Posts Tagged ‘Brain Training’

New studies show rapid brain growth early in development in children with Autism.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 by Karishma Bakshani

courtesy of pixabay

Parents having children with autism are often anxious about younger siblings having the same diagnosis. And if they do have autism, parents are more likely to want to start earlier interventions. It looks as though recent studies will make this more likely for parents. In a study published in Nature, researchers were able to use MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) in infants with autistic older siblings, to correctly predict 80 percent of those infants who would later meet the criteria for autism at age 2.

It is estimated that one out of 68 children develop autism in the United States. For infants with older siblings with autism, the risk may be as high as 20 out of every 100 births. Most children are not diagnosed with autism until they reach 24 months. As experts have observed, the earlier the diagnosis the better the outcome of the child.

For this Nature study, Piven, Hazlett, and researchers from around the country conducted MRI scans of infants at six, 12, and 24 months of age. They found that the babies who developed autism experienced a hyper-expansion (over-growth) of brain surface area from six to 12 months, as compared to babies who had an older sibling with autism but did not themselves show evidence of the condition at 24 months of age. Increased growth rate of surface area in the first year of life was linked to increased growth rate of overall brain volume in the second year of life. Brain overgrowth was tied to the emergence of autistic social deficits in the second year.

This is great news for parents who already have a child with autism, and are having or thinking about having another baby. The earlier in development a child is exposed to the right conditions the more likely it is that the child will succeed. If a child is exposed to books and is read to from infancy, it is more likely that child will develop a love for reading. Along the same lines, if a child’s brain is at risk for specific brain changes that cause autism, exposing them to the right therapies and social environments has the potential to alleviate those social deficits and symptoms of autism.

Brainjogging is one such intervention, and can be done as early as 3 years old. When done twice a day, the cognitive exercises help to sync the brain’s pathways. In the case of autism, many children experience overstimulation, where multiple neurons are firing at once. This can make even the simplest task seem complicated. After Brainjogging, children with autism are able to focus on the task in front of them. The younger a child starts interventions like Brainjogging, the more likely it is that the child will overcome learning difficulties and deficits.


“Early brain development in infants at high risk for autism spectrum disorder”,  Nature 542,  348–351 

Kids who learn music, read better!

Monday, January 16th, 2017 by Karishma Bakshani

Do your still children still have music class in school? If not, you might think about finding a good piano or violin teacher. Studies show that music instruction appears to accelerate brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception and reading skills.

According to initial results of a five-year study by USC neuroscientists, music instruction speeds up auditory pathway development in the brain and increases its efficiency.  In other words, the neuronal path from the ear to the brain gets stronger.  This process helps accelerate the development of language and reading, two key components to academic success!

So, how can we introduce our kids to music?

1.  Start young!

Sing nursery rhymes and make instruments out of items around the house to make music time a fun time!

2.  Join a Mommy and me music group.

Isn’t everything more fun with friend?  Joining a toddler group will help your baby learn social skills along with an appreciation of music.  It doesn’t hurt that you might make a friend a long the way!

3.  Support music in the schools.

Many school budgets do not support the arts.  Having musical instruction in school is not only great for cognitive development, but also for improving team work, critical thinking, and imagination.  Music class also provides an stress-busting environment for older children who might have a schedule full of tough classes the rest of the day.

4.  If you play an instrument, don’t stop!

If you hear stories about famous singers and musicians, many give acknowledge the fact that their parents played an instrument, or that their dad always had jazz in the background.  It may not always seem like it, but children do model their parents’ behavior.  If we play an instrument or sing around the house, our kids are more likely to do the same!

5.  Find a good music teacher.

When your child is old enough, try sending her to an age appropriate music camp, or sign up for piano (or any instrument) lessons.  We can’t force our children to like an instrument, but we can expose them to different forms of music in different environments.  The possibilities are endless!


Do Brain Games work?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 by admin

Over the past couple years, people have been turning to apps such as Luminosity in the hopes of improving memory and reversing the effects of aging on the brain. Unfortunately, none of the studies done on these games show any strong evidence or measured real-world outcomes. In fact, in October 2014 a group of more than 70 scientists published an open letter objecting to the marketing claims made by brain training companies. Soon after, another group of scientists published a letter saying there was a scientific basis!  Confusing, right!?

Not really.  Daniel Simons, a professor at the University of Illinois, reviewed over 130 studies with six other scientists to understand the discrepancies.  What they concluded was the following:

1.  Some brain games only work in making you better at that specific game.  The skills learned aren’t transferable to real-life situations.

2.  In many of the studies, the placebo effect wasn’t accounted for.  In other words, many people improved simply because they were trying harder or were more confident.

3.  Most of these brain games do not work the brain hard enough or over a long enough period of time.

BUT WAIT!  What about BrainJogging!?  Brainjogging can counter all three of the points mentioned above!

