From The Sunday Times August 26,
Top scientist backs workout for the brain
Baroness promotes computer games claimed to curb mental
By Jonathan Leake, Science Editor
Baroness Susan Greenfield, the neuroscientist, is to
launch an exercise programme for the brain that she
claims is proven to reverse the mental decline associated
Greenfield, who is also director of the Royal Institution,
maintains that Britain’s baby-boomers are discovering
that concentrating on physical fitness is no longer
sufficient preparation for old age.
What concerns me is preserving the brain too,” she
said. “There is now good scientific evidence
to show that exercising the brain can slow, delay and
protect against age-related decline."
Greenfield will launch MindFit, a PC-based software
program, at the House of Lords next month, for the “worried
but well” - people in their middle years who
are healthy and want to stay that way.
Created by researchers in Israel and already on sale
in America, it offers users inter-active puzzles and
tasks that are claimed to stimulate the brain just
as using a gym exercises the body’s muscles.
There is evidence that such stimulation prompts brain
cells to start branching out and form new connections
with other cells," said Greenfield.
The baroness’s decision to lend her name to MindFit
and to take a significant stake in Mind-Weavers, the
company promoting it, could raise eyebrows among fellow
scientists. Her high profile in the media has rankled
with some and she was twice snubbed by the Royal Society.
The idea that the performance of the brain can be improved
by exercises or potions has a long and controversial
There have also been scientific battles over the claims
made for dietary supplements, especially fish oils,
and so-called smart drugs. The latter have been shown
to cause a short-term increase in IQ but the long-term
secondary effects are unknown.
Greenfield’s decision to promote MindFit, which
will retail for around £70, follows the release
of new scientific research apparently showing clear
In the latest research, conducted at the Sourasky Medical
Centre at Tel Aviv University in Israel, 121 volunteers
aged over 50 were asked to spend 30 minutes, three
times a week, on the computer, over a period of two
Half were assigned to use MindFit and the other half
played sophisticated computer games. The results, released
at a recent academic conference and due for formal
publication shortly, showed that while all the volunteers
benefited from using computer games, the MindFit users “experienced
significantly greater improvement in short-term memory,
visuo-spatial learning and focused attention”.
Greenfield, who also runs an Oxford University laboratory
researching the causes of degenerative brain diseases
such as Alzheimer’s, found out about MindFit
through her extensive links with Israel and decided
to bring it to Britain.
It is clear that there is no drug on the horizon to
treat Alzheimer’s or age-related mental decline
so I have long been interested in seeing whether stimulating
the brain might offer a way of Greenfield is launching
a program designed in Israel. Kidman, left, is the
new face of Nintendo, which already sells Brain Training
games slowing down these changes," she said.
Other researchers are also convinced that people can
rejuvenate their brain with exercise. Ryuta Kawashima,
professor of neuroscience at Tohoku University in Japan,
spent 15 years investigating how mental exertion helps
the brain grow.
His work became the basis of the Brain Training and
More Brain Training computer games, produced by Nintendo,
the console manufacturer. Nicole Kidman, the actress,
fronts its latest British advertising campaign.
Nintendo itself makes no formal scientific claims for
the programs but Kawashima said in a recent book: “My
brain exercises increase the delivery of oxygen, blood
and various amino acids to the prefrontal cortex. The
result is more neurons and neural connections, which
are characteristics of a healthy brain.”
Other researchers accept such ideas in principle but
warn that any system claiming to boost mental ability
must prove itself in clinical trials.
Times Newspapers Ltd.
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New Study Released: MindFit
Windows Software Systematically Trains Your Brain for
Increased Mental Vitality
You're serious about exercising
and keeping your body in top shape. You owe it
to yourself to keep your brain healthy and vital
as well. MindFit brain training software has
been scientifically designed for the mature population,
as well as for people of all ages, to help strengthen
brain function and slow cognitive loss. Our software
uses individually designed fun exercises that
will help improve your short-term memory, reaction
times, memory recall, eye-hand coordination and
Thousands of users are using MindFit program
to improve their brain health and their lives.
You should too
A great new brain-fitness program
has just been released! MindFit software turns
your PC into a "fitness room" for your
brain. With just 20 minutes a day 3 times a week,
you will experience increased mental vitality
and enhanced abilities in many areas of thinking.
Mindfit begins by measuring your mental abilities
on a wide range of important cognitive skills.
