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Study Finds Good Reason to Keep Having Sex Over 50 – Newser


Newser
Study Finds Good Reason to Keep Having Sex Over 50
Newser
For older people for whom sex isn't an option for whatever reason, the Toronto Sun reports exercise, managing blood pressure, and some brain games have been shown to help maintain brain function. (Two ways video games affect a man's sex drive.).

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Study Finds Good Reason to Keep Having Sex Over 50 – Newser

Library link – So Md News (subscription)

Twin Beaches branch

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 27, at the Northeast Community Center. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer storytime will be held from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, June 28, at the North Beach boardwalk behind the visitor center. These themed storytimes are for families with children of multiple ages and take place at different venues throughout the summer.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

MakePlayLearn will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29. The library will provide Legos and other building materials.

Fairview branch

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 2 to 3 p.m.. Tuesday, June 27, at Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

Prince Frederick branch

On Pins and Needles will meet from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 23. Bring your quilting, needlework, knitting, crocheting or other project for an afternoon of conversation and shared creativity.

Garden Smarter will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 24. Participants will learn to plant a food forest that is modeled after a forest ecosystem.

Construction Zone will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 24. The family can explore the librarys building sets.

Monday Morning Fun will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, June 26. The event includes dancing, stories, movies and fun.

Brain games will be held from 10 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Games will include Scrabble and Mahjongg. Register by calling 410-535-0291.

MakePlayLearn will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Children can drop by to play games, make crafts and art projects.

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

On Pins and Needles will meet from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, June 30. Bring your quilting, needlework, knitting, crocheting or other project for an afternoon of conversation and shared creativity.

Southern branch

Flying Needles will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 27. This knitting, crocheting and portable crafting group is open to anyone wanting to join in and share talents, crafting time or learn a new skill.

Summer Fun Performance will be held from 10 to 10:45 a.m.. Wednesday, June 28, at the Patuxent Appeal Campus Appeal building. Barry Louis Polisar will perform in a show that is best for ages 5 and up.

Summer STEAM will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. There will be stories, activities and a snack.

Song Circle/Jam Session will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Singer-musicians can trade songs and take turns in choosing and leading a group of musicians. A range of playing abilities and experience can be expected. The public is welcome to participate or observe.

MakePlayLearn will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, June 29. The library will provide Legos and other building materials.

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Library link – So Md News (subscription)

Senior Center News: June 22 – The Wilton Bulletin

Senior center program director Liz Doty leads a studio knitting class second and fourth Tuesday of the month beginning at 1.

Ever wanted to learn how to knit? This summer you have that golden opportunity and right in your own backyard. Studio knitting, defined as come and do your own thing, takes place on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month beginning at 1 at the senior center. Its an opportunity to grab those needles and yarn and start creating something from scratch. Various articles talk about how knitting relieves stress, slows cognitive diseases, improves motor function, eases anxiety, or boosts your memory. This may well be the case since these claims are preceded by studies have shown Or the benefits of knitting may well be a result of the laughing and camaraderie generated by participating in a common activity. Whatever the case, youre welcome to give it a try at the senior center. Contact Lizabeth Doty at 203-834-6240 for a pre-knitting consultation.

Sharpen your road skills and bring your driving knowledge up to date with the AAA Driver Improvement Program on Saturday, June 24, 8:30 to 12:30, at the Comstock Community Center. It is taught by Sgt. David Hartman of the Wilton Police Department.

Drivers 60 years and older who complete this course may qualify for a minimum 5% discount on their car insurance. Check with your insurer for details.

Register online by visiting aaa.com/driverimprovement or call AAA at 203-937-2595, ext. 8363 for more information.

Pharmacist Diane Corba will present a skin cancer prevention talk on Tuesday, June 27, 3 p.m., in the senior center lounge. Learn how to reduce your risk of skin cancer at any age by using good sun protection. The program is sponsored by Stay at Home in Wilton. It is free and open to the public.

Exercising your brain is a way to keep it sharp, but it cant do pushups. It can, however, play a game by solving riddles, trivia, and word puzzles.

Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center and The Greens at Cannondale will treat seniors to lunch and brain games that are fun and an effective way to improve brain health. Thursday, June 29, noon, at the senior center. Call 203-834-6240 for reservations.

Friday, June 23, 10, Feldenkrais with Cathy Paine; 12, Bridge with Eleanor Mihailidis; 1:30, Intermediate Bridge with Michael Hess; 1:30, Free swim at the Wilton Y.

