Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three Things Can Build a Better Brain: Doh!

So you want to be a smart cookie, huh?  Want to give up your "Homer Simpson" brain?  I have just the thing you need.  Check this out!  
A recent article in Newsweek reviewed the research on whether we can improve the way our brain works. They pointed out a lot of research has been done and most of the research has actually proven that the therapies studied don’t do any good - Omega 3, Vitamins B6, B12, flavenoids, etc. It is helpful to remember that the brain is very complex. In learning about the brain it is helpful to think about the different functions of the brain –short-term memory, cognition, fine motor skills, creativity, attention, abstract thought, and reasoning. The article said there are three things that have been shown to improve these areas of the brain. The first two are exercise and meditation. Exercise can actually help your brain grow new neurons in the memory areas. Meditation increases the size of some of the areas of the brain that control attention. The most interesting piece of research is that the third thing that can improve brain function is some video games. Video games require motor control, problem solving, hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking, working memory, creativity, and reasoning.

This makes me feel a little better about watching my kids play video games. But I still wish they would do their homework first!

- Dr. Peter R. Coleman

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