1.  Information entered into the Brainjogging program is customized to person.  Individuals who do the cognitive exercises are using information they need in school and in their everyday lives!

2.  Brainjogging has helped individuals improve processing, memory, and attention for the past 35 years!  Studies have been done in the University of Tennessee, The Boys and Girls Club, and other locations.  This doesn’t include the hundreds of students who have come to Camp Academia to have Brainjogging sessions.   Children have come with dyslexia, ADHD, processing issues and autism.  All of these individuals have been able to overcome cognitive deficits and lead productive lives. What better study could there be?

3.  As for the last point, Brainjogging works specific areas of the brain.  By targeting the areas of the brain needed for language, processing, and reading, Brainjogging is more effective than a brain video game that simply has the individual striving to get a higher score.   When done twice a day, Brainjogging helps individuals process information faster and retain the information as well!

So to answer the question:  Do brain games work?  No!  But BrainJogging does!  Brainjogging is not a “game”.  It is a cognitive therapy that helps strengthen weak neuronal connections by doing exercises created to target specific areas in the brain.


Brain Game Claims Fail a Big Scientific Test, Jon Hamilton, NPR, Oct. 3, 2016


New Research supports science behind Brainjogging!

Friday, September 9th, 2016 by admin

The Journal of Neuroscience has recently published a ground-breaking study about the significance of brain training. The purpose of the study was to examine the neurophysiological changes that accompany improvements following working memory training.

In the study a group of children were split into two groups and were given tasks that tested their short-term memory. In one group the difficulty level remained at ‘easy’, while the other group’s games slowly got harder.  The team found that compared to the control group, the children’s memory significantly improved and that the memory boost crossed over to when they performed untrained memory tasks.  More importantly, the researchers discovered that when the children’s brains were scanned there was a change in the rhythmic electrical signal in different areas of the brain, including the areas responsible for visual processing. After brain training the rhythm became stronger!

What does this mean for our “Brainjoggers”?  Keep doing Brainjogging!!  The exercises in the Brainjogging program are designed to stimulate the areas of the brain that control processing and memory.  The more you do Brainjogging, the more these crucial areas of the brain get activated, and the better individuals are able to process and retain new information!

“Training Working Memory in Childhood Enhances Coupling between Frontoparietal Control Network and Task-Related Regions” – Journal of Neuroscience


A Milestone in Language Processing!

Thursday, February 4th, 2016 by admin

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 9.51.36 AM


Yesterday one of our students made a clear transition from Autism to Language Processing! You’re probably wondering how this could happen!? Well, in autism, individuals have little to no comprehension and do not really understand riddles, puns, or jokes. This student was taught the joke:

Why was six afraid of seven?

Answer: Because seven ate (8) nine!

When he first heard the joke, he took it literally. “I know 7, 8, 9!” But when asked, “Can seven EAT nine? “, he started to laugh!!! And now he tells everyone his new joke!

Riddles are a wonderful method for teaching this transition! Find your old joke books or search online for children’s riddles and jokes to enhance your child’s cognitive skills!

Vitamin D and Brain Health

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 by admin

We all know how wonderful we feel when the sun is out – we are more likely to get outside, enjoy the warm sunbeams on our faces, and feel more inspired to get things done! But what happens when the colder weather arrives and we lose much of that warm outdoor time? We need to replenish Vitamin D through our daily nutrition, as a new study from the University of Kentucky found that a diet low in Vitamin D causes damage to the brain.

Vitamin D, found in foods like tuna, salmon, mushrooms, milk, and eggs, is important for maintaining bone health. It serves other important roles in the health of our organs and tissues, including the brain!

The UK study showed that middle-aged rats that were fed a diet low in Vitamin D for several months developed free radical damage to the brain, and many different brain proteins were damaged. These rats also showed a significant decrease in cognitive performance on tests of learning and memory.

Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with development of Alzheimer’s Disease and certain cancers and heart disease. “Given that vitamin D deficiency is especially widespread among the elderly, we investigated how during aging from middle-age to old-age how low vitamin D affected the oxidative status of the brain,” said lead author on the paper Allan Butterfield, professor in the UK Department of Chemistry, director of the Center of Membrane Sciences, faculty of Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and director of the Free Radical Biology in Cancer Core of the Markey Cancer Center.

Knowing your vitamin D levels is the first step, and, if low, begin eating foods rich in vitamin D, take vitamin D supplements, and/or get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure each day to ensure that vitamin D levels are normalized and remain so to help protect the brain. Older clients have also found much success with Brainjogging 5-7 minutes, twice daily! Brainjogging both prepares the brain for learning and improves working memory! If you want more information, visit to learn how to keep your brain sharp!