Monday, June 26, 10:30, Line Dance Fusion with Beatriz Araujo; 12, Movie; 1, Bridge.

Tuesday, June 27, 9:45, BeMoved with Phyllis Hirschfield; 10, Oil and Acrylics with Althea Ericksson; 11, Yoga with Denise OHearn; 12:30, Mah Jongg with Kay Chann; 1, Studio Knitting with Lizabeth Doty; 2, Chair Yoga at Ogden House; 3, Stay at Home in Wilton presents Connecticut pharmacist, Diane Corba, on skin cancer prevention.

Wednesday, June 28, 10, Open Bridge with Michael Hess; 10:30, Tai Chi with Joe Alampi; 1, Mah Jongg.

Thursday, June 29, 10, Yoga with Denise OHearn; 12, Lunch and Brain Games compliments of the Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows at the Senior Center.

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Senior Center News: June 22 – The Wilton Bulletin

Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study – Toronto Sun


Toronto Sun
Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study
Toronto Sun
Brain training is not merely brain games on your computer, said neuroscientist Alan Leshner, chairman of the National Academies committee. The committee isn't backing those costly computer-based programs. Indeed, the U.S. government fined one brain …

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Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study – Toronto Sun

How to Keep your Brain Sharp – HuffPost

By Steven N. Austad, PhD – Scientific Director, American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), Distinguished Professorand Chair, Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

How many animals whose name begins with the letter P can you name in 60 seconds?

Lets see, parrot, piranha, pika, panda, python, panther.You probably have no idea how many you can name in 60 seconds, but I can give you a clue. Assuming you are at least 30 years old, the number of animals you can name is smaller than it would have been 10 years ago. Thats because your brains processing speed has slowed. If given enough time, you could no doubt come up with as many animals as ever, maybe more. It just takes more time. This is a type of brain aging that begins particularly early. But as we all know certain types of memory lapses also increase as we age. They just become evident later in life.

We all understandably fear Alzheimers disease, which is caused largely by aging, and a great deal of research effort is going into discovering ways to prevent or delay it. But shouldnt we also be putting research effort into ways to prevent or delay the normal loss of processing speed and memory decline that accompanies aging?

In fact, some researchers are doing exactly that.

A recent conference sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the McKnight Brain Institute brought together neuroscientists who work at the cutting edge of Alzheimers disease and normal brain aging. I attended that conference and have some good news to report.

Most importantly, it is becoming clear that lifestyle can affect brain aging for better or worse. Aerobic exercise turns out to be almost a miracle drug for preserving brain health. For years, we have heard of all the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, but now it turns out to have benefits for the brain too. This heartening finding comes not from a single study single studies often turn out to be wrong but from a wide range of studies in both humans and animals. Its the sort of finding you can take to the bank.

Some other good news is that new types of braining training are being developed that can actually help preserve both memory and processing speed. I know that various commercially available brain games claim to be able to do this now, but researchers at the conference were pretty unanimous that there is vanishingly little evidence to support these claims. However, new research using sophisticated tools such as virtual reality games and other advanced training methods combined with state-of-the-art brain imaging to see how and where the brain is activated by various types of training have already begun to show improved memory as a result of the training. Rapid advances can be expected in this realm.

As Scientific Director of the American Federation for Aging Research, Im excited to see the creativity our grantees have brought to their research on memory and aging. Take Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, at UCSF, whose research on how gaming can maintain memory as we grow older has been featured in The New York Times and even a PBS special. And Scott Small, MD of Columbia University is looking at how exercise may prevent memory loss.

Finally, researchers are beginning to learn a lot from studies like Rush Universitys Memory and Aging Project, in which people volunteer to have their mental abilities evaluated over time while they are alive but have also agreed to have their brains examined after they die. One of the things we have learned from these studies is that particularly among the very oldest groups, those reaching at least the age of 90 (which incidentally more than a quarter of Americans now do), some have all the brain damage we typically associate with Alzheimers disease, but were mentally sharp up until the time they died. We clearly have a lot to learn about preserving brain function from studying what aspects of these peoples lives have made them so resistant to age-related brain damage. The early evidence indicates that education plays a large role, as does sleeping more, and watching television less.

From playing a science-backed brain game to getting a good nights rest, science is showing what you can do to stay sharp as you grow older. Go make some memories.

