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.

Could Cognitive Stimulation Help You Learn a New Language?

The cognitive functions trained by CogniFit’s brain training tools—including Focus, Naming, Short-term Memory, and more—are essential in human development and play a key role in learning and using language.

The more researchers investigate how we acquire and process language, the clearer the relationship between our executive functions and language acquisition becomes.

Links between cognitive abilities and language-acquisition skills can be found throughout the Neuroscientific literature, including links between lexical-semantic processing and cognitive abilities such as Inhibition (Khanna and Boland, 2010), Working Memory and Updating (Weiland et al., 2014); links between syntactic processing and Inhibition, Shifting, and Updating (Novick et al., 2005Roberts et al., 2007); and links between both sentence comprehension (Daneman and Carpenter, 1980) and sentence production (Slevc, 2011) and the cognitive ability for Updating, to name a few.

Based on this growing body of scientific work in this area, scientists in the field see the potential of cognitive stimulation focused on specific executive functions and cognitive abilities for increasing and strengthening the neural networks underlying more general domains such as language skills.

But how can cognitive stimulation activities, such as those offered by CogniFit, improve our ability to learn a language? First, we have to understand the history and science behind cognitive stimulation techniques.

The Growth of Cognitive Stimulation

Cognitive stimulation—which includes techniques and strategies that aim to improve the cognitive functioning of different capacities and cognitive functions such as attention, reasoning, memory, perception, abstraction, or language skills—has been an important area of interest among the scientific community since at least the 1970s when researchers began designing clinical intervention programs focused on the restoration of damaged cognitive functions in cognitive domains such as attention, executive functions, working memory, processing speed, and reasoning.

As the processes underlying cognitive stimulation began to mature, therapists began to use cognitive stimulation as a path to neuropsychological rehabilitation for patients with brain injury (Sohlberg and Mateer, 1987), depression (Zeiss et al., 1979), cognitive impairment (Labouvie-Vief and Gonda, 1976), hyperactivity (Douglas et al., 1976), or schizophrenia (Olbrich and Mussgay, 1990).

Over the years, cognitive stimulation has grown as a scientific tool. It has been used in a wide variety of areas, such as learning and education, psychological disorders, brain damage, or neurodegenerative disorders, with users reporting improvements in overall cognition and in specific cognitive domains in both healthy and unhealthy samples.

While early research into the effectiveness of cognitive stimulation interventions was focused mainly on how interventions affected the specific cognitive ability being trained, known as near transfer effects (van Heugten et al., 2016), more recent research has been looking into how cognitive stimulation can benefit more general cognitive domains and skills, known as far transfer effects (Dahlin et al. (2008)Hardy et al. (2015); Au et al. (2015)).

The scientific community is beginning to uncover the benefits and far transfer effects of cognitive stimulation beyond the training’s specific cognitive abilities. As this is happening, they have started exploring new ways to leverage cognitive stimulation tools for more generalized applications such as language acquisition.

Optimizing Cognitive Stimulation Programs to Achieve Far Transfer Effects

Based on this concept of near and far transfer effects, we can see the potential for cognitive stimulation tools, like those developed by CogniFit, in generalized domains such as language. But what does a cognitive stimulation intervention need in order to achieve these far transfer effects?

From what is shown in the scientific literature, there are three aspects of cognitive stimulation programs that may be at the center of achieving the beneficial far transfer effects. These include the validity of intervention activities, the timing of the training, and the adaptation of the training to the individual’s cognitive state at each stage of the intervention.

The validity of the intervention requires not only that the intervention trains the specific cognitive ability but also that it is engaging and motivates the user to adhere to and become invested in the intervention.

The timing of a cognitive stimulation intervention is critical. Cognitive stimulation activities activate specific neural activation patterns in the brain. Frequent, repeated training can help create new synapses and reorganize neural circuits. The more frequently that a user trains a specific cognitive ability, the stronger the neural circuits become.

Graphic projection of neural networks after 3 weeks.

The final aspect of cognitive stimulation programs may be the most important for achieving the desired far transfer effects. Adapting the level of difficulty of the cognitive stimulation tasks throughout the intervention is key to achieving the highest possible benefit. However, simply increasing the difficulty from one activity to the next may not be adequate for every situation. Natural variations in performance throughout the length of the intervention mean that each session should be scaled to the user. Dynamic adaptation, such as with CogniFit’s patented algorithms, is an “essential requisite to foster not only maximization of the benefits of the training, but also adherence to it.

Applying New Cognitive Stimulation Technologies to Language Acquisition

New technologies have made it possible to create engaging, interactive, practical, and dynamic cognitive stimulation training tools. In addition. the ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data allows for the development of powerful algorithms which can create personalized training recommendations with dynamically adjusted difficulty. Taken together, these two massive advances in cognitive stimulation programs mean the potential to produce benefits in more general domains such as language is higher than ever.

While research into how training non-linguistic cognitive skills affects language learning, linguistic skills, and language control (Liu et al. 20162019) is still in its earliest stages, some studies are already seeing hopeful outcomes (Hayashi, 2019Karousou and Nerantzaki, 2020).

As our world becomes more interconnected and we interact more than ever before with people from different countries and cultures in our work, school, and travel, the importance of language learning will continue to increase.

Thankfully, it seems cognitive stimulation programs like CogniFit may make it easier for current and future multilinguals to acquire a new language.

How ‘Virtual Gym’ eStragy is Using CogniFit to Help eSports Players Level Up!

Video games have come a long way over the past decades. What was once little more than a fun distraction has grown into an industry that affects so much of what we do, from the movies we watch and the theme parks we visit to the way we learn, communicate, and interact with the world.

Giant companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon are battling for a piece of the action through projects such as YouTube, Twitch, and Oculus, while veteran companies like Microsoft and Sony are investing heavily in maintaining their market share. All the while, young gamers are trying to make a name for themselves as ‘Streamers’ or in the fast-growing world of eSports.

As interest continues to grow, and importantly, as companies continue to invest heavily in the video game industry, players from around the world are beginning to see being a ‘Gamer’ as a viable—and potentially lucrative—alternative to more traditional choices such as being an athlete or musician.

But just as a dedicated athlete knows they must invest time in the gym as well as the practice field if they want to continue to improve, Young Gamers hoping to reach the top of their abilities must work to strengthen their most important muscle: their brain.

eStragy Aims to Help ‘Gamers’ Reach Their Full Potential

eStragy is a brand new ‘virtual gym’ designed specifically for gamers. Built around one of the most popular competitive, online multiplayer games, League of Legends, eStragy has taken some of the most popular and effective ideas from the world of physical fitness and adapted them to the needs of Gamers.

The eSports training platform evaluates data taken directly from the game as the gamer plays—much in the same way that a fitness tracker tracks a person’s steps and sleep—and builds a complete profile of the gamer’s strengths, weaknesses, and growth over time.

The eStragy Dashboard

By analyzing the player’s performance in the game over time, the eStragy platform can determine which cognitive skills the player can train to improve their overall performance in the game—skills such as hand-eye coordination, focus, processing speed, and more.

eStragy Chose CogniFit Brain Training Activities to Boost Player Performance

Once eStragy has created the profile of the player’s performance and cognitive skills, players are able to create customized training plans based on the cognitive abilities they wish to improve and the training schedule that best fits their life.

Personalized Brain Training in the eStragy Platform.

These personalized training schedules allow players to focus on the specific areas that will significantly improve their play. CogniFit’s trusted brain training activities help these gamers increase the neural connections related to some of the most significant cognitive abilities used when playing video games or throughout our daily lives.

For gamers looking for a little extra training, eStragy also allows users to select individual training activities, which have been divided into six categories: Technique, Speed, Focus, Vision, Memory, and Strategy.

Engaging and Effective Brain Training Activities in the eStragy Platform.

What’s Next for eStragy and CogniFit?

This exciting collaboration between eStragy and CogniFit is scheduled to enter the closed Beta phase at the end of May, with a public Beta set for September of this year.

Product Launch Roadmap for eStragy Virtual Gym.

We are eager to see how users respond to the training during these Beta phases and are excited to continue refining and updating the brain training activities in preparation for the scheduled public release in January 2022.

Professionals Can Add Multiple Users at Once with the New Bulk Upload Feature

CogniFit has been dedicated to creating powerful cognitive testing and training tools for both individual and professional users, and we are constantly reviewing feedback from our users to continually make our solutions more user-friendly.

While it might not be the flashiest new feature, we are excited to announce the release of one of our most-requested features for the professional platforms: Bulk Upload!

What is Bulk Upload?

CogniFit’s platforms for professionals now offer bulk upload for adding multiple users.

For users of our professional platforms for educators, clinicians, and researchers, adding new students, patients, or research participants to their account has been a manual process that could become quite time-consuming for professionals needing to add multiple users.

With this new time-saving update, these professional users can add all of their students, patients, or research participants to their professional accounts in only a few clicks by uploading a simple CSV spreadsheet to the platform.

Simply upload an easy-to-use CSV document and CogniFit does the rest!

Now, professionals looking to add an entire classroom of students, dozens of research participants, or their full list of patients, simply need to upload a CSV with users’ name, surname, and email, and CogniFit will do the rest!

