Neuroscience Newsletter Archives
Here you will find all of my past newsletters organized by date [latest to oldest. Click here if you haven’t signed up.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody!
Boy, has it been too long since I have reached out, and I sincerely apologize. The end of 2018 was FULL of amazing yet intense work, education, curriculum development, and personal growth. Somehow, among all that I lost sight of how much I love creating these newsletters, and getting cutting-edge information out to you!
- The time spent practicing certain activities matters when it comes to improving Executive Functions (EFs) or not!
- The longer interventions are practiced, usually the better (40 minutes is usually better than 20 minutes, High Intensity is usually better than Low Intensity)
- Benefits gained in shorter periods of time are more likely to diminish once the intervention stops
- The improvement of EF’s depends upon how activities are conducted and presented
- Activities that are supported and maintain a set of beliefs that they will be effective increase their likeliness to actually be effect (a “coaching” placebo effect, perhaps)
- EF’s (and other cognitive functions) need to be continuously challenged in order to improve
- There must be lots of practice of what is not easy, but the activity must also be interesting!
- Those with the poorest EF’s make the most gains in EF’s after interventions
- Those with ADHD, TBI, mild cognitive impairment, mental illness, and those from lower socioeconomic status are more likely to see better results.
- This can be compared to those who are not fit getting better results from beginning a fitness program compared to those who are already fit
- Aerobic Training or Resistance Training Without Cognitive Components produce little-to-no improvements in EFs
- Activities that contain cognitive components seem to have much more profound effects on EFs when compared to those that do not.
- Tae-kwon-do > General PE
- Yoga > General Physical Activity
- Aerobic Training + Resistance Training + Hand-Eye (multi-component training) > General Aerobic Training
- Higher Doses of Sport Skills Training > Lower Doses of Sport Skills Training
- Combined Cognitive Training + Physical Exercise > Exercise Training Alone
- Results and mechanisms demonstrating changes in EFs (or not) are not always obvious, are sometimes counter-intuitive
- We do not yet know enough about the brain, cognitive functions, and how they are affected by so many variables of exercise and cognitive interventions!
- Stress, sadness, loneliness, poor sleep and poor physical health ALL impair EF’s
- The opposite of these (stress management, socialization, good sleep, and good physical health) are critical aspects of cognitive health
- These should always be coached in addition to intervening with combined cognitive + physical interventions
- Tai Chi Practitioners Have Superior Dual-Tasking Abilities : Tai Chi has been found to have beneficial outcomes for physiological, cognitive, and emotional outcomes. This study found that older adults going up stairs in a dual-tasking condition (doing two things at once), had more issues with function and increased fall risk when compared to Tai Chi practitioners of the same demographic. The Tai Chi group had “superior bodily stability” during the task, therefore significantly decreasing fall risk.
The questions is, why? Does Tai Chi allow a better allocation of resources of attention? Some studies are conflicting regarding these mechanisms, and the most convincing hypothesis is that those who engage in Tai Chi develop better movement strategies and elicit better motor control. This goes to show that movements that mimic Tai Chi may have similar effects; slow, intentional movements should be integrated even outside of a Tai Chi – specific program to potentially reap these benefits. Perhaps if Tai Chi was combined with dual-tasking conditions in training, there may even be an opportunity to maximize the cognitive benefits of Tai Chi – like movements even more
- The Effects of Acute Exercise of Brain Physiology, Cognition and Neurochemistry : This article provides a comprehensive, in-depth view on the effects of acute (short-term) exercise on neurophysiology, cognition and mood. This is a pretty heavy article, BUT I have included a graphic that the researchers included for an easier point-of-reference to understand all of these interesting mechanisms! I suggest opening the image within the link itself for the ability to zoom in!
If you have any suggestion, comments, or requests, please do not hesitate to reach out. And remember to pass this on to your friends, family, colleagues and clients if you think they would benefit! You can share this email, and have them sign up here!