Friday, April 23, 2010


Why do we need sleep?
A lot of research and theories have been thrown up over the years. Scientists have shown numerous ways in which sleep is related to memory. Working memory was shown to be affected by sleep deprivation. Working memory is important because it keeps information active for further processing and supports higher-level cognitive functions such as decision making, reasoning, and episodic memory. As the field of sleep research is still relatively new, scientists have yet to determine exactly why people sleep. However, they do know that humans must sleep and, in fact, people can survive longer without food than without sleep. And people are not alone in this need – all mammals, reptiles and birds sleep.
Scientists have proposed the following theories on why humans require sleep:
• Sleep may be a way of recharging the brain. The brain has a chance to shut down and repair neurons and to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to lack of activity.
• Sleep gives the brain an opportunity to reorganize data to help find a solution to problem, process newly learned information and organize and archive memories.
• Sleep lowers a person’s metabolic rate and energy consumption.
• The cardiovascular system also gets a break during sleep.
• During sleep, the body has a chance to replace chemicals and repair muscles, other tissues and aging or dead cells.
• In children and young adults, growth hormones are released during deep sleep.
• When a person falls asleep and wakes up is largely determined by his or her circadian rhythm, a day-night cycle of about 24 hours. Circadian rhythms greatly influence the timing, amount and quality of sleep. In these respects sleep conserves much energy in such mammals, particularly as sleep can also develop into a torpor, whereby metabolic rate drops significantly for a few hours during the sleep period. On the other hand, humans can usually rest and relax quite adequately during wakefulness, and there is only a modest further energy saving to be gained by sleeping.
Certainly a number of studies have shown that animals and humans deprived of sleep do not perform well on memory tasks.
The effect of sleep on memory and learning
Some memory tasks are more affected be sleep deprivation than others. A recent study, for example, found that recognition memory for faces was unaffected by people being deprived of sleep for 35 hours. However, while the sleep-deprived people remembered that the faces were familiar, they did have much more difficulty remembering in which of two sets of photos the faces had appeared. In other words, their memory for the context of the faces was significantly worse.
While large doses of caffeine reduced the feelings of sleepiness and improved the ability of the sleep-deprived person
These results indicate that sleep deprivation affects different cognitive tasks in different ways, and also that parts of the brain are able to at least partially compensate for the effects of sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation mimics aging?
A report in the medical journal The Lancet, said that cutting back from the standard eight down to four hours of sleep each night produced striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function that mimicked many of the hallmarks of aging. Dr Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study, said, "We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss."
Is sleep necessary to consolidate memories?
This is the big question, still being argued by the researchers. . Most of the research favoring sleep’s importance in consolidation has used procedural / skill memory — sequences of actions.
From this research, it does seem that it is the act of sleep itself, not simply the passage of time, that is critical to convert new memories into long-term memory codes.
What sleep does for memory
The findings reinforce the hypothesis that sleep is needed to clear the brain's short-term memory storage and make room for new information.
Sleep helps reduce errors in memory
A study in which college students were shown lists of words and then, 12 hours later, asked to identify which words they had seen or heard earlier, found that those who trained at night and tested the following morning were less prone to falsely recognizing semantically similar words than those who trained in the morning and tested in the evening. It’s suspected that sleep may help strengthen the source of the memory, thus helping protect against false
Memories practiced throughout the day, not just while sleeping
A study investigating the role of sleep in creative problem-solving has found that those who experienced REM sleep between two tests performed significantly better on the later test compared to those who simply had a quiet rest, or those who napped but had no REM sleep. The findings support the idea that REM sleep (when dreams occur) has a role in forming new associations. It’s suggested that the process may be facilitated by changes to neurotransmitter systems (cholinergic and noradrenergic) during REM sleep.
Sleep may be important in regulating emotional responses
The findings suggest that the sleeping brain calculates what is most important about an experience and selects only what is adaptive for consolidation .
Sleep may help clear the brain for new learning sleep effects on the human brain. In a recent study have revealed that during sleep the number of new synapses formed during earlier learning decreased. It’s theorised that this activity during sleep is a way of pruning the less relevant and important synapses (clearing away the junk, as it has been conceptualised). Research showing that more learning resulted in longer sleep. It also supports recent Researcher also found synaptic strength increases during the day, then weakens during sleep. The study also identified three genes essential to the links between learning and increased need for sleep.
Sleep helps you learn complicated tasks & recover forgotten The findings indicate that although people may appear to forget much of their learning over the course of a day, a night’s sleep will restore it; moreover, sleep protected the memory from loss over the course of the next day. The findings confirm the role of sleep in consolidating memory for skills, and extends the research to complicated tasks.
Sleep selectively preserves emotional memories
It’s now generally accepted that sleep plays an important role in consolidating memories, A new study has found that sleep had an effect on emotional aspects of a memory. The findings are consistent with the view that the individual components of emotional memory become 'unbound' during sleep, enabling the brain to selectively preserve only that informationit
Aging impairs the 'replay' of memories during sleep
During sleep, the hippocampus repeatedly "replays" brain activity from recent experiences, in a process believed to be important for memory sleep.
A nap can help you learn
Studies show that short period sleep can help you learn.
Brain connections strengthen during waking hours, weaken during sleep
New research provides support for a much-debated theory that we need sleep to give our synapses time to rest and recover. The human brain is said to expend up to 80% of its energy on synaptic activity, constantly adding and strengthening connections in respoat nse to stimulation. The researchers have theorized that we need an ‘off-line period’, when we are not exposed to the environment, to take synapses down. .Study has revealed that synapses — the all-important points of connection between neurons — are very active when the animal is awake and very quiet during sleep. The researchers feel that these findings support the idea that our brain circuits get progressively stronger during wakefulness and that sleep helps to recalibrate them to a sustainable baseline. .n stronger.
Following on from research showing long-term memory is consolidated during sleep through the replaying of recently encoded experiences, a study has found that the particular order in which they were experienced is also strengthened, probably by a replay of the experiences in "forward" direction. The study involved students being asked to learn triplets of words presented one after the other. Those whose recall of the order of the words was tested after sleep showed better recall, but only when they were asked to reproduce the learned words in forward direction.
Sleep protects against interference
A study involving 48 people (aged 18—30) found that those who learned 20 pairs of words at 9pm and were tested at 9am the following morning, after a night’s sleep, performed better than those who learned them at 9am and were tested at 9pm of the same day. Moreover, for those who were given a second list of word pairs to remember just before testing, where the first word in each pair was the same as on the earlier list, the advantage of sleep was dramatically better. For those who experienced the interference manipulation, those in the sleep group recalled 12% more word pairs than the wake group, but with interference, the recall rate was 44% higher for the sleep group.