Learn More About CogniFit’s Tools for Professionals and Individuals

For more information on our platforms for professionals, check out our pages for the platform for Health Professionals, Schools and Teachers, and Researchers.

But even if you aren’t a professional user, CogniFit still has plenty to offer in the form of complete cognitive assessments and fun brain training games like the brand-new Penguin Explorer!

Penguin Explorer: CogniFit’s Exciting New Brain Training Game

Keeping up with our mission to continually release fun and challenging new content for our users, we are excited to announce the release of a brand-new brain game: Penguin Explorer.

With the hot summer months just around the corner for most of us, this exciting puzzle game is the perfect way to keep your mind off the heat while stimulating spatial perception ability.

Penguin Explorer is a fun new puzzle game.

About the game

Penguin Explorer is a great way to exercise and challenge your brain while helping the fun little penguin clear the snow while avoiding obstacles.

The aim of the game is to help the penguin remove snow from all of the tiles on the map as quickly as possible by sliding along the ice. But be careful to not run into any obstacles along the way!

As the game progresses, the maps get bigger, more complex, and you have to keep your quick wits if you want to clear the board before time runs out. Try to plan each move as quickly as possible to clear the snow from the whole map.

The science behind the game

This exciting puzzle game is based on popular maze-like puzzles with a long history dating back over 50 years.

CogniFit’s team of designers developed Penguin Explorer as a fun twist on this genre of games and created a game that challenges not only the user’s special perception like typical maze games, but also inhibition and planning cognitive abilities.

Let’s take a look at these important cognitive abilities that Penguin Explorer helps stimulate:

Spatial Perception

Spatial perception is the ability to be aware of your relationships with the environment around you (exteroceptive processes) and with yourself (interoceptive processes).

Spatial awareness is made up of two processes, the exteroceptive, which creates representations about our space through feelings, and interoceptive processes, which create representations about our body, like its position or orientation. Space is what surrounds us: objects, elements, people, etc. Space also makes up part of our thinking, as it is where we join all of our experiences. In order to get proper information about the characteristics of our surroundings, we use two systems.

Inhibition

Inhibition is one of our most used cognitive functions. It is how the brain corrects behavior. Inhibition is what makes it possible for us to stay quiet when you want to say something, but know that you shouldn’t, it’s what helps you stay quiet and seated when you’re in class, it’s what helps you stay safe when someone merges into your lane without using their blinker, and it’s what helps you study or work, even when you get bored or want to get up.

Inhibition allows you to react to unforeseen or risky situations safely and quickly. Well-developed inhibition or inhibitory control can help improve behavior and make it possible to perform better academically, at work, on the road, and with friends.

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.

How to play the game

Penguin Explorer is a deceptively simple puzzle game. Move the penguin up, down, left, or right along the paths, clearing snow from each tile the penguin crosses.

But even penguins, who live in the ice and snow, have trouble stopping on the ice. Each time you move, the penguin will travel along the ice until they run into a wall, so be careful to not slide the penguin into one of the many obstacles on the board!

Try to clear the board as quickly as possible and collect treasures along the way for bonus points!

Conclusion

Playing games like CogniFit’s Penguin Explorer stimulates a specific neural activation pattern. Repeatedly playing and consistently training this pattern helps neural circuits reorganize and recover weakened or damaged cognitive functions.

Now seems like a perfect time to play this fun and exciting puzzle game—and train some of the most important cognitive abilities at the same time!

The Cognitive Research Platform: Introducing CogniFit for Researchers

CogniFit has been a trusted brain-training tool for over 20 years, helping millions of users strengthen the neural pathways that allow us to use some of our most important cognitive abilities; abilities such as memory, attention, focus, and more.

As CogniFit continues to grow, we are always exploring new ways to leverage our powerful technologies to help people—at home, in the classroom, in the clinician’s office, and beyond.

All of CogniFit’s products—both our selection of engaging brain games and training tasks, as well as our selection of cognitive assessments—have been developed through a collaboration between clinicians, psychologists, cognitive scientists, medical researchers, educators, and software engineers. And it is this foundation in scientific best practices which has allowed us to develop one of our most exciting new offerings: the Cognitive Research Platform.

A powerful Cognitive Research Platform for Scientific Investigation

Based on the same core cognitive training and assessment technology already being used and trusted by clinicians, teachers, and families across the globe, the new Cognitive Research Platform has been developed with the specific needs of research teams undertaking clinical, scientific, experimental studies in the areas of cognitive health and well-being in mind.

The platform offers all of the features that have made our other professional platforms, such as the Platform for Health Professionals and the Platform for Educators, so popular; features such as the ability to quickly and easily manage and track multiple users, create groups to organize interventions, and the ability to communicate with users—redesigned with the specific needs of researchers in mind. In addition to these features common across all of our professional tools, the Cognitive Research Platform also includes unique features designed specifically for researchers, such as the ability to assign participants to experimental and control groups with multiple cognitive training intervention options—participants can be assigned personalized training with algorithmically-adjusted difficulty, non-personalized “placebo” training set to the lowest difficulty each session, providing researchers the ability to study the effects of personalized cognitive training versus generic brain games—as well as easy to use methods for collecting and exporting data for analysis including indexed data related to each variable in the study and reference data for calculating fundamental information such as the Z-score.

Adding Participants to Groups in the Cognitive Research Platform.

Another unique aspect of the research platform is the ability for researchers to design investigations focused on specific brain conditions and pathologies (such as Depression, Parkinson’s, and ADHD) in addition to the general cognitive abilities available in the other professional and consumer platforms (such as Memory, Coordination, and Mental Arithmetic).

The Research Platform Opens Exciting New Doors for CogniFit

Though the Cognitive Research Platform is a relatively new venture for CogniFit, we are already seeing interest and, importantly, adoption of the platform in the research community.

Several studies are already underway, using the Cognitive Research Platform to investigate critical cognitive health issues such as how cognitive decline associated with aging can affect the workplace and how cognitive training can improve the productivity of age-diverse teams and how cognitive training can alleviate some of the most common secondary symptoms of Epilepsy such as changes in mood, difficulty sleeping, and cognitive and learning difficulties.

As we continue to build valuable partnerships with research teams across the globe, we are greatly increasing our ability to explore the role that cognitive training—not only for general cognitive abilities, but importantly, for specific brain conditions and pathologies—has in improving our cognitive health and well-being.

Developing this deeper understanding of the real-world impacts of specific cognitive abilities and brain conditions, and the effects that cognitive training can have, will allow us to continue to develop our core technologies, improve the efficacy of our current training and assessment tools, and create the next generation of CogniFit products for new segments of the cognitive health market.

Conclusion

We are fortunate to live in a world where the average person lives longer than ever before, where many of the physical ailments affecting humanity have effective remedies, and where nutritional food is readily available to so many of us.

And though we, as humans, still have plenty of work to do in these areas of physical health, the progress we have already made means that we are now able to focus more attention on the mental-health needs of a global population which is dealing more than ever with the effects of cognitive decline due to aging demographics, increased stress- and attention-related cognitive issues due to an always-on, always-connected culture in both our professional and personal lives, and more.

Our goal at CogniFit is to be a leader in this paradigm shift towards providing support and solutions for the increasingly important mental and cognitive health needs of the global community, and we believe that the Cognitive Research Platform is a key piece of this ongoing journey.

The DINNOS Project: How researchers are using CogniFit to study the effects of age diversity in the workplace

As workers move throughout their career, they learn new skills, obtain valuable experience, and become knowledgeable in the important details of their role and their industry. However, this experience doesn’t come without a trade-off. As these veteran employees grow older, they can lose some of the cognitive flexibility and sharpness they had as younger workers just entering the workforce.

And, though it may seem like building teams with members of the same or similar ages would create more fluent and effective communication and less emotional and cultural conflicts, when businesses can successfully take advantage of the unique value team members from across the age spectrum are able to provide, there is potential for the development of new ideas and innovations as these varied experiences and backgrounds mix.

But how can businesses ensure these diverse teams members come together to form a cohesive unit and that employees are able to bring the most value in their roles throughout their career.

Understanding How Businesses Can Create Successful Age-Diverse Teams

The research team behind The DINNOS Project has taken up this exact question in an attempt to address the challenges businesses face when building groups with ‘age heterogeneous team composition’.

This project, which will be evaluating hundreds of small- and medium-sized businesses across the United Kingdom and Germany will focus on two distinct factors which affect the creation of successful age-diverse teams: How managers build and lead teams, and how the cognitive state of older employees affects the success of the teams.

For the first aspect, the researchers will be looking at the effects of leadership training for managers, and for the second, they will be studying the effect of cognitive training for older employees.

Using CogniFit’s Cognitive Training to Improve Workplace Outcomes?

For any employee to be successful, regardless of age, they need to have the appropriate Cognitive Ability—defined in this study as “a general mental capability involving reasoning, problem-solving, planning, abstract thinking, complex idea comprehension, and learning from experience”—required by the role.