The Morning Email

Wake up to the day’s most important news.

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How to Keep your Brain Sharp – HuffPost

Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but … – TechCrunch

The U.S. is leading the world in mobile gaming, accounting for 20 percent of all sessions played. Thats the word from a new industry report on the mobile gaming landscape, released this week from Flurry. That puts the U.S. ahead of markets including India, China, Brazil and Russia, it found. However, gaming sessions are dropping, even as the money to be made in games climbs, and the total time spent gaming remains largely unchanged.

According to the report, mobile gaming sessions are down 10 percent year-over-year. Thats even with the outsized hits like Pokmon Go gobbling up huge chunks of users time and attention.

This is not the first time Flurry has spotted a decline in gaming. In January, the firm reported it had seen a 4 percent drop in terms of the time spent in games (which is different from sessions, aka individual app launches). Meanwhile, messaging and social apps saw a 394 percent increase in time spent, Flurry had said.

Its also the second year in a row that gaming sessions have fallen year-over-year. This signals, perhaps, the ephemeral nature of mobile games, and the industrys reliance on addictive hits.

But it mainly speaks to specific declines in particular gaming categories. Three years ago, arcade, casual and brain games drove 55 percent of all sessions. In the time since, there have been substantial declines in both arcade and casual games, says Flurry. For example, arcade games accounted for 24 percent of all gaming sessions in 2014 a figure thats now decreased by 34 percent. And casual gaming sessions are down by 50 percent.

These two drops alone accounted for the overall downturn in gaming sessions, and no other gaming category stepped in to pick up the losses.

However, its not all bad news for mobile games. Though sessions may be down, the time spent in mobile games is largely unchanged its up by 1 percent over last year. That means users are participating in fewer, but just slightly longer gaming sessions than in the past.

Flurry didnt theorize why this could be, but its possible the Pokmon effect is one factor here, as is the fact that games themselves have matured. While there are still plenty of quickly played, disposable titles to be found, the App Store today also features beautifully made, more immersive games like Monument Valley 2, for example, which Apple itself even promoted during its WWDC event this month.

In the U.S., the average consumer is now spending 33 minutes per day in mobile games, with sessions that have increased to 7 minutes, 6 seconds this year, up from 6 minutes, 22 seconds in 2016. This is a big jump sessions never exceeded 6 minutes in either 2014 or 2015.

The gaming industry has also grown more diverse over the years. Sessions today are spread out across a large number of app categories. For example, card and casino games now account for 15 percent of all sessions, up 22 percent since 2014. Board and strategy games grew 29 percent since last year, and sessions are up 80 percent since 2014. And racing games grew 26 percent year-over-year, increasing its game app session share to 2.1 percent in 2017.

The full report digs into other trends as well like how tablets lead to longer average session times of 10 minutes, for instance, or when games tend to be played. Not surprisingly, mobile games on smartphones are popular during morning commutes, while tablets are more popular for on-the-couch gaming in evenings.

Gaming revenue is also still a bright spot. Flurry cited Sensor Towers recent report of a 53 percent year-over-year growth in revenue across iOS and Android,from $7.8 billion in Q1 2016 to $11.9 billion in Q1 2017, which it attributed to popular titles in Japan and China. In addition, download to revenue conversion is up 38 percent from January 2016 to January 2017, Sensor Tower had said.

That means the mobile gaming industry hold promise for developers looking to generate revenue. Meanwhile, future trends like VR or AR the latter aided by Apples release of ARKit could drive mobile gaming forward for years to come.

*Disclosure: Flurry is owned by Yahoo, which has been acquired by TechCrunchs parent company, Verizon.

Image credits: charts/graphs Flurry; mobile games Sensor Tower

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Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but … – TechCrunch

Doing puzzles and playing brain games won’t make you smarter – Star2.com

Brain games such as puzzles, teasers, riddles, crosswords, and quizzes are marketed as easy and effective ways to expand your mind and increase intelligence.

Many of us play these games in the hopes that they will sharpen our memory and improve our brain function.

Unfortunately, brain games do not make us smarter.

According to Dr Kin-Lun Tsang, a specialist in neurology at Hong Kongs Matilda International Hospital on The Peak, at best they provide mental stimulation.

There is little evidence that playing brain games improves [ones] underlying broad cognitive abilities or that it enables one to better navigate [the] complex realm of everyday life, Dr Tsang says.