Sleeping helps us put facts together
And in yet another sleep study, researchers found evidence that sleep also helps us see the big picture.
Asleep or awake we retain memory
How sleep improves memory
While previous research has been conflicting, it does now seem clear that sleep consolidates learning of motor skills in particular. A new imaging study involving 12 young adults taught a sequence of skilled finger movements has found a dramatic shift in activity pattern when doing the task in those who were allowed to sleep during the 12 hour period before testing. Increased activity was found in the right primary motor cortex, medial prefrontal lobe, hippocampus and left cerebellum — this is assumed to support faster and more accurate motor output. Decreased activity was found in the parietal cortices, the left insular cortex, temporal pole and fronto-polar region — these are assumed to reflect less anxiety and a reduced need for conscious spatial monitoring. It’s suggested that this is one reason why infants need so much sleep — motor skill learning is a high priority at this age. The findings may also have implications for stroke patients and others who have suffered brain injuiries.
Sleep helps insight
A new German study provides evidence for what we all suspected — “sleeping on” a problem can really work. In the study, participants were given a mathematical puzzle to solve; a puzzle which could be solved by trial-by-trial learning, or almost immediately if participants grasped the hidden rule. After training in the trial-by-trial learning, some of the participants were allowed to sleep through the night, while others were prevented from sleeping. When they returned to the problem eight hours later, those that had slept were twice as likely to realize the rule. Another group that trained in the morning, and were then tested later that day, were also slower at finding the rule, suggesting that the slowness was not solely due to fatigue. Sleep did not, however, help participants who had not had the initial training. It is suggested that sleep can act to restructure new memory representations.

Stages of memory clarified in sleep studies
Two new studies add to our understanding of the effects of sleep on memory. Both studies involved young adults and procedural (skill) learning, and found temporary declines in performance in particular contexts (a brief description of these studies is given here). On the basis of these studies, researchers identified three stages of memory processing: the first stage of memory — its stabilization — seems to take around six hours. During this period, the memory appears particularly vulnerable to being “lost”. The second stage of memory processing — consolidation — occurs during sleep. The third and final stage is the recall phase, when the memory is once again ready to be accessed and re-edited. (see my article on consolidation for more explanation of the processes of consolidation and re-consolidation). The surprising aspect to this is the time it appears to take for memories to initially stabilize. The studies also confirm the role of sleep in the consolidation
New motor skills consolidated during sleep
An imaging study that sheds light on the gain in performance observed during the day after learning a new task. Following training in a motor skill, certain brain areas appear to be reactived during REM sleep, resulting in an optimization of the network that subtends the subject's visuo–motor response.

