What brain exercises improve brain functions based on facts

  • Thread starter timeuser84
  • Start date
  • #1
38
2

Summary:

About brain exercises

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi, there. I couldn't find much information about this on the net so I came here to ask if anyone here knows as I thought it would be the right forum or maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough. Please not that I don't mean skills but rather what actually works that improves brain functions like increasing memory or what works based on peer review, science, facts, evidence and the latest research? Does any of these brain exercises improve any brain functions? and what brain functions Do they improve?

1. rubix cube 2. indian finger touching 3. playing mindcraft 4. the classic pc game called exiled 5. playing tetris 6. interpreting irrationality or irrational language
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
chemisttree
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,434
463
Read this. The NIH ACTIVE Study correlates mental stimulation with maintaining cognitive health. Kind of close to what you are after?
 
  • Informative
Likes berkeman
  • #3
maintaining
That's the annoying bit about science. We want to improve our functions, not just maintain our adult-level functions at old age. It's a fact that Einstein's brain is wired to be much more capable than the average Joe, so how do we rewire Joe's brain to be like Einstein's? There has to be some sort of surgery or supplement we can take to improve neural connections. If I weren't dead-set on medicine, I'd persue cognitive scientific research and hope to discover something at least
 
  • Skeptical
Likes PeroK
  • #4
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,502
3,272
It's a fact that Einstein's brain is wired to be much more capable than the average Joe, so how do we rewire Joe's brain to be like Einstein's? There has to be some sort of surgery or supplement we can take to improve neural connections.
Einstein's brain was apparently different from others, but not in ways that are likely to be changed by mental exercises after birth.
Einstein had more of various brain regions and a large corpus collosum (connects tha two cerebral hemispheres together). These are things that are set up during embryonic development not after birth.
It is also reported he had more glia cells (the non-neurons of the CNS).
 
  • #5
not in ways that are likely to be changed by mental exercises after birth.
Ok I hear this all the time. Why not? Is the brain some sort of magical unchangeable thing? I can improve my car's efficiency by modifying the engine so that it's better than it was when I bought it new, but can't modify my brain? Why can't I add more corpus collosum? I can certainly remove parts and stay relatively fine, but why not add any glia cells?
 
  • #6
Stephen Tashi
Science Advisor
7,252
1,329
One question is whether there are mental exercises that are known to improve mental performance at certain tasks. That is the question of the OP. This is a different question that whether there are mental exercises that change brain anatomy in known ways.

"Exercises" could be generalized to things like transcranial magnetic stimulation, which doesn't require the patient to actually exercise.
 
  • Like
Likes chemisttree
  • #7
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,502
3,272
Ok I hear this all the time. Why not? Is the brain some sort of magical unchangeable thing? I can improve my car's efficiency by modifying the engine so that it's better than it was when I bought it new, but can't modify my brain? Why can't I add more corpus collosum? I can certainly remove parts and stay relatively fine, but why not add any glia cells?
You may be able to make incremental changes in your brains functioning (and in fact its detailed anatomy, possibly including small additions to the corpus callosum) but bigger changes are things that are actually set-up and produced during embryonic development.
You can make more drastic changes to your car because it is not an alive self-constructing entity, unlike your brain.
You could get someone to (probably non-ethically, questionable operation) inject a bunch glia cells into your brain. They would probably just make a blob of glia cells in the region where they were injected and not get widely integrated into the brain and its functioning.
Furthermore, since the brain's functioning is not well understood, untried manipulations will probably not lead to predictable results.
Removing biological parts is probably a lot easier than adding them and getting proper function.
 
  • Informative
  • Like
Likes Laroxe and symbolipoint
  • #8
TeethWhitener
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,806
1,155
Fortuitously, this paper in Science:
https://science.sciencemag.org/cont...2882c49228877c8f2b7cf8ba&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
landed in my inbox today. General audience explanation:
https://science.sciencemag.org/cont...mag_2020-07-09&et_rid=34838822&et_cid=3401489
Basically, the researchers injected plasma from active older mice into sedentary mice and the sedentary mice showed improved cognition and increased neural growth and repair. They did some proteomics as well to determine potential biochemical factors that may have contributed to the effect. Exercise has been known to correlate with slower mental decline with age. This study goes somewhat further in pointing out that the effect involves multiple organs, in particular liver enzymes that circulate in the bloodstream and whose expression is altered by exercise.
 
  • #9
38
2
Thanks all for the answers and speedy responces
 
  • #10
Laroxe
Science Advisor
294
275
I don't think there is any convincing evidence that specific activities can improve the general cognitive functioning but its entirely possible to develop specific cognitive skills, with practice. You can certainly improve your IQ score quite significantly by practising answering the same sort of questions used in the test your going to take, its a bit like getting better at crosswords you get better with practice and better still if you practice crosswords from the same compiler.

This really represents changing the software rather than the hardware, I suspect attempting to alter the physical characteristics of specific areas may be a bit pointless, the Brain is a highly integrated organ that is perfectly capable of altering itself and it does. It shifts its resources, even changes the size of areas and their connections based on usage. The rules it uses to control this process are not really understood but it doesn't seem to alter its underpinning capabilities, but learning about a range of subjects can help maximise potential.

There has been a whole range of different drugs, used and abused in an effort to enhance cognitive abilities, these are collectively referred to as intelligence enhancing. These may be designed to effect neurotransmitters like acetylcholine which is involved in memory, health foods like Lecithin act as a precursor, there are a variety of drugs developed for Dementia's, most don't work by one called hydregen was popular, one off high doses of B vitamin's and of course amphetamines. These all come with their own problems as do all the electronic/magnetic devices sold with this effect in mind.

There is lots of stuff around wellness interventions like diet and exercise which are entirely credible but may be heavily influenced by the need to promote "healthy lifestyles". Few people consider that our bodies are quite capable of managing variations and the brain is a privileged organ in terms of the resources it gets. Its very difficult to show significant changes in cognitive ability from a healthier lifestyle compared to the average. The fact that this was a subject that was of interest to students and still is means most of those attempting to change are already at their physical best.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Likes BillTre and berkeman

Related Threads on What brain exercises improve brain functions based on facts

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
827
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
Top