Its a controversial subject, says Lydia Yee, assistant professor at the department of psychology at the Education University of Hong Kong. The brain is made up of cells called neurons, she says.

Your cognitive abilities are getting a major boost from playing mind puzzles.

Neurons are not physically connected to each other. Instead, there is a gap, known as the synapse, between them. When neurons communicate with each other, they release chemicals called neurotransmitters that cross the synapse to transmit signals from one neuron to the next.

During learning, a couple of processes could occur, she says.

First, neurons might undergo a process called long-term potentiation. When this happens, existing connections between neurons are strengthened, meaning that neurons now react to incoming signals with a larger or quicker response.

Secondly, neurons might also form new connections with each other via what is called dendritic spine growth. The receiving end of neurons is made up of a number of antenna-like structures called dendrites.

When these dendrites grow spines they increase the surface area of the dendrites, meaning that there are functionally more antennae (or a greater antenna surface) that allows more neurons to connect to this neuron.

Whenever learning occurs as a result of playing brain games, learning a new language or a new musical instrument, for instance, neural connections in the brain network that are responsible for that task will be strengthened.

While studies show that training improves performance at a particular task, Yee says that the amount of training, the duration of training and the duration of the effects, all vary between studies.

Another question is whether training for a certain task can be beneficial in similar tasks that presumably require similar cognitive processes, she adds.

Its been found that the benefit is restricted to the particular task that is trained for. For example, you may become better at solving this particular kind of puzzle, but evidence does not support the idea that you can become better at solving puzzles in general, never mind the even bolder claims about boosting general cognitive ability that we sometimes read about.

Yee says that puzzles are far removed from real-world tasks, and studies have found limited evidence that a meaningful amount of transfer can occur from lab-designed games to real-world situations. South China Morning Post/Sasha Gonzales

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Doing puzzles and playing brain games won’t make you smarter – Star2.com

Brain Power – BQ Live

Susanne Mitschke looks much younger than 27 but when she starts talking about MindMate, a free app designed and developed in Glasgow to help people affected by dementia live more independent lives, she exudes a maturity beyond her years. Dementia is a serious subject and one the award-winning entrepreneur wants to see more widely discussed.

Mitschke, MindMates German-born chief executive, and her co-founders Rogelio Arellano, 29, from Mexico and Patrick Renner, 27, also from Germany all graduates from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde are quietly focused and ambitious.

The fact the app already has more than 150,000 monthly active users and is ranked in 17 countries as the number one health app in Apples store is remarkable given it was only launched last September. It has also claimed a clutch of prestigious awards.

Mindmate won last years much-lauded Converge Challenge, the business creation competition open to staff, students and recent graduates from Scotlands universities and research institutions. The fledgling company won 30,000 in cash and 14,000 in business support, sharing the top prize with Edinburgh-based MicroSense Technologies, a company that has developed a sensor system aimed at reducing waste in the food and drink industry.

Last summer, Mitschke and her co-founders won a place on Techstars, billed as the worlds top tech accelerator programme, in New York. MindMate was one of only 15 early-stage companies selected for the renowned scheme, which saw the team spend three months receiving mentoring from some of the tech worlds leading entrepreneurs.

According to Techstars, more than 90% of firms accepted onto the programme go on to receive more than US$2m in follow-on funding. Techstars really opened our eyes to what is possible, says Mitschke. We are building a global brand and an international product so exposure to the great contacts we made during our time on the programme was invaluable and has helped us fast-track our entry in the United States market.

With 850,000 people in the UK suffering from dementia and numbers set to increase to more than one million by 2025, its certainly time to talk about the disease for which there is currently no cure. According to the Alzheimers Society, one in six people over the age of 80 have dementia and there are more than 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK. Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting 62% of those diagnosed.

The facts and the figures are stark, says Mitschke, who studied business and economics in Vienna before completing a masters degree in international management and leadership at the University of Glasgow. In the US, there are more than five million people suffering from dementia. Its a very cruel disease that affects families and carers too and it was our own different experiences of cognitive decline that led us to develop MindMate.

While Renner, the companys chief operations officer, had experience of working in the care system in Germany and Mitschke developed expertise in both digital health and Alzheimers, Arellanos association with the disease is particularly close to home his grandfather had the condition and he helped care for him for seven years, witnessing first-hand the everyday struggles not just of his grandfather but his family.