Deep "slow wave" sleep necessary to consolidate memories
Sleep is necessary to consolidate memories. Remembering a new task is more difficult if you don't sleep within 30 hours of learning the task. "Catch-up" sleep on subsequent nights doesn't make up for losing that first night's sleep. Moreover, it appears that the deep "slow wave" sleep that occurs in the first half of the night is the type of sleep necessary to consolidate memories. Other types of memory however, may require "REM" sleep (that occurs while you are dreaming).
What sleep does for memory
A midday nap markedly boosts the brain's learning capacity
Following on from research showing that pulling an all-nighter decreases the ability to cram in new facts by nearly 40%, a study involving 39 young adults has found that those given a 90-minute nap in the early afternoon, after being subjected to a rigorous learning task, did markedly better at later round of learning exercises, compared to those who remained awake throughout the day. The former group actually improved in their capacity to learn, while the latter became worse at learning. The findings reinforce the hypothesis that sleep iYs needed to clear the brain's short-term memory storage and make room for new information. Moreover, this refreshing of memory capacity was related to Stage 2 non-REM sleep (an intermediate stage between deep sleep and the REM dream stage).

Helping memory consolidation while you sleep
The role of sleep in consolidating new learning is now well-established, but now a study intriguingly reveals that you can improve that learning by playing sounds associated with the learning while you are asleep.
How sleep consolidates memory
A rat study provides clear evidence that "sharp wave ripples", brainwaves that occur in the hippocampus when it is "off-line", most often during stage four sleep, are responsible for consolidating memory and transferring the learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex, where long-term memories are stored. The study found that when these waves were eliminated during sleep, the rats were less able to remember a spatial navigation task.

Sleep may help clear the brain for new learning
Sleep helps you learn complicated tasks & recover forgotten skills
Sleep selectively preserves emotional memories
Aging impairs the 'replay' of memories during sleep
During sleep, the hippocampus repeatedly "replays" brain activity from recent experiences, in a process believed to be important for memory consolidation. A new rat study has found reduced replay activity during sleep in old compared to young rats, and rats with the least replay activity performed the worst in tests of spatial memory.
Sleep reinforces the temporal sequence in memory

Sleeping helps us put facts together
And in yet another sleep study, researchers found evidence that sleep also helps us see the big picture. .
Sleep makes memories resistant to interference
Asleep or awake we retain memory
Mentally, sleep may be as active a state as waking state
Why do we sleep? A question we keep asking. Recent research leads us another step in the road. The study has identified a number of genes upregulated specifically during sleep – at least as many as are turned on while we are awake. These "sleep genes" largely fall into four categories: genes involved in synaptic plasticity (supporting the view that sleep aids memory consolidation); genes underlying translation (supporting observations that protein synthesis increases during sleep); genes regulating membrane and vesicle trafficking; and genes for synthesizing cholesterol (which may be crucial for synapse formation and maintenance, which could, in turn, enhance neural plasticity (the brain's ability to change and learn)). The study also found, to the researchers’ surprise, that the cerebellum showed largely the same pattern of gene-expression during sleep as the cortex.
Sleep can act to restructure new memory
Napping reverses information overload
Improving motor skills through sleep