The DINNOS Project has partnered with CogniFit to measure and train the cognitive abilities of older employees in areas such as Memory Processes (e.g., Short-term Memory), Executive Functions (e.g., Inhibition and Attention), Processing Speed (e.g., Response Time), and Logical Reasoning (e.g., Planning).

By understanding how the cognitive state of these employees affects the performance of age-diverse teams—and importantly, the role that cognitive training plays in mitigating the negative effects of the aging brain—the researchers hope to be able to develop systems to help businesses create thriving, successful age-diverse teams.

Conclusion

We look forward to posting a follow-up with some of the important insights the research team learns once the results have been collected and analyzed.

For more information on the DINNOS Project, visit their website at https://dinnos-h2020.com/.

Digits: A Challenging New Mathematical Puzzle

CogniFit has been working hard this year to continue providing our users with the highest quality games and activities. Our newest addition is a fun and challenging mathematical game called Digits. 

About the game

CogniFit’s new math game Digits

Digits is a mathematical puzzle game that tests the user’s ability to quickly organize numbers according to the indicated rules. 

While the game starts out simple enough—with only a handful of numbers and a single rule— user’s should keep their focus, because the game can quickly present a challenge for even the sharpest minds. As the game progresses, not only does the quantity of numbers increase, but also the complexity of the rules, and users will have to keep up a fast pace if they want to finish each level before the timer runs out! 

The science behind the game

Digits has been developed with the key cognitive abilities in mind: Processing speed, Working Memory, & Visual Scanning

While playing Digits, users are stimulating specific neural activation patterns related to these cognitive abilities. Repeating and training these patterns consistently can help create new synapses, and help neural circuits reorganize and regain weakened or damaged cognitive functions.

Let’s take a look at these core cognitive abilities, how they help us with tasks, both simple and complex, in our everyday lives, and what makes them so important to everything we do:

Processing Speed

Processing speed is one of the main cognitive abilities we rely on every day, and is a core aspect of learning, academic performance, intellectual development, reasoning, and experience.

Processing speed is a cognitive ability defined as the time it takes a person to process a situation or stimulus and develop a response. It is related to the speed at which a person can understand and react to the information they receive, whether it be visual (letters and numbers), auditory (language), or movement. In other words, processing speed is the time between receiving a stimulus and responding to it.

Poor processing speed does not mean that a person is unintelligent, but rather that some determined tasks may require more time to perform, like reading, doing math, listening and taking notes, or holding conversations. It may also interfere with executive functions, as a person with slow processing speed will have a harder time planning, setting goals, making decisions, starting tasks, or paying attention.

Some examples of how we slow processing speed might affect our daily lives:

  • Does it take you an hour to do an assignment that takes others only 30 minutes?
  • Do you have a hard time following instructions or planning a specific activity, especially when you don’t have a lot of time to finish it?
  • Do you do poorly on exams, even when you know the material?

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, according to Baddley and Hitch, is made up of a few systems, which include components for information storage and processing.

  • The Central Executive System: Works like an attention supervision system that decides what we pay attention to and how to organize a sequence of operations that we will need to do to do an action.
  • The Phonological Loop: This allows us to manage and retain spoken and written material in our memory.
  • The Visual-spatial Agenda: This allows us to manage and retain visual information.
  • The Episodic Buffer: integrates information from the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, long-term memory, and the perceptive entrance into a coherent sequence.

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. Thanks to working or operative memory, we are able to:

  • Integrate two or more things that took place close together. For example, remembering and responding to the information that was said during a conversation.
  • Associate a new concept with previous ideas. It allows us to learn
  • Retain information while we pay attention to something else. For example, we are able to prepare the ingredients that we need for a recipe while we talk on the phone.

We use our working or operative memory on a daily basis for a number of tasks. When we try to remember a telephone number before writing it down or when we are immersed in conversation: we need to remember what was just said, process it, and respond to it by giving our own opinion. When we take notes at school: we need to remember what the teacher said so that we can write it down in our own words. When we do mental math in the supermarket to see if we have enough money to pay.

Visual Scanning

Visual scanning is the ability to efficiently, quickly, and actively look for information relevant to your environment. It is what makes it possible to find what you’re looking for using just your vision. Visual scanning is an important skill for daily life and makes it possible to efficiently carry out a number of different tasks.

Visual scanning is a function of visual perception that is aimed at detecting and recognizing visual stimuli. When you want to find something in your around you, your brain will automatically go through a series of interrelated processes:

  • Selective and Focused Attention: You need to be aware and focused on a stimulus in order to find it. Focused attention refers to the ability to focus your attention on a stimulus. Selective attention, however, is the ability to pay attention to a single stimulus when there are distracting stimuli present.
  • Visual Perception: Makes it possible to distinguish, identify, and interpret shapes, colors, and lights. This is when you make sense of the information that you receive from your eyes.
  • Recognition: Comparing the visual information you receive to determine whether or not you have prior experience with said information.
  • Visual Scanning: Looking through all or part of your field of view to try to compare what you’re seeing to what you’re looking for. You will stop looking as soon as you recognize the information that you’re looking for.

If any of these processes are altered, it would be impossible to locate a target object, either because you can’t find it (poor attention), because you can’t distinguish the object from its surroundings (poor perception), because you don’t recognize the stimulus (poor recognition), or because you don’t properly scan the area (poor visual scanning).

  • There are a number of jobs that require visual scanning. Police officers or members of the military have to be able to quickly and precisely detect objects that may be dangerous. Store employees have to use visual scanning to keep an eye out for products that may be misplaced or clients that need help. Almost any job has some level of a visual component that requires good visual scanning.
  • Students are constantly using visual scanning at school, whether it’s to pay attention to the board, read a book, or understand a presentation. It would difficult to study new material if the student is unable to find the word or idea in their notes or textbooks when they are trying to review the information before a test.
  • Driving requires you to constantly be on the lookout for other cars, accidents, potential hazards, traffic signs, pedestrians, and a number of other objects or situations. Poor visual scanning may inhibit your ability to successfully scan the environment for potential problems, decreasing your driving ability.
  • Visual scanning is an essential part of playing sports. Most sports require you to easily and quickly scan the space for relevant stimuli, which may be teammates, rivals, a ball, a goal, or any other vital component of the game. If you are playing football and want to pass the ball to a teammate, you have to visually scan the field to find him or her and then pass the ball to them.

How to play the game

The objective of Digits is to organize the various numbers in an ascending and/or descending order, based on the rules indicated at each moment. As the level increases, the quantity of numbers to order will also increase. Users need to stay focused and order the numbers as quickly as possible—trying to avoid mistakes which can cause them to lose points—before the time runs out.

Conclusion

One of the fundamental parts of mathematics is the numerical value— that is, if one figure is greater than, equal to, or less than another. Although this is something that we learn in childhood, and most of us understand this concept very easily, it can be challenging to apply it in the real world when under pressure.

CogniFit’s newest game Digits presents an engaging and fun way to train the cognitive skills that can help us to keep a sharp mind and boost our abilities related to numerical value.

CogniFit Incorporates AWS Technology Simplify, Streamline, & Supercharge Our Data

From the very beginning, CogniFit has been keenly aware of the importance of using good data. Our tools for cognitive assessment and stimulation are conceptualized, planned, and developed with accurate, scientific data in mind, which has allowed our platform to grow into a tool used not only by individuals around the world who want to give themselves or their loved ones a brain boost, but also education and healthcare professionals who need a powerful platform for assessing, tracking, and training the cognitive abilities of their students and clients.

But that isn’t the only way CogniFit creates value through data. The massive amount of data generated by our platform can be used by scientific researchers as well, providing a unique source of information on cognitive abilities and how these abilities play an integral role in everything we do. CogniFit has chosen to use Amazon Web Service platform to create a valuable data ecosystem, allowing us to simplify our data storage processes, streamline the way we use and interact with our data, and supercharge our ability to create value from data for our customers and our research partners.

How CogniFit uses Amazon Web Services To Bring Even More Value to Our Cognitive Data

We chose to use Amazon’s AWS platform as a key part of our data infrastructure because of the power and relative simplicity of their platform. Here are a few examples of how we use AWS:

Simplifying Data Storage

CogniFit’s physical data is split between two main databases which keep separate personal information used for applications such as registering on our website and making payments from the data created by our applications which include information which might indicate, for example, a user’s physical or mental health status.

While there are multiple reasons for the way our physical data storage is organized, the personal privacy of our users is paramount among these. However, there may be times when we need to compare data which might reside on one database, such as a user’s ability to visually focus on a single stimulus, with data from another, such as age.

By using the AWS Database Migration Service to create data buckets in the Simple Storage Service, we are able to create a simple and safe data ‘sandbox’ where we can manipulate our data without putting our user’s information at risk.

In addition, we use Amazon’s RDS (Relational Database Service) to help us simplify the way we manage our databases. Using the AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) to host our Front-End servers, we are able to take advantage of powerful load-balancing and autoscaling features to adapt our system to the variable traffic demands throughout the day, meaning we can seamlessly provide our users with peak performance during the high traffic periods without wasting server resources during low traffic periods.