We had a whiteboard on the wall with family pictures on it to help my grandfather remember who everyone was, explains MindMates chief technical officer. He would sometimes forget who I was, or confuse me with my father. It was very difficult for all of us. He would see that board every time he went into the kitchen and there would be sticky notes reminding him to take pills or eat breakfast that type of thing.

So, we thought if we could put all these prompts into an app and make it interactive with games, reminders things like that it could be such a valuable tool in stimulating peoples minds and helping them stay active. We didnt have anything like that to help my grandfather.

The trio, which founded the company and started developing its app two years ago, carried out market research and found that, while there were several apps designed to help people with memory loss, there wasnt one that provided a one-stop shop solution in a user-friendly way that was also intuitive and medically backed. Thats our point of difference, Mitschke points out. But, in particular, we were determined it had to be easy to use.

MindMate has several features, including interactive games to stimulate a users cognitive abilities, as well as chat and video functions to help family and carers keep in touch with dementia sufferers. People suffering from dementia can be very lonely and confused, says Mitschke, and this leads to isolation.

We describe MindMate as a guardian angel, a friend who is always there to help you by giving you everything you need at your fingertips. Other apps provide brain games or advice on nutrition and exercise but if you are struggling with memory loss and are using several apps for different things and maybe Spotify for music then it can be overwhelming.

With MindMate, you dont have to use different apps for music, games, photographs and so on because you can access it all on our interface. Its an empowering tool because it helps people manage their lives without having to rely on family, friends or carers all the time it increases their quality of life and that of the people around them.

One of its many features is a My Story area that allows users to store happy memories photographs of family, friends and pets, for example. Click on the music button and theres a host of great tunes going back to the 1930s. There are also healthy recipes, games designed to improve your brain health and exercise workouts. Reminders to help manage hospital appointments, to-do lists and a notes section are also invaluable tools for people with early-stage memory loss.

While MindMate is targeted predominately at the baby-boomer generation who like the convenience of having everything they need in the one app, it has wider appeal because everyones brain health can be boosted by keeping the mind active. Its benefits have also been recognised by the National Health Service, which became its first paying customer after NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde bought the care home version of the app to run on iPads following a two-month trial with a post-diagnosis dementia support group.

MindMate is currently based at the University of Glasgows Thomson Building in the citys leafy West End, but would Mitschke be tempted to relocate from Scotland and the UK in light of Brexit and the wider political uncertainty? Absolutely not, she states emphatically. Scotland is the best place to start a business, she believes, pointing to the early support from Enterprise Campus West, linked to the University of Strathclyde. In Germany, for example, it is very difficult if you dont have loads of cash but theres excellent support in Scotland for start-ups and its also easy to recruit because of all the talent coming out the universities, and cheaper.

Scotlands very innovative when it comes to encouraging start-ups the University of Glasgow has supported us with premises for two years, which has allowed us to get on with developing the business, she adds. There are very high levels of collaboration and that encourages you to think beyond your own ideas and consider going in directions you hadnt previously thought of.

Mitschke also points to the many inspiring people here who have started from very small beginnings and now run global organisations. Many Scottish businesses are very well respected around the world and that opens doors, she says. The trios time spent in the US, meanwhile, taught them to be more confident about scaling up. Theres such a can-do attitude there, says Mitschke. The people are so enthusiastic and that helps you believe in yourself and your capabilities. After Techstars we felt that anything was possible.

Having already raised funding of 1m, Mitschke, Arellano and Renner make no apology for their lofty ambitions. Were a high-growth business and we want to see a MindMate app on the iPhone or iPad of every 60-plus person in the world, says Mitschke. Were collecting a massive amount of data on people who have dementia and Alzheimers and the number of sufferers is going to double until 2050.

People are getting older and living longer so we shouldnt be surprised, she says. Its not just dementia sufferers our apps can help older people also need help to live independently and there are people who have been ill and still want to live at home but need help. Thats where we see MindMate developing in the future.

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Brain Power – BQ Live

You Asked: How Can I Use More of My Brain? – TIME

Its a myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. That idea is not only inaccurate, it doesnt make any sense, says Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Even the simplest behaviors engage much of our brain.”

But while that old 10% dictum is bogus, its true that many of us have some untapped reserves of mental acuity that, if harnessed, could sharpen our powers of insight and analysis. The key to accessing those reserves, Miller says, is to stay focused. The main thing that impedes our cognition is distraction.”