Music Training for the Brain!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 by admin

Many of us, as adults, regret that we ever quit playing or studying an instrument.  There are many brain benefits that come from musical training! Think about all the things that are going on when a child is playing: his eyes follow the music as well as the conductor’s movement (or teacher’s direction); being aware the entire time of both the music coming from his own instrument as well as the sounds from fellow students surrounding him (or the accompaniment). The complexity involved in practicing and performing music may truly help a child’s cognitive development.

New research presented at the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego suggests that music training increases the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decision-making, and complex memory. It may also improve a child’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once. The earlier a child starts playing, the better.

“It’s really hard to come up with an experience similar to that as an education intervention,” said Gottfried Schlaug, the director of the Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. “Not only does it require attention and coordination of multiple senses, but it often triggers emotions, involves cooperation with other people, and provides immediate feedback to the student on how well he or she is progressing,” he said. “Music, on its own, has also been shown to trigger the reward area of the brain,” he noted.

Take a look for opportunities to get your child involved in a musical opportunity – from seeing live performances to learning a new instrument! Many communities have both private and group lesson options, especially through community education programs and local universities or college campuses. It’s worth it for your child’s developing brain.

Brainjogging 5-7 minutes, twice daily, also improves your child’s brain! If you want more information about Brainjogging or individual hands-on sessions, contact Camp Academia today! We always look forward to helping your child succeed!

Time Change Advantage!

Monday, November 11th, 2013 by admin

Now that the time change has gone into effect, it’s a perfect opportunity to be reminded about the importance of good sleep. Children require 10-12 hours of sleep each night, and if your child uses a nightlight this research may be of even more interest to you.

A recent study out of Ohio State University found that the color of the nightlight affected the mood of hamsters. The little critters who were exposed to blue or white light at night exhibited more depressive-like symptoms and depression-related changes in the brain than those exposed to red light.

The findings suggest that exposing the brain to brighter light in the sleeping hours could result in negative effects on health. You may even consider changing the bathroom nightlight to a red bulb. “Light at night may result in parts of the brain regulating mood receiving signals during time of the day when they shouldn’t,” Tracy Bedrosian, a co-author of the study, suggested. “This may be why light at night seems to be linked to depression in some people.”

Now that the kids are a bit more willing to go to bed as it turns darker earlier, it is important that parents look after their brain health, even during sleep. Camp Academia has experienced much success with children who have sleep issues. Brainjogging each and every day can improve academic, athletic and emotional health and well-being! 5-7 minutes twice a day is all it takes to improve a child’s brain effectiveness!

Back-To-School Bootcamp!

Monday, August 19th, 2013 by admin


Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.
– William Wordsworth, September

It’s that time of year! Time to gear up the back-to-school brains, thinking of lists and clothes and activities and forms. As September fast approaches, there are several things you can do now to help your child ease into a new academic year:

Retrain the Body Clock – begin that evening routine. It can be as simple as bathing, brushing teeth, and being in bed with a good book by a specific time;
Cut Off Screen Time – shut down phones and electronics after the dinner hour, providing at least two hours of no stimulation prior to bedtime;
Reward Routine – for every day your child follows the routine, add marbles to a jar or points to a chart. After so many marbles/points, allow your child to pick out his/her favorite cereal or morning breakfast favorite to start off the school year right!

The key is getting your child’s brain to start thinking about thinking! Morning and evening routines must be a part of the preparation for school. Brainjoggers can begin entering NEW VOCABULARY into word lists for the new school year! Get back into the habit of Brainjogging early in the morning and again in the afternoon. If you have suggestions, tricks, or new ideas for helping your school-aged child start off on the right foot, please send in your comments!

Good Luck out there, troops!

Get Your Zzzzzzzz

Monday, August 12th, 2013 by admin

Getting your child to bed at the same time every night could give your child’s brain a boost, reports Researchers at University College London. They found that when 3-year olds have a regular bedtime, they perform better on cognitive tests administered at age 7 than children whose bedtimes were inconsistent. It did not matter whether children went to bed early or late – only that their bed TIME was regular.

Researchers suggested that having inconsistent bedtimes may hurt a child’s cognitive development by disrupting circadian rhythms. It may result in sleep deprivation and affect brain plasiticity at critical ages of brain development. If a child’s sleep is deprived AND inconsistent, the risk for cognitive impairments is even higher.

Researchers found that GIRLS were more negatively affected by this issue than boys. The difference in scores between groups of boys and girls were not statistically significant for reading and spatial tests, but math assessment outcomes were. So what can we do to prevent this?

Get your children going on pre-bedtime routines now before school begins. In order to keep the body’s internal clock in sync with the brain, bedtimes on weekends and in the summer should only be one hour off the normal time. The brain needs that consistency in order to most effectively perform! Help your children develop this healthy habit!