Not only does AWS provide us with fantastic tools to create a powerful, efficient, and flexible data storage plan, through Amazon’s WAF (Web Application Firewall), we are able to ensure our web apps are safe and secure from online threats.

Streamlining Data Processing

With the data tools such as AWS Glue, we are able to refine, filter, and process data in new and powerful ways, allowing us to turn raw data into organized, valuable information.

The creation of virtual databases using tools such as the AWS Glue Crawler and the AWS Glue ETL Jobs allows us to build simple yet powerful sources of data for a variety of internal and external applications.

In this way, we can build individualized databases, specifically designed to meet the requirements of each data application.  

Supercharging Data Analysis

Of course, data—even perfectly organized data—isn’t worth anything if we aren’t able to understand it and see the stories it is trying to tell. That’s where AWS tools such as SageMaker, Athena, and QuickSight come in.

If the tools in the toolchest of AWS Glue helped us turn data into information, these tools help us turn information into insights.

SageMaker is giving our data science department and software development teams the ability to create hyper-personalized recommendations and adjust complexity and difficulty of cognitive tasks on the fly to give our users the best possible experience and outcomes.

In addition, the business insights coming from QuickSight help us to understand our business like never before, shining new light on our user’s behaviors and needs.

But gathering and processing data is only one part of how we create incredible value for our partners and customers. Our priority is to deliver powerful solutions based on our unique cognitive data.

Amazon’s Cloudfront CDN allows us to deliver data, applications, and APIs to our researcher and developer partners globally with low latency and high transfer speeds, as well as to deliver engaging and challenging cognitive training and assessment tools to our customers safely, effectively, and quickly.

Conclusion

Amazon Web Services has allowed us to push our data even further than before. The integration of tools such as Simple Storage Service, AWS Glue Crawler, and SageMaker into our data infrastructure has unlocked new potential for our data.

CogniFit Collaborates With Research Universities on Epilepsy Study

Epilepsy is a unique neurological condition characterized by unpredictable seizures and other health problems. But even though it is the 4th most common neurological condition and affects more than 65 million people worldwide, there are often misconceptions and lack of general understanding of what Epilepsy is.

While many people have heard of the disorder, many have an incorrect understanding of what Epilepsy is, assuming the someone with this disorder will instantly go into seizure at the sight of flashing lights.

The truth of the matter is much more complex, and the effects of Epilepsy, including seizures, are much more nuanced. As a neurological condition affecting the brain, Epilepsy can lead to changes in mood, difficulty sleeping, and even cognitive and learning difficulties, depending on the areas of the brain affected.

These less visible effects of Epilepsy drew the attention of researchers from Impulso Cognitivo and the University of Antonio de Nebrija in Spain, who have developed a study using CogniFit’s Platform for Researchers to investigate the influence that cognitive training for executive functions has on the cognitive abilities of adults with Epilepsy, and whether it can potentially mitigate these secondary cognitive effects.

The “EpiCog” Project from Impulso Cognitivo and the University of Antonio de Nebrija

CogniFit Epilepsy Study

Research scientists, lead by Jon Andoni Duñabeitia Landaburu and Maria Calvo recently began their investigation, working with 80 patients with Epilepsy between the ages of 18 and 60 years old, and will continue to work with the participants over a period of months.

At the beginning of the study, each participant was given the CogniFit General Assessment Battery to determine a baseline score for several cognitive abilities. After this initial measurement, participants were randomly assigned to groups. The control group were tasked with playing CogniFit games without the active training algorithm to adjust difficulty and present participants with a challenging cognitive exercise. The second group were tasked with completing CogniFit games using the unique training algorithm, providing a more challenging cognitive training regimen.

The Epilepsy Training contains 19 Stimulation Games (to strengthen cognitive abilities), 8 Assessment Tasks (to measure progress) and focuses on measuring 4 Cognitive Skills: Inhibition, Monitoring, Working memory and Cognitive flexibility.

When to Expect Analysis and Results

This unique research project will take place over the next months, after which point the research team will compile and analyze the collected data, with results expected to be ready in the summer of 2021.

CogniFit Estimation Score as a Predictor of Group Automotive Accident Risk

Our world has been greatly affected by the presence of the automobile; from the way we design our metropolitan and national infrastructures, to the way we relax and vacation, to the way we run our errands and get to work. 

The automobile has made our lives easier in many ways and has given millions of people around the world freedom of movement that would have seemed impossible only a few hundred years ago. 

As the automobile became more and more intertwined into our societies, so to have the inherent dangers of operating these machines. Signs, signals, and safety features were added to the roads, and seat belts, air bags, and—more recently—Advanced Driver Assistance Systems such as automatic breaking and lane departure warnings were added to vehicles to help prevent these risks. But even with the addition of these safety systems, there is still an inherent risk any time a driver gets behind the wheel.

Researchers used data gathered through the CogniFit platform to investigate the cognitive and psychomotor risk factors associated with automobile accidents and has developed a unique estimation index that can help predict the risk of being involved in an automobile accident.

CogniFit as an Investigative Tool for Predicting Vehicle Accident Risk

CogniFit’s tasks for measuring estimation capacity (included in the driving test) has been used by the Center for Cognitive Science of the Nebrija University of Madrid in collaboration with The Arctic University of Norway to investigate cognitive and psychomotor risk factors associated with traffic accidents, as well as to develop a unique estimation index that can help predict the risk of suffering a traffic accident.

The main objective of this research was to show if older drivers have more accidents and if these tend to be more serious. To do this, they have carried out a comparative study where they have looked to see if there really is a relationship between the score obtained in the estimation tasks of the CogniFit driving test and the number of total accidents.

Subsequently, it has been reviewed whether, in addition, the CogniFit scores provide an additional benefit for the prediction of any type of car accident.

How was the CogniFit Estimation score developed?

The researchers analyzed data collected through the CogniFit platform on the cognitive skills related to estimation ability of 20,231 participants (10,627 female, 9,606 males) across 123 countries. The data, measuring participants’ ability to estimate the duration, speed, and distance of stimuli, as well as their understanding of how the speed and distance of an object affected its movement, were compiled into a composite index measuring each participant’s estimation abilities. 

Subsequently, the mean percentages of precision for both men and women on the CogniFit tasks were compared to raw data from male and female drivers involved in 1) fatal crashes, 2) injury crashes, and 3) crashes with material damage.

Finally, an analysis was carried out where the data of the different types of accidents were related by type and sex of the total, and the age of the drivers, their gender, and their CogniFit score as predictors.

The results showed a predictive power of age, and gender, showing that older drivers were involved in fewer fatal accidents than young people and that women had fewer fatal accidents than men. The CogniFit score also showed a direct relationship between a person’s estimation skills and the number of fatal accidents.

How can the CogniFit Estimation score help?

Based on the findings of the analysis of data and the robust relationship between CogniFit’s Estimation score and various types of traffic accidents, we can see that the CogniFit Estimation score can predict the group probability of being involved in a fatal car accident (accounting for 98.3% of the variance), of being involved in an accident with injuries (explaining 96.2% of the variance), and of being involved in accidents with material damage (explaining 95.8% of the variance).

Understanding how age, gender, and the cognitive skills related website to estimation affect the risk index of drivers serves not only to know which drivers are most at risk of suffering fatal vehicle accidents, but can also serve as the basis for future research into whether training these core cognitive skills can reduce the risk of accidents in the future. 

CogniFit’s Driving Cognitive Assessment

How can CogniFit help you understand your driving risk?

CogniFit offers a unique cognitive assessment for drivers, the Online Cognitive Assessment Battery for Driving (DAB), which uses digital neuropsychological tasks to assess a user’s cognitive capacity and attitude to drive efficiently and safely.

The results provided by this neuropsychological assessment include relevant information that can help predict the quality of vehicle handling and identify the risk index or accident tendency of a driver.

This digital driving test is performed online and lasts approximately 30-40 minutes. At the end of the evaluation, users receive a complete report of results with useful and comprehensible information about driving ability, performance, and cognitive skills. 

Whether you or a loved one have been driving for decades or are preparing to take the driver’s license exam for the first time, the Driving Cognitive Assessment from CogniFit can help you feel confident you understand your driving risk.

A Healthy Brain: 4 Ways Brain Plasticity Helps Our Brain Stay Healthy

Brain plasticity or neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to grow and change with age, be it for better or worse. It does so by organizing neurons and synaptic connections. As per neuroscientists, neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to make and reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning experiences and injuries. This flexible growth of the brain plays an incredible role in its development and shapes distinct human personalities.

The brain has a very complex composition and set up. It has a gray matter that can either thicken or shrink, it has sensory and motor signals working in parallel, its neural connections can refine or weaken, etc. However, all these physical changes in the brain are very important for the individual abilities of a person.

Every time you learn something new, it reflects a physical change in your brain. The brain makes new neural pathways that tell your body to carry out what you’ve learned. Moreover, every time you forget something, it too is a reflection of a physical brain change; your neural wires and pathways may have degraded or severed. This exceptional ability of the brain to modify its existing neural connections and wire-and-rewire itself is what is called brain plasticity. Without it, no brain can develop from childhood to adulthood and recover from injuries or traumas. 

