient and make learning a language more natural, simple, and practical.

By utilizing neurolinguistic programs, Neuro-learning helps students to improve their communication skills, not only in English, but also in their native Spanish.

Using CogniFit as a Part of the Neuro-learning Methodology

CogniFit is proud to be one of the newest potential facets of the Neuro-learning methodology, serving as another tool for promoting efficient and effective learning outcomes.

The educators at Unidad Educativa CREAR have begun exploring how to incorporate the cognitive stimulation and assessment solutions of the CogniFit Platform for Schools into the educational framework at their school in an effort to further promote the cognitive development of their students.

The initial trial of CogniFit in the classrooms of CREAR will begin in May of this year, and the school will monitor the students’ progress throughout the school year, including general evaluations in May, September, and January of 2022 (the scholastic calendar in Ecuador, which is in the southern hemisphere, runs from May-January).

We are looking forward to this unique partnership and are excited to follow the students’ progress throughout the year.

Cognitive tests & brain training

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