New motor skills consolidated during sleep
Deep "slow wave" sleep necessary to consolidate memories
"Our previous studies demonstrated that a period of sleep could help people improve their performance of 'memory tasks.
these finger movements while an MRI measured the activity of their brain.
"The cerebellum, which functions as one of the brain's motor centers controlling speed and accuracy, was clearly more active when the subjects had had a night of sleep," he explains. At the same time, the MRIs showed reduced activity in the brain's limbic system, the region that controls for emotions, such as stress and anxiety.
"The MRI scans are showing us that brain regions shift dramatically during sleep," says Walker. "When you're asleep, it seems as though you are shifting memory to more efficient storage regions within the brain. Consequently, when you awaken, memory tasks can be performed both . accomplished.
This new research may explain why children and teenagers need more sleep than adults and, in particular, why infants sleep almost round the clock.
"Sleep appears to play a key role in human development," says Walker. "At 12 months of age, infants are in an almost constant state of motor skill learning, coordinating their limbs and digits in a variety of routines. They have an immense amount of new material to consolidate and, consequently, this intensive period of learning may demand a great deal of sleep."
The new findings may also prove to be important to patients who have suffered brain injuries, for example, stroke patients, who have to re-learn language, limb control, etc.
"Perhaps sleep will prove to be another critical factor in a stroke patient's rehabilitation," he notes, adding that in the future he and his colleagues plan to examine sleep disorders and memory disorders to determine if there is a reciprocal relationship between the two.
"If you look at modern society, there has in recent years been a considerable erosion of sleep time.Busy individuals often shortchange their sleep during the week -- purging, if you will -- only to try to catch up by "binging" on sleep on the weekends.
"This is especially troubling considering it is happening not just among adults, but also among teenagers and children," he adds. "Our research is demonstrating that sleep is critical for improving and consolidating procedural skills and that you can't short-change your brain of sleep and still learn effectively."
This study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Dana Foundation.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit
"Let me sleep on it" may just be the right advice for remembering complex information. Getting a good night's rest not only helps retention, but may even help us recall thoughts forgotten during the day, according to researchers from the University of Chicago.
Howard Nusbaum, a professor of psychology at the university, studied the effects of sleep on memory by testing the retention of words. Using a synthesizer, he distorted tapes of recorded speech, making the words difficult to understand. He then played the tapes back to college students, asking them to decipher the speech.
On first exposure, students understood just 21 percent of the words. After an hour of training, they understood 54 percent. "It is something like learning how to understand someone with a foreign accent," explains Nusbaum.
He then ran the same experiment with a second group of students, who were tested first at 9 in the morning and then tested again at 9 that night. This group remembered only remembered 31 percent of the words in the test at the end of the day. Yet after a night of sleep, their scores climbed up again: the following morning, the same students remembered 40 percent of the words.Top of Form

A third group was tested at 9:00 in the evening, then again the next morning. Their retention was also 40 percent.
Apparently, in the process of cleaning up our scattered thoughts, sleep also finds the ones that were about to slip through the cracks. "Sleep might strengthen relevant associations and weaken irrelevant associations, improving access to memories," Nusbaum notes.

The Learning Process and Sleep

Healthy sleep is essential for optimal learning and memory function.
Sleep, learning, and memory are complex phenomena that are not entirely understood. However, animal and human studies suggest that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on learning and memory. Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.

Although the exact mechanisms are not known, learning and memory are often described in terms of three functions. Acquisition refers to the introduction of new information into the brain. Consolidation represents the processes by which a memory becomes stable. Recall refers to the ability to access the information (whether consciously or unconsciously) after it has been stored.

Each of these steps is necessary for proper memory function. Acquisition and recall occur only during wakefulness, but research suggests that memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of the neural connections that form our memories. Although there is no consensus about how sleep makes this process possible, many researchers think that specific characteristics of brainwaves during different stages of sleep are associated with the formation of particular types of memory.

Sleep, Learning, and Memory
Sleep researchers study the role of sleep in learning and memory formation in two ways. The first approach looks at the different stages of sleep (and changes in their duration) in response to learning a variety of new tasks. The second approach examines how sleep deprivation affects learning. Sleep deprivation can be total (no sleep allowed), partial (either early or late sleep is deprived), or selective (specific stages of sleep are deprived).
Sleep Stages and Types of Memory
Different types of memories are formed in new learning situations. Scientists are exploring whether there is a relationship between the consolidation of different types of memories and the various stages of sleep.
The earliest sleep and memory research focused on declarative memory, which is the knowledge of fact-based information, or "what" we know . In one research study, individuals engaged in an intensive language course were observed to have an increase in rapid-eye-movement sleep, or REM sleep. This is a stage of sleep in which dreaming occurs most frequently. Scientists hypothesized that REM sleep played an essential role in the acquisition of learned material. Further studies have suggested that REM sleep seems to be involved in declarative memory processes if the information is complex and emotionally charged, but probably not if the information is simple and emotionally neutral.

Researchers now hypothesize that slow-wave sleep (SWS), which is deep, restorative sleep, also plays a significant role in declarative memory by processing and consolidating newly acquired information. Studies of the connection between sleep and declarative memory have had mixed results, and this is an area of continued research.
Sleep plays a major role in the ability to learn new tasks that require motor coordination and performance.
Research has also focused on sleep and its role in procedural memory—the remembering "how" to do something (for example, riding a bicycle or playing the piano). REM sleep seems to plays a critical role in the consolidation of procedural memory. Other aspects of sleep also play a role: motor learning seems to depend on the amount of lighter stages of sleep, while certain types of visual learning seem to depend on the amount and timing of both deep, slow-wave sleep (SWS) and REM sleep
The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Learning and Performance lack of adequate sleep has on learning and memory. When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, over-worked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information.