How does brain plasticity help your brain grow and heal?

The basic brain structure is defined by your genes before birth. However, the continuous development of the brain heavily relies on developmental plasticity. It is characterized by the developmental processes that change the synaptic connections and neurons in the brain.

When your brain is immature, neuroplasticity aids its growth by;

  1. Making or losing synapses
  2. Migration of neurons throughout the brain
  3. Sprouting and rerouting of neurons

As the brain grows, neurons mature. They send out carious branches like axons and dendrites from transmitting and receiving information. Also, they increase the number of synaptic contacts. With age, when you learn new languages, activities, and skills, neuroplasticity helps the brain to devise neural connections that help you to remember the stuff in the long-run. It promotes structural and biochemical changes at the synaptic level which eventually helps the brain to grow strong with memory.

In the mature brain, there are few parts where neurons are formed e.g. the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus which controls emotions, and the sub-ventricular zone in the lateral ventricle. Neurons generate here and migrate through the olfactory bulb which processes the sense of smell. The information stored in the nascent neurons contributes to the brain to recover from damage. As we grow old, our brain starts losing cells and neural connections leading to mental decline. Neuroplasticity helps the damaged area of the brain to recover by forming new neural connections and encouraging sensory and motor stimulations.

Can brain plasticity cause our brain to shrink or become weaker?

Until now must have been considering neuroplasticity as a hero but neural changes are not good always. When neuroplasticity affects your brain negatively, it is called negative brain plasticity. The effects of negative plasticity can lead to destructive addictions, undesirable habits, and negative self-talk which are potentially hard to change. For example, improper synaptic changes and connections due to negative plasticity cause learning and behavioral disorders.

In the case of negative plasticity, synapses grow weak and the small spine structures supporting them grow small. This leads to a breakdown of the structure and function of the brain. It might cause your brain to shrink. One such example of negative plasticity causing a shrink in the brain size is the domestication of animals. A domesticated animal reportedly has a smaller brain as compared to the wild ones. For example, when it comes to hunting food, why are wild wolves considered smarter than domesticated dogs even when the dog is trained enough to read humans?

This is because domesticated dogs have lost their brainpower required for hunting and their brains have grown smaller. If your neural connections aren’t formed properly or if you are not using your certain neural powers, you will start losing your brain chunk by chunk.      

How can we use brain plasticity to our advantage?

Brain plasticity can widely be used for a variety of advantages. There are many ways in which brain plasticity benefits your physical and mental wellbeing. Some of the most important benefits, brain plasticity can be used for, are listed below.

Recovery from strokes

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. It deprives the brain cells of oxygen and nutrients and if prolonged it can cause the cells to die, seizing the brain function. Neuroplasticity can help the brain to recover the damage due to stroke. It works around the dead cells and helps to construct new neural pathways triggering the rehabilitation process.

Recovery from mental illnesses

Mental illnesses occur due to affected neural networks. They hamper the signaling of the brain and deteriorate its neural connections. Neuroplasticity helps to repair these neural networks resuming proper signaling and restoring healthy synaptic connections. In this way, it potentially helps with the recovery from mental illnesses.  

Strengthened senses

Neuroplasticity has the incredible benefit of strengthening senses. If a certain area of the brain controlling a particular sense is damaged, the brain can rewire the function and some other area might pick it up. Also, losing function in one area enhances the functions in the other areas. For instance, if you’ve lost a sense, neuroplasticity may heighten the others. This is the possible reason for why do blind people have exceptional hearing. They may not have the sense to see but have a high hearing ability.

Enhanced memory and learning

As mentioned above, whenever you learn or memorize something new, your brain undergoes physical changes to retain it. For example, if you’ve learned a new language, your brain will start making new pathways and trigger synaptic connections that will help your body know how to do it well. Every new lesson that you will learn will potentially connect new neurons and change the default mode of your brain’s operation. It is likely to enhance your memory and learning abilities. The healthier the neural connections, the greater will be your cognitive abilities enhancing memory, learning, and other mental abilities.   

Does brain plasticity decrease as we get older?

A simple answer to this is yes, it does. As an individual ages, the brain grows but the rate of neuroplastic changes declines. However, it is never likely to stop because neurons keep appearing in different parts of the brain until death. 

The younger brains i.e. from birth to two or three years display maximum brain plasticity. There is a huge increase in the number of neurons and synaptic Stromectol online connections in this age. This is because, the child is learning the basic functions and skills of life like eating, walking, talking, etc. Toddlers are expected to have twice the synapses of an adult. Later, the number of synaptic connections is likely to reduce by half till adolescence. During youth and adulthood, the human brain undergoes pruning which is the reduction of neurons and synapses formed during an early age. This reduction is mainly influenced by the life experiences of an individual.     

Brain plasticity might decrease with age but never halts. It continues in adulthood or older age because people keep learning and experiencing new stuff which causes the brain to elevate the synaptic count. Healthcare experts recommend certain tips that can help to augment brain plasticity. A few of them are as follow;

  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Practice brain-stimulating exercises
  3. Continue learning new things to challenge your brain
  4. Read as much as you can and enhance your vocabulary
  5. Play challenging games that demand brainwork  
Staying mentally and physically active can promote healthy brain plasticity. Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Conclusion

Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity is an exceptional phenomenon where your brain organizes neural connections for enhanced working. It happens as a result of two situations; either you are learning something new or your brain has encountered an injury or trauma. In both the cases, the brain works to wire and re-wire its neural pathways by potential synaptic connections.

This ability of the brain to form new connections is necessary for its healthy growth and development. As it enhances the cognitive abilities of an individual and eases mental and emotional unrest. Most importantly, it offers greater healing effects against injuries like stroke and various mental disorders. There are chances that the brain might fall short of its neuroplastic abilities but the situation can be improved by simple self-help techniques mentioned above. Considering the wide effects of brain plasticity, people are recommended that they should help their brain continue with this super power by adopting a healthy lifestyle and keeping their brain active.     

Early Childhood Development: 3 Important Stages And How To Tell If Your Child Is On Track

Early childhood development refers to the physical, psychological, and emotional growth of the child. This period of development can last from the time an individual is born until they reach adolescence or the beginning of adulthood. During the developmental process, the child learns the basic skills of life, develops and navigates complex emotions, and learns to relate with peers by participating in social interactions. The whole process can be thought of as the child progresses from stages of dependence to an independent life.

Early Childhood Development: What You Need To Know

Early childhood development can affect an individual throughout their life. Photo by Michal Bar Haim on Unsplash

Early childhood development is significantly influenced by genetic factors, prenatal experiences, and the environment of early childhood. By environment, we mean the type of surroundings in which the child is growing, what events they are experiencing, the behavior of the parents and caregivers, etc.

Normally, early childhood development reflects the full scope of skills that a child learns during his developmental stages of life. However, the five key areas of early childhood development include;

  • Cognition: The ability of an individual to think, learn, and solve problems
  • Social and emotional interactions: The development of social links and emotional attachments
  • Speech and language skills: The ability of a child to learn a language, read, and communicate with others.
  • Physical/Motor skills: The ability to control the body through both fine and gross motor skills.  
  • Sensory awareness: The ability to perceive and process sensory information for future use    

Understanding the stages of Early childhood development is important because it can help parents understand if their child is on the right track or not. The stages are not hard-and-fast rules that each child must meet at the same age, but rather serve as checkpoints, letting parents know about how well their child is growing physically and psychologically. Children with poor early childhood development are often left behind in their academic careers which hampers their personal and social life as well.

If your child isn’t developing as per the normal standards, there are plenty of ways to help promote healthy development, and it may be beneficial to take them to a trusted pediatrician who can help you with tips to nurture your child’s development. But how would you know that if your child is on the right track? Well, we are here to help you with it. So, keep reading.

How Can A Parent Know If Their Child’sDevelopment Is On Track?

Parents should be aware of what to expect in early childhood development. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

There is no tracking device or alarm system that can notify you of your child’s early developmental progress. It is you who have to keep an eye on certain milestones that will help you know about the growth and development of your child. Just the way you keep tracking his height and weight, it is important to keep tracking cognitive and psychological development as well. For example, in the first few months after your child’s birth, you will clearly notice the signs of motor and language skills.

Your child will start moving their fingers, looking here and there. They will try to answer you with a smile or facial expressions. He or she might not be able to produce proper words but will try to make sounds, etc. If this isn’t happening to your child, it may be a sign they are facing a developmental delay and that you may need to consider consulting an expert. 

For your ease, we have summed up some major milestones that a child might achieve by a certain age based on typical developmental progress. Consult the list and see if your child is doing what the majority of his age group’s children do.

Developmental Milestones: Birth to 1 Year

It is the most crucial year of growth as every month will offer something new!

In the first 2 months, your child may begin smiling when hearing your voice and follow you with their eyes when moving here and there.

By 3 months, when they lie on their stomach, they should be able to raise their head and chest and start smiling at other familiar people who are always around.

By 4 months, they may begin to imitate sounds, hold their head steady, laugh, and babble.

By 6 months they may begin moving little objects with hands.

By 7 they may respond to their name.