Using the results as a baseline, the program
creates a personalized training program designed
to increase your brain power
The programming behind these personalized training
programs was developed by an eminent psychologist
and uses an innovative patented technology. Because
no two people are alike, each training sessions
is uniquely your own.
was very apprehensive about the program. I was
afraid it would be something of an IQ test and
that I might feel really stupid. But the program
is nothing like that at all. The exercises are
fun. I've only completed the first one, and I'm
anxious to start the second one. I'm confident
that my memory and attention will improve. My
mother has Alzheimer's. I'm hoping MindFit will
prevent or, at the very least, delay a decline
in my cognitive skills.
The results of the training program are increased
mental vitality. Your brain gets enhanced in
areas of mental ability which include visual
search, time estimation, naming, categorization,
visual short term memory, auditory short term
memory, location memory, spatial orientation,
planning, ability to inhibit planned action,
speed of reaction and hand-eye coordination and
Our impressions while using this software is
that it is a system that "learns" about
you through your performance, customizes your
training schedule, and responds to your performance
both during and at the end of your training.
Here is an excerpt from a report of the a new
experimental study done with Mindfit:
NEW YORK and YOQNEAM, Israel, March 16- For
the first time, a double-blind clinical trial
has shown that computer-based training improves
the cognitive functions of the 50-plus crowd.
Against conventional wisdom, the computer training
in MindFit cognitive skill assessment and training
software, created by CogniFit, Ltd. was found
to improve short-term memory, spatial relations
and attention focus--all skills used in driving
and other daily activities that maintain our
independence as we age.
These research findings show unequivocally that
MindFit, which requires no previous computer
experience of users, keeps minds sharper than
other computer games and software can," said
Prof. Shlomo Breznitz, Ph.D., founder and president
of CogniFit. "In fact, the same cognitive
domains that MindFit keeps sharp are also central
in most daily activities-including driving-that
enable aging independently.
|Breznitz continued, "These findings support
CogniFit's belief that if you exercise your brain
just as you do your muscles, you can build the
speed and accuracy of your mental functions, significantly.
'Working out' with MindFit three times a week from
the comfort of your home will yield similar results
for your brain as exercising at the gym with that
same frequency does for your muscles.
not sure I have the words to express my appreciation
for this program.
I am 45 years old and have dementia. I know what
I was capable of doing almost 3 years ago and know
that I cannot do a fraction of the same tasks now.
After doing the program's evaluation, I
was shocked with the tasks that I was finding
difficult to do. As I am doing my daily lessons,
I can see how I did compared to the last time
I did it.
To me, this program is invaluable! I am
so grateful to have it. I can now do the lessons
to keep my brain functioning, measure how I
am doing and measure the rate at which my condition
I would recommend this program to anyone
to keep their mind more fit as well as to anyone
and everyone with any type of dementia or brain
Here are some three demos that feature
a few of MindFits training programs>
The "Inside and Outside"
|Task trains your ability to divide your attention
between two or more visual stimuli. In daily life
we normally manage several attention channels simultaneously.
As we drive, for example, aside from handling the
car, we pay attention to the road and traffic conditions,
we usually also listen to the radio and talk with
our companions (or on the mobile phone). When watching
TV, we listen and watch, converse, think and react.
The "Inside and Outside" task focuses
on improving an individual’s divided attention
skills Visit this link for the demo
|"The "Two in One" Task trains
your ability to perform two tasks simultaneously.
In daily life we are often required to carry out
more than one assignment at a time. A typist reads
and types simultaneously and tries to do both tasks
as accurately as possible. A driver needs to look
in the mirror while driving backwards. We often
answer the phone while we continue doing our ongoing
duties. The 'Two In One' task exercises the ability
to perform such tasks quickly and accurately.
The software is designed by a eminent psychologist
to create individualized training programs covering
a wide range of the most important cognitive skills.
It is easy-to-use, mentally stimulating, and very
effective. MindFit could turn out to be the key
to your mental vitality-
|The "Picasso" Task trains visual short
term memory as well as synthesis ability- the ability
to rebuild a pattern from given parts. In daily
life, we often have separate elements that we need
to combine into a pattern. For example, when we
assemble a new device, cook something by following
a recipe, or build something from a kit, we need
to join different bits of information in a logical
way. The “Picasso” task focuses on
improving an individual’s ability to synthesize
have now installed it and I really enjoy doing
these exercises. They seem simple and yet difficult
at the same time, but really keep you alert.
I do enjoy them greatly.
$NZ169.95 aprox $US129.95
(Courier shipping details
in shopping cart check out)
normal post $20.00