In addition, our interpretation of events may be affected. We lose our ability to make sound decisions because we can no longer accurately assess the situation, plan accordingly, and choose the correct behavior. Judgment becomes impaired.

Being chronically tired to the point of fatigue or exhaustion means that we are less likely to perform well. Neurons do not fire optimally, muscles are not rested, and the body’s organ systems are not synchronized. Lapses in focus from sleep deprivation can even result in accidents or injury.

For more information about how sleep deprivation affects performance, see Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety.

Low-quality sleep and sleep deprivation also negatively impact mood, which has consequences for learning. Alterations in mood affect our ability to acquire new information and subsequently to remember that information. Although chronic sleep deprivation affects different individuals in a variety of ways (and the effects are not entirely known), it is clear that a good night’s rest has a strong impact on learning and memory.
Open Questions
Although current research suggests that sleep is essential for proper memory function, there are unanswered questions, as in any area of active scientific inquiry. For example,
Not all researchers are convinced that sleep plays as prominent a role in memory consolidation as others believe. In experiments in which animals completed a course through a complicated maze, the animals' amount of REM sleep increased after performing the task. Some researchers believe that the increase in REM sleep reflects an increased demand on the brain processes that are involved in learning a new task. Other researchers, however, have suggested that any changes in the amount of REM sleep are due to the stress of the task itself, rather than a functional relationship to learning.

Researchers are likewise split with regard to the impact of sleep deprivation on learning and memory. For example, rats often perform much worse on learning tasks after being selectively deprived of REM sleep. This suggests that REM sleep is necessary for the animals’ ability to consolidate the memory of how to perform the task. Some scientists have argued that the observed differences in learning are not actually due to the lack of REM sleep, but may be due to the animals not being as well rested because they were deprived a portion of their sleep.

We still don't know the exact mechanism of the memory process that occurs during sleep, but the results of this research suggest the possibility that it is possible to speed up memory consolidation, and in the future, we may be able to do it artificially," said Prof. Karni.
Long term memory is defined as a permanent memory that doesn't disappear or that disappears after many years. This part of our memory is divided into two types – memories of "what" (for example: what happened yesterday or what one remembers from an article one read yesterday) and memories of "how to" (for example: how to read Hebrew, how to drive, play basketball or play the piano).
Two groups of participants in the study practiced a repeated motor activity which consisted of bringing the thumb and a finger together at a specific sequence. The research examined the "how" aspect of memory in the participants' ability to perform the task quickly and in the correct sequence. One of the groups was allowed to nap for an hour and a half after learning the task while the other group stayed awake.
The group that slept in the afternoon showed a distinct improvement in their task performance by that evening, as opposed to the group that stayed awake, which did not exhibit any improvement. Following an entire night's sleep, both groups exhibited the same skill level. "This part of the research showed that a daytime nap speeds up performance improvement in the brain. After a night's sleep the two groups were at the same level, but the group that slept in the afternoon improved much faster than the group that stayed awake,"
A second experiment showed that another aspect of memory consolidation is accelerated by sleep. It was previously shown that during the 6-8 hours after completing an effective practice session, the neural process of "how" memory consolidation is susceptible to interference, such that if, for example, one learns or performs a second, different task, one's brain will not be able to successfully remember the first trained task.
of their performance, as if there had been no interference at all.
"This part of the study demonstrated, for the first time, that daytime sleep can shorten the time "how to" memory becomes immune to interference and forgetting. Instead of 6-8 hours, the brain consolidated the memory during the 90 minute nap," explains Prof. Karni who added that while this study demonstrates that the process of memory consolidation is accelerated during daytime sleep, it is still not clear which mechanisms sleep accelerates in the process.
The elucidation of these mechanisms, say the researchers, could enable the development of methods to accelerate memory consolidation in adults and to create stable memories in a short time. Until then, if you need to memorize something quickly or if your schedule is filled with different activities which require learning "how" to do things, it is worth finding the time for an afternoon nap.
Source: University of Haifa