By 9 months they may begin crawling, sitting with support, and saying words like mama, papa, etc.

Finally, by 12 months, your child may start walking with support and respond to people around and imitate people.

Developmental Milestones: 2 Years

Between 1-2 years, the child may begin walking independently, holding objects like cups, start a little running and jumping, speaking short sentences, following instructions, etc.

Developmental Milestones: 3 Years

By 3 years, the child may have started climbing, speaking multiple words and sentences, and sorting objects by colors and shapes.

Developmental Milestones: 4 Years

By 4 years children may start getting along with people who are outside the family e.g. neighbors, parent’s friends, or the non-family people they meet every day. They may have developed gross motor skills for activities such as riding a tricycle, as well as fine motor skills for drawing circles, squares, and other simple shapes.

Developmental Milestones: 5 Years

By 5 years, many children have developed the cognitive skills required to remember important complex information such as their home address, as well as complex motor skills for activities such as skipping and jumping or get dressed. They should also be able to count objects, etc.

Now considering your child’s age, compare what they are doing compared to the previous generic milestones. If there is a huge gap, it may be a sign of developmental delay. There is no need to panic, everyone has a different cognitive setup. Try to consult a doctor and work on helping your child.

What Are The Key Stages Of Early Childhood Development?

Proper early childhood development can help ensure a health and happy life. Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

The developmental milestones listed above cover a wide range of behaviors and transformations that take part in shaping the brain and personality of a child. Most of the behaviors are learned in the first few years of life rendering them the crucial stage of early childhood development. However, this isn’t where the process ends. Childhood development continues in middle and late childhood or adolescence as well.

Broadly, there are three key stages of early childhood development i.e.

  • Early childhood
  • Middle childhood
  • Late childhood or adolescence

The first one refers to the time from birth to eight years. These are the years of the most obvious growth and development. During these years, a baby who is totally dependent on his parents transforms into a walking, talking, and independent individual. It is the time when the child’s life functioning, personality, and relationships are shaped. He/she develops emotional attachment with people around them and their behavior affects the child the most. He starts learning words and language for communication along with basic life skills like walking, talking, eating, reading, writing, etc. It is also a crucial time for physical growth as well.

Middle childhood refers roughly to eight to twelve years of age. The child starts understanding some abstract concepts like money and time. Moreover, they start developing interpersonal relationships and cognitive skills.

Adolescence or late childhood starts at twelve and ends at the teenage years. It is the time when an individual experiences major changes in their physical, emotional, and mental growth. Your child is likely to encounter psychological disorders, hormonal changes, fluctuations in behaviors, etc. He/she might struggle with their emotions causing mental unrest.

Is It OK If My Child Isn’t At The ‘Right’ Stage?

Delays in early childhood development may cause many difficulties for children at various stages of life. Poor development in early childhood can continue to affect the individual throughout their life into adulthood. For instance, poor physical growth can hamper his abilities to participate well in extracurricular activities like sports at the school.

Also, poor psychological web page development may cause poor cognitive abilities which are likely to affect the academics of the child. Poor mental and emotional development may cause your child to suffer from various mental disorders. Thus if you sense that your child isn’t at the right stage, consult a pediatrician as soon as possible. Note, this is nothing to worry about, you can fix the situation with simple everyday techniques as follow.    

How To Help Nurture A Child’s Psychological Development?

Here are some tips for nurturing your child’s psychological development.

  • Practice mentally challenging activities such as puzzles or learning games
  • Read stories and participate in creative games
  • Help your child to recognize and accept his feelings
  • Empathize with him/her to build trust
  • Spend time with your children and do what they love to do
  • Model good behavior because children imitate what they see
  • Appreciate their little efforts
  • Help them build resilience
  • Seek medical advice

All these tips will help you to elevate and nurture your child’s psychological development. 

Conclusion

Early childhood development is a developmental process that shapes the personality of your child. It is a crucial process that needs special attention because it depends greatly on the prenatal behaviors and the environment around the child. Parents must keep a check on what is their child seeing and observing. They must ensure that their child is safe from any kind of negativity that can hamper his growth in any way. Most importantly, the parents should model good behavior before their children so that they imitate them in their lives.

Color Bee: An Exciting New Cognitive Stimulation Game For Coordination

For us at CogniFit, like for so many others, 2020 was a year of great changes. For us, it was a year for focusing internally on modernizing and streamlining how our platform and tools work, improving the user experience through increased interaction with the community and a renewed focus on UX design, at the same time we saw tremendous growth in the community of CogniFit users as people searched for ways strengthen their mental and cognitive health in response to a global pandemic.

While we are pleased to welcome so many new users to the CogniFit community, we are well aware that much of the growth was, at least in part, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the very real effect it has had on the mental health of so many. Because of this, we have taken great care and pride in our efforts to build not only great products and services that have a real and lasting benefit to our users but also in our efforts to build a thriving, supportive community for our users.

Our New Year’s Resolution: A New Launch Each Month

We want to continue growing and building the best possible CogniFit and continue to provide the highest quality of services to those who have placed their trust in our platform to strengthen their cognitive abilities through our scientific cognitive evaluation and brain training tools.

In 2021, building on the behind-the-scenes milestones of the previous year, we have chosen to introduce a new highly-visible challenge for ourselves: To publish a new brain training game each month for our users to enjoy.

Like all CogniFit games, these new games will offer unique, engaging experiences designed to stimulate the vital cognitive abilities we use each and every day, and like all CogniFit games, they are created by experts in neuroscience, and designed with a scientific and academic focus.As

As we always say: At CogniFit, we don’t make games, we make unique experiences!

Carlos Rodrigues – CTO CogniFit

We’re Proud to Announce the First of Many New Games: Color Bee

And we are overjoyed to be able to announce today the first of many brain training games for 2021, Color Bee!

If you are anything like me and often feel a bit like your coordination isn’t as strong as it once was, that your mind used to be quick as a whip but that it now takes a fraction (or more) of a second longer for your brain to respond, or you find that you simply aren’t as agile as you once were and need to keep an eye out for pesky doors and table corners to avoid bumping into them, then Color Bee might just be the perfect brain game for you.

Color Bee is an exciting, challenging 3D puzzle game that tests your Spacial Perception, Hand-eye Coordination, and Response Time as you help the fast-paced bee avoid obstacles and clear the leaves away.

Our newest game from CogniFit: Color Bee

The Science Behind Color Bee

This deceptively simple, exciting game is more than just a fun way to pass the time; It has been designed purposefully to train specific cognitive abilities in a simple and exciting way.

Color Bee has been developed with three key cognitive abilities in mind: Spatial Perception, Hand-Eye Coordination, and Response Time. By challenging users to quickly navigate a complex visual scene while staying alert to dangers, obstacles, and changing goals, Color Bee is a fantastic way to put these critical cognitive skills to the test and to push yourself to new heights as you progress to higher levels and more complex challenges.

Let’s take a look at these core cognitive abilities, how they help us with tasks, both simple and complex, in our everyday lives, and what makes them so important to everything we do:

Spacial 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.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Hand-eye coordination is the ability to coordinate activities that require the simultaneous use of our hands and eyes

Activities that require us to use the information our eyes perceive (visual-spatial perception) to guide our hands to carry out a movement rely on Hand-Eye Coordination. 

When we reach to grab an object, we use the information gathered through our eyes regarding the shape, size, distance, and even speed of the object to inform our hands how to manipulate the object. 

We use Hand-Eye coordination for an almost limitless amount of activities we perform every day, from driving to drinking a glass of water, even activities as deceptively simple as walking or waving our hand require the use of Hand-Eye Coordination.

Response Time

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

Response Time is one of the most important cognitive skills because nearly everything we do relies on our ability to process information and develop an appropriate response. 

You have likely noticed that when you are wide awake and full of energy you are able to quickly reply to questions, react to changes in your environment, or respond to perceived rustburgpharmacy dangers much more quickly than when you are completely exhausted the morning after a poor night’s sleep. This is a very obvious example of how changes in our bodies can affect Response Time, however there are more gradual, less noticeable changes that happen over time due to the effects of age, poor diet and exercise, or physical and mental illnesses. 

Maintaining an active and stimulated mind is one of the keys to promoting healthy Response Time so we can continue to safely enjoy the many activities that rely on this cognitive ability.

So whether you are looking for a way to specifically train Spacial Perception, Hand-eye Coordination, or Response Time, or you simply want a fun game with some great cognitive benefits, Color Bee is a fantastic choice for you and your loved ones!

How to Play Color Bee?

Players must stay focused so they can guide the bee towards the leaves of the designated color, avoiding leaves of other colors as well as obstacles. Sounds simple? Just wait. As the levels increase (and as you get more skilled) the difficulty rises.

Spin the bee around the plant to find the right leaves using the Left and Right Arrow keys and tell it when to dive down using the Down arrow key.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoy Color Bee as much as we do and are looking forward to hearing your stories about your cognitive improvement using Color Bee and all of the CogniFit games and tools.

Keep an eye out next month for another fun and exciting (and science-backed) game!