Distractions are powerful drains on the brain’s ability to focus, and one of the best ways to get more from your mind is to give yourself the gift of uninterrupted stretches of time.

Think of your mind as a muscle that can be strengthened with exercise. But the latest science suggests that “exercise” doesn’t mean app-based brain games or activities like Sudoku, but bouts of prolonged, uninterrupted concentration, Miller says. Put simply, a distracted brain is a dumb brain. Unfortunately, our brains are curious and are always interested in whats going on around us, so its very hard to ignore all that and to stay focused.”

Distractions are ubiquitous, popping up as email alerts, text messages and social network updates. People think that they can multitask and check these things without losing their focus, but we have lots of studies showing that task-switching leads to mistakes and back-tracking, and that it wastes a lot of time, Miller says. And all of these interruptions seem to be getting in the way of more creative, profound insights. When your brain is bombarded by distraction, your thoughts are more superficial, and youre not getting as far down that path to where new ideas emerge.”

Other experts agree. Switching between tasks can result in a phenomenon called attention residue, according to the work of Sophie Leroy, assistant professor of business at the University of Washington. When you ask your brain to quickly shift from one task to another, it struggles to cleanly discard the first and move on to the next. Lets say I work on a project right up until I have a meeting, she says. I may be at the meeting, but my brain is still trying to find closure on that project I was working on, so questions and ruminations about that project are interfering with my ability to concentrate.

The more tasks you ask your brain to perform in a short period of time, the more that cognitive clutter accumulates, and the more your performance declines. Calvin Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and author of the book Deep Work, puts that performance decline in real-world terms. Anecdotally, it seems like most people experience a 50% drop in productivity and cognitive capacity when in a state of distraction, he says. And even though a quick peek at your inbox or social feed only takes a second, “the duration of those checks does not correlate to the magnitude of the distraction, Newport says.

MORE : Are My Devices Messing With My Brain?

Newport realized just how much those quick checks were tanking his brains performance when he wrote his last book. In an effort to be more productive, he started scheduling blocks of time to check his phone or email, while committing the rest of his day solely to his book or his research duties as an academic. I should have had less time for my usual work because I was also researching and writing this book, he says. But the number of peer-reviewed papers I published that year went up by a factor of two.

One of the best ways to sharpen your focusand therefore enhance your brainpoweris to schedule this sort of uninterrupted time to focus on the cognitive tasks that matter to you. Its not uncommon for people who do this to talk about their productivity increasing, Newport says. Research suggests that meditation may be another way to strengthen your brains ability to concentrate.

It’s also important to complete one mental task before moving on to another. If you have a meeting at 11, most of us will work until 10:59 and then rush to the meeting, Leroy says. That doesnt give the brain time to figure out what its accomplished or what else needs to be done, and so theres no closure. Your brain needs that closure, she says, in order to transition effectively to its next chore.

MORE : Cell-Phone Distracted Parenting Can Have Long-Term Consequences

She recommends taking some time between mental taskseven a minute or twoto consider the work your brain just performed. “Write down where you are and what you want to do when you return to the task, she says. In one of her experiments, people who followed this protocol improved their performance on a decision-making test by 79%, compared to people who hadnt taken any time to collect their thoughts between tasks.

Another simple-soundingyet challengingrecommendation is to inject more boredom into your life. Dont pull out the phone when standing in line, and if youre sitting alone somewhere, try it without looking at a screen, Newport says. Most of us need these breaks if we hope to stay focused on anything for longer than a few minutes. The brain has to be comfortable not getting some shiny new stimuli from a device every few seconds,” he says.

Indeed, a little digital break goes a long way. I think being connected all the time is a lot like sugar: its easy for us to get accustomed to it and to want more, Leroy says. If youve been spending a lot of time multitasking, its going to take time to teach your brain to maintain focused attention.”

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You Asked: How Can I Use More of My Brain? – TIME

Chicago Fights Summer ‘Brain Drain’ With Superhero Science – Chicago Tonight | WTTW


Chicago Tonight | WTTW
Chicago Fights Summer 'Brain Drain' With Superhero Science
Chicago Tonight | WTTW
With the end of the school year just weeks away, the Museum of Science and Industry is calling on Chicago's kid superheroes to unite and defeat summer's top villain: the evil Dr. Brain Drain. For the sixth straight year, MSI's Summer Brain Games

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Chicago Fights Summer ‘Brain Drain’ With Superhero Science – Chicago Tonight | WTTW


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