There are a number of theories about why we sleep and what happens in our bodies and brains during sleep cycles. However, there is not currently one predominant theory. It is quite possible that there is a kernel of truth in each of these theories; that they will all work together eventually to inform a more complete understanding of human sleep.
Most scientists agree that one of the major purposes of sleep is to restore and heal the body. It has been observed that hormone and immune functions change during specific stages of the sleep cycle. Furthermore, some studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to deficiencies in the immune system. Although it is believed by some that important growth can take place during sleep, there have been no studies to show that the lack of sleep can halt or stunt growth.
It has also been hypothesized that sleep offers important restoration to the brain. It is possible that neurons are restored, that brain proteins and certain hormones are produced. Some scientists believe that sleep is particularly important to the brains in young humans.
A completely alternate theory to those described above is the “Preservation and Protection” theory of sleep. This theory asserts that human beings do not require the full 24 hour period within each day to satisfy basic needs such as collecting necessary food and supplies, eating, and reproducing. As not all 24 hours are required, sleep offers a time of rest when humans are not out in the elements, and therefore exposed to threats.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Memory has importace in every field of life not only for students to pass exams but to everyone in everyday life. Every person wants to improve his memory .we always have been in the search of food that can improve our memory.Here are some brain food that may be beneficial for us.
Brain Foods
There are certain foods that are either suspected to improve brain function or have been proven to do so.
Many of these brain foods protect your brain by releasing anti-oxidants, natural chemicals that break down harmful compounds called "oxidants" that your body produces naturally. Most of these foods also contain important vitamins and nutrients essential for health.
Brain foods include:
• Apples

                           • Avocados

• Bananas
• Blueberries
• Dark green vegetables, such as spinach
• Eggs
• Flaxseed oil
• Salmon
Because each food is a little different, it is important to eat a variety. You need a well-rounded diet of brain foods to get the most benefit to eat at least one serving of each brain food at least once a week. Eating them every day would be even better!

Fish Oil

Your brain needs essential fatty acids to work well. Essential fatty acids are called "essential" because your body cannot make them. These fatty acids must be eaten in food. Examples include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
You might think something called "fatty" would be bad for you. Actually these are "good" fats. In fact, large percentage of your brain is composed of these types of fats. So if you don't consume enough fatty acids in your diet, your memory and other brain functions will sufficient
The best type of fish oil to take is high-grade pharmaceutical fish oil in liquid form. Omega 3s help to boost your brain power. Omega 3s are commonly taken in supplement form, but you can get enough through food. Increase your intake of raw fish, such as salmon and cod. Other foods high in Omega 3s are walnuts, spinach, romaine lettuce and scallops. Eat more fatty fish. The same omega-3 fats that protect the heart may also protect the brain. These fats reduce inflammation in the body, a possible risk factor for Alzheimer's.
• Diet strategy: Aim for two 3-ounce servings a week of the fattier salmon, mackerel or sardines. Also, check with your doctor to see if you can take a fish oil capsule.

Stop Drinking Sodas
Regular soda is a sugar bomb. You brain needs a steady stream of glucose to work properly, not a truckload of refined sugar dumped on it all at once.
At a minimum, switch to diet soda - but I have heard that the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks can give you everything from gas, to cancer, to memory loss.
Instead, drink at least 2 liters (quarts) of water a day. This will also help you avoid dehydrating, which can hurt your memory directly.
That might seem like a lot of water, but you can easily drink that much if you make it part of your daily routine. My trick for drinking enough water is to re-use plastic 16oz water bottles.

I keep a bottle with me at all times. Each time I drink one, I refill it with tap water. I have these bottles all over the place - in my car, at my desk, next to my bed, in the refrigerator. It's a really simple trick.

Cut Back on Fast Food
Everyone knows that many items at fast food restaurants are high in calories, saturated fat, and salt. If you often eat fast food, consider cutting back or switching to healthier items on the menu.
Why is this important for your memory? One reason has to do with the oxygen supply to your brain. A diet high in saturated fats and salt can lead to carotid artery disease.
Carotid artery disease is a narrowing of the carotid arteries of the neck. These arteries supply blood and oxygen to the front part of your brain where thinking, speech, and other higher functions occur.
If your carotid arteries become clogged with fatty deposits (as happens with carotid artery disease), the supply of blood and oxygen to your brain is diminished. This can make it harder to think clearly and remember things. It also increases your chances of having a stroke.
And a diet high in saturated fats is one of the

Lose Some Weight
Get your weight down. Being overweight can lead to problems with your blood sugar - including diabetes.
Your brain's only fuel is the sugar in your blood. Control your weight to keep your blood sugar steady. This will help your brain and memory work better and give you more mental energy.
Chew Gum
This is a simple diet and memory trick. Research studies indicate that chewing gum can improve short-term and long-term memory. Some researchers found this even with sugar-free gum. So it's not the sugar.
One theory of why this works is that the chewing motion increases your heart rate. Increased heart rate increases blood flow to your head and brain. More blood flow means more oxygen, which helps your brain work better.
Rather than chewing gum constantly throughout the day, maybe save it for times when you need to perform well mentally. It's probably not a good idea to chew gum when giving a speech or other situations where you need to talk. But when studying, reading, or taking an exam, chewing gum might give you that extra mental edge.
If you decide to start chewing gum, I'd suggest the sugar-free variety only. Orbitz is one brand that I like. It comes in several different flavors. But any sugar-free gum is fine.