Early Childhood Mental Health: 7 Tips For Raising Happy, Healthy Kids

Traumatic events in early childhood have prolonged effects on the mental health of an individual. Brain, in early childhood, is the most vulnerable. Bad experiences negatively impact its development, increasing the risks of early life adversities. These adversities are a major risk factor for the development of various behavioral and psychological problems in later life. Research studies report that children who experience maltreatment have a higher rate of developing depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidality, and other mental health disorders.

Also, distressing early life events contribute to higher drug dependence in later life. This is the reason why healthcare experts urge parents to focus on the early childhood mental health of their children. Healthy early childhood mental health is very beneficial for the healthy psychological and behavioral development of an individual. The greater the start, the more pleasant will be life later on.

This article is presented exclusively for a comprehensive understanding of our readers regarding early childhood mental health, why is it important, and how can it be improved. So, let’s begin.

What is early childhood mental health?      

Early childhood mental health refers to the social, emotional, and psychological development of children in their early life. Early childhood mental health means the ability of a child to explore, learn, make relationships, communicate, or express their emotions, and finally respond to relationships and the care given to them.

The word early-childhood refers to the first 3-4 years (or maximum 5) of a child’s life. It is the time when he/she is learning to function both, socially and emotionally. Whatever the children see or experience is likely to stay with them for a lifetime. It is the time when their brain and especially mental health is developing. The treatment they get and the interactions they make will shape their brain and mental health. They are at the age of exploring and learning, they’ll perceive the world through the actions and treatment of the people around them.

Experts from the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University say that the early experiences of a child, whether negative or positive, affect his/her brain development. The first three years are the most crucial time because children are growing both physically and mentally. By three to four years, the child has made enough connections to draw a picture of the world. Therefore, it must be made sure that a child, at this age, has most of the positive and compassionate behavior so that his brain and mental health nurtures well.

What happens when a child has poor early childhood mental health?

Early childhood mental health is a key area in the overall health and happiness of a child. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

As mentioned before, early life experiences shape the mental development of an individual. Pleasant experiences lay the foundation of sound mental health and unpleasant ones are likely to impair the mental capabilities of an individual. They are likely to have lifelong implications affecting the cognitive, learning, and memory-related abilities of a child. The child may not show up with mental health disorders at a younger age but clear characteristics of various mental health disorders can be seen in later life. Some of the disorders that commonly appear as a result of poor early childhood mental health are; 

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities like autism (visible at an early age)

You must be wondering how early life events can promote such situations. Well, experiences leave a chemical signature on the genes. This “experience-gene expression” intervention affects childhood mental health. Genes carry instructions telling our bodies how to work. However, the chemical signature due to stressful experiences prevents the genes to carry out their functions successfully which lays an unstable groundwork for mental health. The common stressful events causing such conditions include poverty, recurrent abuse, chronic neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, parents’ mental health, parents’ unhappy relations, etc.

Since the damage caused by poor early childhood mental health is much severe, you must work on the healthy development of your child’s early mental health. To help you with this, we present some amazing tips to nurture early childhood mental health.  

Tips to nurture early childhood mental health

How can we promote early childhood mental health? Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

There is neither any prescribed medicine for improving the mental health of a child nor a super trick that can do this for you. It requires careful and sincere efforts to nurture your child’s brain and support their mental health. Most of the time, it is the everyday activities that can significantly help you with it. Always remember it is both a time-and-energy-consuming process but it will all be worth it in the end.

Here is what you need to do.

Teach your child to recognize his feelings  

The “language of feelings” is the first step of your child towards a healthy mental state. You have to make him/her identify what they are feeling. Teach them words for different emotions so that they can tell you. Most of the children cannot let their hearts out because they are confused about how they feel about a particular thing.

They don’t know whether it is actually a problem or it is just a mixed feeling. Many of them think that feelings other than happiness are bad and shameful but you’ve to tell them that it is normal not to be happy all the time and have different feelings. Tell them to express themselves, no matter how they feel. The more they’ll express, the lesser will be their stress.  

Empathize to build trust

Sympathies are never enough, you need to empathize with your children. You need to put yourself into their shoes, pause, and realize how your child is feeling. Getting angry at once and giving advices without listening to them won’t work.

Help your child to put their trust in you. For that, you have to listen to them openly so that they know somebody is there for them. Observe your child’s behavior, notice what upsets them, reach out to them, validate their feelings, know their viewpoint first, and then present yours. There are chances that your child may be overreacting to something but still, hear them out to reduce their defensive reaction.

Make your child do what he/she loves to do

Creativity is a natural way to express yourself. Similarly, children are likely to express themselves when they are doing something they really enjoy. It can be anything like playing games, sports, drawing, dancing, photography, role-playing, their favorite toy, etc. You need to find out what your child loves to do and then encourage them to do it often.

Try to do it with them. In this way, you can spend maximum time with your child. You can talk to him/her about their thoughts, what they want to be in the future, and how they feel. Most importantly, you’ll know what your child is up to. Most of the parents leave their children to TVs and Smartphones which is very bad for the development of their brain. So, try to encourage the creativity of your child and allow them to pursue it.  

Model good behavior

Children imitate what they see. If they’ll see violence around, they’re likely to practice it in life. If they see their parents or care-givers fighting and abusing each other, they’ll perceive it as normal behavior and will continue with it through life. Therefore, it is necessary that people who are raising a child model good behavior. They need to be polite and careful with each other and the child as well. Good and kind acts positively affect the brain and provoke the child to do good as well. Remember that you are your child’s best teacher. If you want your child to do something, do it yourself first.

Appreciate them for their little efforts

This is the simplest yet most effective technique to nurture your child’s mental health. Recognize their small efforts and appreciate them. It will encourage them to work even harder next time. Give them constructive feedback. Highlight the goods and then tell them how they can improve more. Your appreciation is going to build their self-esteem which raises their confidence and resilience.

Create stimulating, playful environments

Young children are full of curiosity, playfulness, and thirst for knowledge and understanding of their surroundings. They are constantly observing, probing, and testing gulfport pharmacy how their environment works and how the people around them interact with it and with each other.

Promoting learning and mental stimulation in this early phase of discovery is vital in promoting a lifelong love of learning. Ensuring that children have access to stimulating environments including colors, sounds, shapes, and interactive activities helps the brain to build connections and reinforces the child’s curiosity and inquisitive nature.

Interactive toys and stimulating games and activities serve as an integral part of this rich learning environment.

Consult a medical professional

Mental health is an important and sensitive part of overall human health. So, consulting a specialist is a must. For that, you should talk to a pediatrician or a psychiatrist. You should ask them about the mental health skills and behaviors appropriate for different ages and any emotional and behavioral changes that can be looked forward to as a child grows. If you notice anything unusual in your child’s behavior, report it to the doctor, look for a plausible cause, and ask for a solution. A medical professional can guide you the best in this regard.

Conclusion

Early life experiences affect the mental health of a child to a great extent. Poor early childhood mental health increases the risk of developing mental disorders in the long run. Therefore, parents should focus on the early mental health of their child as much as possible. They should do whatever it takes to help their child grow mentally strong. The above-mentioned help tips can potentially serve to promote healthy mental growth in children. All they require is your dedication and efforts!

Nutritional Psychology Answers Why Diet Impacts How We Think and Feel

The waitress of the fast food joint asks, “Would you like fries with that?” The customer quickly requests a super-sized meal, while the woman at the neighboring orders a grilled chicken salad. Whichever dietary choice resembles your own, nutrition has a vast impact on how we think, feel, and behave. Why? Nutritional psychology explains how nutrition determines cognitive skills, mood disorders, and intelligence.

Nutritional Psychology can help us understand how—and why—we eat the way we do

What is Nutritional Psychology?

Nutritional psychology is the study of nutrition and how it pertains to mood, behavior, and mental health. The foods we eat influence psychological, behavioral, cognitive, perceptual, sensory, and psychosocial patterns. This area of study has the goal to implement education and nutrition to connect diet with mental health.

Nutritional Psychology: The Enteric Nervous System

The nervous system is known to describe the brain and spinal cord; however, most are surprised to learn that a large portion of the nervous system is in our gastrointestinal tracts. From chewing food to absorption and even elimination, the gut is home to millions of nerve cells, hormones, and enzymes that perform a variety of functions. This is why it is commonly referred to as our second brain. Together, the gastrointestinal tract and all it entails is called the enteric nervous system.

Nutritional Psychology: Hormones

Gut bacteria line the stomach and intestines to facilitate digestion. These bacteria manufacture neurotransmitters not only to regulate digestion, but to control key cognitive processes like memory, mood, and learning. Serotonin is a particular prominent neurotransmitter in the gut. Bacteria create nearly 95 percent of the body’s serotonin—a neurotransmitter imperative to stabilize mood and trigger peristalsis (i.e. contractions of the stomach and intestines to digest food).

When serotonin is off, it can cause symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and constipation. But serotonin is not the sole neurotransmitter, GABA and dopamine are also relevant. Studies have allowed experts to document observations like mood changes in the presence of functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. It was once thought that emotions and disorders like anxiety and depression result in bowel symptoms, but scholars at John Hopkins now believe that an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract leads to anxiety and depression.

