Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ways to get smarter

In the waiting room while waiting for my doctor’s appointment I read an article from the Newsweek magazine, January 9-16, 2012: Buff Your Brain by Sharon Begley. She writes: Yet that’s what we all want—to know more, to understand more deeply, to make greater creative leaps, to retain what we read, to see connections invisible to others—not merely to make the most of what we have between our ears now, but to be, in a word, smarter. By raising our mental game we would be able to pick out the most significant data in a company’s annual report, see immediately when a marketer or advertisement is conning us (“increase the molecular structure” of water to make it healthier for your Siamese fighting fish, as one bottler promises? Don’t think so), understand medical studies relevant to what ails us, grasp the significance of the euro meltdown to our retirement savings, and make smarter decisions in work, love, and life.”
There is plenty of new scientific findings now to help bolster memory, learning and intelligence and have confirmed ways to do it.- “refining sensory motor skills can bolster cognitive ones.... short term memory maybe the foundation of pure intelligence and... can raise over all knowledge” according to the article.
The article listed 31 ways to get smarter:
I will list 6:
  1. Play words with friends
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Play an instrument

4.Zone out. Let your mind wander
5. Write reviews online
6. Sleep a lot

On learning a second language, she writes-  “For more exalted cognitive functions, the strategy with the strongest evidence behind it is also the toughest: learn a second language. When a brain that is fluent in two languages chooses between, say, English and French, the cortical circuits that hold both languages become active. The prefrontal cortex must then step in to choose the right word—man or homme?—for the circumstances. The prefrontal is also the site of those higher-order functions. The workout it gets in bilingualism carries over, buffing such IQ-building skills as problem solving and attention switching, finds cognitive scientist Ellen Bialystok of Canada’s York University. That workout seems to postpone dementia by five years, she and colleagues reported last February.”
There are 25 more ways. It seems that one’s brain is never old. Well maybe not all but it is now shown that even older brain can retain new information, learn, and increase  intelligence.
From the ruins one can build a new palace.
It rained a little this morning. This afternoon I dropped by the river. It was low tide.My fisherman acquaintance said-”Nothing. No fish” then he smiled. 

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