Eat Chocolate
Here's a diet and memory trick you probably weren't expecting. Research from the Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia shows that eating milk chocolate or dark chocolate can improve memory by as much as 20%.
However, chocolate is also full of sugar and fat which is bad for you. So what should you do?
Save the chocolate for crunch time. Right before an exam or before you give a presentation, eat a small bar of dark chocolate to give your brain a boost. (Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate, because it provides benefits for your heart.)
Note: If you are trying to lose weight or trying to get very lean, skip this suggestion. Personally I almost never eat chocolate although IChocolate not only boosts serotonin, the "pleasure hormone", but also comes with large amounts of epicatechin, which improves the brain blood flow and boosts memory.
Eat More, Smaller Meals
To perform your best mentally, you must keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day. The best way to do this is to eat five or six small meals during the day rather than three large meals.
Overall, you may eat the same number of calories. But spreading out the calories into smaller meals helps your body regulate your blood sugar more easily.

Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is very common in the United States and some other countries. But students who skip breakfast have worse memories and get lower grades in school on average. Many research studies support this.
Obviously, the negative effects of skipping breakfast also apply to adults and their performance at work. Do you want to advance your career and be a top performer? Start every day with a healthy breakfast!
It's simple - your brain and body need refueling after fasting overnight. A quick example: Eat a banana and a piece of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.
Avoid sugary stuff that will cause your blood sugar to crash later. Traditional greasy breakfast food is probably not what your should eat regularly either.
Eating breakfast every day is a quick and easy diet and memory trick that no one should neglect.

Eat an Afternoon Snack
Blood sugar levels can dip in the afteroon. A couple hours after lunch, have a healthy snack like a protein smoothie and a piece of fruit. This will help you maintain alertness throughout the rest of the day.

Avoid White Pasta
Anything that spikes your blood sugar will crash your brain later and leave you unfocused. Avoid foods made with white flour, such as white bread, white pasta, donuts, and so on. Instead eat whole grains.
I completely cut out white flour from my diet and now only eat whole wheat and whole grain foods. Examples: Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal.

Avoid Alcohol
I'm not going to lecture anyone on this. I think everyone knows that drinking too much alcohol kills brain cells.
That's not where you want to go - if anything you want more brain cells! Drink moderately or not at all.
Some people drink wine in moderation (one or two glasses a day) for the health benefit. This is probably fine.

Brush and Floss
According to a UCLA School of Dentistry research study, tooth and gum disease are highly linked to clogging in your carotid arteries (major arteries in the neck that send blood to the brain).
Clogged arteries mean restricted blood flow - which means less oxygen and nutrients for your brain, which can potentially hurt your concentration and memory. (See my discussion of carotid artery disease above.)
So keep your teeth clean and visit the dentist regularly!

Limit Calories
If you really put away the food at mealtimes, consider cutting way back. A research article in Nature Neuroscience explains that when your stomach is empty, a hormone called ghrelin is released in the memory centers of the brain.
Ghrelin causes new connections to form between brain cells. The study claims that when laboratory animals were injected with ghrelin directly, their memory and learning improved significantly.
So apparently there are some benefits to being hungry!
The lesson: There is no magic memory pill. Instead, the link between diet and memory is to eat and drink the best fuel to keep your brain humming along at it's best.
A proper, healthy diet will help improve your "natural" memory. Then use the memory systems and other memory techniques to build up your "trained" memory.
You've heard again and again that what you eat can have a major impact on your health. New research suggests that this may hold true for our brains as well.
A heart-healthy diet is emerging as a promising strategy to help ward off such diseases as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. It may also help with physical activity and mental stimulation.

Plenty of questions still remain about the true impact of diet on memory loss. Some researchers suggest that the following strategies may slow down mental decline, but more studies are needed to prove this.
Limit cholesterol and bad fats. Excess cholesterol, saturated and trans fats are bad for your heart, and may also be trouble for your brain. In several studies, the risk of Alzheimer's was almost doubled among those who ate the most saturated fat.