Nutritional Psychology: Food and Brain Structure

The food we consume literally has the power to alter brain structure. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience reveals an increased volume of grey matter in the prefrontal cortex shown on brain imagine in patients who made food choices based on whether a food item is healthy rather than on taste or indulgence. Judging grey matter volume in these areas is a helpful predictor of various eating disorders including obesity and anorexia nervosa.

Neurons, nerve cells in the brain, are also affected by food. Diets with a high fat and sugar content have fewer synapses in the brain’s hippocampus—the connections that transmit signals to other cells in the body. The brain is less efficient at neuroplasticity. It cannot adapt as quickly. Instead, the hippocampus becomes inflamed as the cells respond to harm.

Nutritional Psychology: Obesity

The term obesity is described as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. There are more than 400 million obese adults worldwide. Being overweight has a vast impact on the body. Although someone who is obese is prone to developing heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, the brain is particularly effected. Scientists have attributed multiple cases of cognitive impairment with obesity.   

The brain of obese individuals is vulnerable to cerebral atrophy. The brain literally shrinks. As the brain volume decreases in size, the likelihood of memory impairment increases with age. A lack of brain volume makes it difficult to refrain from excessive eating, which fuels the cycle.

Nutritional Psychology: Caloric Intake

The first line of defense against the obesity epidemic is to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle. Diet and exercise are key to shedding the extra pounds because it burns more calories than one expends. However, restricting caloric intake is potentially detrimental to psychological health.

Studies show that caloric restriction is linked to depression—a mental health disorder characterized by feeling unexplained sadness, anxiety, loss of interest, low motivation, and interrupted sleeping and eating patterns for more than 2-weeks. Male subjects went from consuming 3,200 calories to 1,600 calories of foods such as potatoes, turnips macaroni, milk, bread, chicken, and rutabagas. These men reported a multitude of symptoms: dizziness, cold intolerance, fatigue, muscle aches, edema, reduced sex drive, low attention spans, poor concentration, and psychological distress. Some were even sent to a psychiatric hospital for self-mutualization and suicide attempts.

Contrarily, other studies conclude that the risk for dementia and cognitive decline is lessened by a lower caloric intake. The combination of studies supports that the quality of food choices are important. For our brains to thrive, we require a range of foods from all food groups to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritional Psychology: Carbohydrates and Cognition

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel. As carbs are consumed, the body breaks the carbohydrates down into glucose. The nerve cells utilize the glucose in the bloodstream for energy. Restricting carbohydrates, like so many of modern day dieters do, is depriving the body of its main source of fuel. Thus, cognitive skills are affected. Researchers at Tufts University tested this hypothesis. Women were placed into groups based on “low-carb” and “low calorie” diets. Their cognitive skills were tested before the study, during, and after. Those on low carbohydrate diets presented with poor memory performance within a week of their diet.

In the average Western diet, the type of carbohydrates has an impact too. Refined, processed carbohydrates result in repeated spikes in blood glucose levels which triggers the rapid release of stress hormones that increase anxiety and mood disorders.

Nutritional Psychology: Fatty Acids and Cognition

70 percent of the human brain is comprised of fat. Fats are critical for brain development. When the body does not have sufficient carbohydrates available, it uses fat to perform necessary functions. Psychiatrists at Harvard University discovered that the amount of fat an individual consumes has little impact on brain function; however, the form of fat does.

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial dietary fats. They are found in fish, walnuts, and chia seeds. Other fats, like saturated fats, are good in moderation and come from meat, coconut, and dairy products. Hydrogenated fats (i.e. trans fats) are best avoided in foods that are processed or deep-fried.

Nutritional Psychology: Vitamins and Minerals and Cognition

Vitamins and minerals are also related to brain function. The body is exposed to free radicals. Free radicals are unstable cells that damage healthy cells. The result is disease, aging, and illness. Vitamins and minerals contain radical fighting substances known as antioxidants.

The following vitamins and minerals are essential:

  • Iron—Adults and children who are anemic score lower on cognitive tests.
  • B Vitamins—B vitamins for the brain include B12, B6, and B9 (folate). When B vitamins are lacking, the body cannot convert homocysteine into protein. As homocysteine accumulates, cognitive performance suffers.  
  • Vitamin C—Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, but it does affect the brain directly. It is responsible for building the myelin sheath that allows the nerves to communicate. Vitamin C partakes in manufacturing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
  • Vitamin D—Vitamin D is absorbed from both dietary sources and sunlight. Similar to vitamin C, vitamin D facilitates nerve growth. Experts claim vitamin D activates certain enzymes to produce neurotransmitters and reduce inflammation.
  • Vitamin E—Vitamin E is the main vitamin that combats neurodegeneration in the brain by reducing oxidative stress. When compounded with other vitamins, it improves memory and cognitive thinking processes.
  • Zinc—Deficiencies in zinc reflect issues with language and numbers. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have a zinc deficiency, which provides evidence that zinc aids in cognitive function.
  • Magnesium—Unrefined grains (i.e. buckwheat), green leafy vegetables, and nuts (i.e. almonds, cashews) are sources of magnesium. This deficiency is common in third-world countries and vegetarians.

Dietary Psychology: Can Your Diet Lower Your Risk of Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for neurodegenerative illnesses that cause impaired cognitive skills. Those with dementia experience memory loss, confusion, difficulties with language, and problem-solving abilities that inhibit normal daily functioning. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in April 2020’s edition of American Academy of Neurology, people who primarily eat snack foods (i.e. cookies, cakes), processed meats, and starchy foods such as potatoes have a higher risk of dementia than individuals who consume foods from a diverse range of food groups. Additionally, previous studies confirm that greater caloric intake is associated with Alzheimer’s.  

Abiding by dietary guidelines proposed by the Alzheimer’s Association is actually a treatment for the condition. Patients have an increase in memory and an overall reduction in the progression of the disease. Two diets are recommended to fight dementia:

  • DASH Diet—DASH stands for The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It promotes a diet to lower blood pressure, which reduces stress on the nervous system. Someone following the DASH diet is encouraged to reduce their intake of excessive amounts of sodium, fats, red meats, full-fat dairy products, sweets, sugary beverages and to consume lean meats (i.e. poultry, fish), whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
  • The Mediterranean Diet—The Mediterranean diet limits red meat, replaces butter with healthy alternatives and focuses on a diet of fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Fish and poultry are eaten twice weekly and spices replace salt.

Nutritional Psychology: Foods That Are Harmful To Your Brain

Much like a diet of fruits, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and seeds are healthy for the brain, there are many foods that have the opposite effect. The chemicals in the foods we eat are stored throughout the body, including the brain and nervous system.

Soft Drinks

Sugary soft drinks include high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. The inflammatory substance incorporated into our favorite beverages is known to impair memory. For example, high fructose corn syrup affects brain function because of it leads to insulin resistance. When the body is unable to bring blood glucose levels to normal ranges, the increase levels are damaging to the brain.

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are processed grains like white flour. They have a high glycemic index in which the body responds with a spike in blood sugar levels. Studies of the elderly population proved that the risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment is nearly doubled in the population who received over half of their dietary caloric intake from unhealthy carbohydrates. Whole, unrefined grains, fruits, and vegetables are healthier alternatives.

Trans Fats

While naturally occurring trans fats in meat and dairy products are not dangerous in controlled amounts, hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine, pre-packaged desserts, frosting, and shortening are foods hiding the brain’s silent killer. Synthetic trans fats are harmful to cognitive function, as well as cardiac health. It advances inflammation.

Artificial Sweeteners

“Sugar free” is not always the healthier option. Aspartame and artificial sweeteners are in sugar free products. Aspartame is made from the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. If aspartame is consumed, the body breaks it down into methanol which is toxic in large amounts.

Studies show artificial sweeteners provoke behavioral changes, depression, and learning difficulties. Participants consumed 11 mg of aspartame for every pound of body weight. After eight days, they scored lower on cognitive tests, were irritable, and had increased rates of depression in comparison to control subjects.

Alcohol

Alcohol impairs the way in which the brain communicates and decreases brain volume. Those who frequently consume alcohol typically develop a B vitamin deficiency, which is connected to poor cognitive transparent pharmacy functioning. While the majority of detrimental effects stem from episodes of binge drinking, it is recommended that young people avid alcohol because it interferes with brain development. Teenagers who drink are susceptible to risky behaviors and alcohol dependence into adulthood.

Nutritional Psychology: Which Diet Is Best For Your Brain?

So, what diet is best for your brain? Low carb, high carb, high fat, low fat, calorie restriction? Optimal eating habits are not any single diet. It is learning to be intuitive with your body’s nutritional needs, consuming a diet as colorful as the rainbow, and incorporating a variety of foods from all food groups. It is about establishing a balance that allows your body and brain to thrive.

References

American Academy of Neurology. (2020, April 22). Which foods do you eat together? How you combine them may raise dementia risk: Study finds ‘food networks’ centered on processed meats, starches may raise risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200422214038.htm

Harvard University. Protect your brain with “good fat.” Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/protect-your-brain-with-good-fat

Cognitive tests & brain training

Exit mobile version