Increase your "B's." Some research has shown a link between high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid in the blood) and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's.
• Diet strategy: Vitamin B can lower blood homocysteine levels. Good sources are lean meats, low-fat dairy, green leafy vegetables, beans and whole grains.
Eat leafy greens. A high vegetable intake may slow the risk of mental decline, but the relationship seems strongest with green leafy veggies.
• Diet strategy: Stock up on kale, broccoli, mustard greens and lettuces like romaine and spinach.
Increase vitamin-E rich foods. has debunked a previous theory that vitamin E supplements may help keep the brain healthy. Experts have not ruled out the impact of vitamin E rich foods, though.
• Diet strategy: Use vegetable oils (olive and canola) and eat more nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
• Diet strategy: Watch intake of sugars and white flour, and get plenty of fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, beans and whole grains.
Watch blood pressure. Even in somewhat healthy older adults, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the brain and reduce the brain's oxygen supply. This damage may disrupt nerve cells that are thought to be important to decision-making, memory and verbal skills.
• Diet strategy: Maintain a healthy weight, cut back on sodium and eat plenty of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains.
rosemary improved the memories of office workers.

Free Radicals - Villians of our Memory
This is an important piece of information everyone should be aware of -- our modern brain is under attack like never before from its greatest enemies, thugs called Free Radicals. Originally, free radicals were placed by nature to help destroy invading bacteria and viruses, but they got way out of hand. Free radicals enter into the body when you breathe, and burn calories, so they cannot be completely avoided. They also get in your body through cigarette smoke, air pollution and toxic chemicals in the air and water. Most important to know, they are also carried into the body through fatty foods.

Our Brain - The Most Vulnerable Target of Free Radicals
What these free radicals do to the body is destructive and malicious -- they are dark forces that attack DNA, creating permanent cellular damage that accumulates over time, leading to accelerated aging, memory loss and virtually every chronic disease there is. Experts say that our brain is the most vulnerable target of free radicals. Free radical activity is a central event in the brains of people who suffer from degenerative brain diseases such as ALS, Parkinson's and notably Alzheimer's.

Omega-6 vs. Omega-3 Fats -
Imbalance of certain types of processed oils that is so severe, that it is being considered responsible for free radical damage to the brain as severe as nerve end destruction. Among polyunsaturated fatty acids, there are two basic types of fat, one called Omega-6 fat and the other Omega-3 fat that have distinctly different chemical make-ups. Our ancestors' evolutionary diets had a perfect balance between these two types of oils for 4 million years up until only recently when the Industrial Revolution brought drastic changes that ushered in the processed Omega-6 vegetable oils along with other high fat foods. The result was an utter attack on the brain that had skyrocketed the Omega-6 oils to new highs, while completely ignoring the importance of providing the Omega-3 oils. It is the ratio of these oils you eat that is the most important to your brain's health. Today, Americans, feasting on processed oil eat 15 to 20 times more Omega-6 fats than Omega-3 fats. This ratio is completely out of sync with our genetic origins and Americans in particular, are paying a high price.
Surprisingly, the most destructive source of Omega-6 fats are found in salad dressings. These are the Omega-6 oils to avoid: corn oil, regular safflower oil, and regular sunflower seed oil. Avoid foods, such as margarines, and salad dressing made with these oils. Replace these oils with olive oil or canola oil which include Omega-3 oils in their composition. Olive oil is especially recognized as a memory booster.
Most important to brain function is Omega-3 made of two specific fatty acids: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA is the most powerful element in brain chemistry that must be continually supplied to the brain through Omega-3 rich seafood, or the brain falters and malfunctions. Here is a list of the top ten DHA fish your brain would love you for. One more bonus for your brain is that it can also convert a short-chain fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid LNA into DHA in adults. You get LNA in green leafy vegetables, flax seed and flax seed oil, canola oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, seaweed, and algae.

+ = Antioxidants
How Can We Protect Our Brain from Free Radicals?
Other than doing an Omega fat balancing act, there is something else you can do to protect your brain from free radicals. You can bring in the best equipped force to deal with the thugs who want to rob you of your precious brain functions, the Antioxidants. Antioxidants are the best defense we have available to successfully combat the free radicals. Amazingly, though we might have neglected our brain's nutrition for years allowing these free radicals to grow rampant, much of the damage can be repaired in a very short period of time by simply providing our brain with repeated healthy doses of Antioxidants.
Because there are hoards of bandit free radicals created every microsecond in the body, Antioxidants form a network to battle them. This network actually works together in tandem to disarm the radicals, and ensure every Antioxidant is quickly rehabilitated to continue the battle. The superstar Antioxidants that makeup this network are vitamin E, vitamin C, glutathione, coenzyme Q10 and lipoic acid. Of these super five, only lipoic acid can resuscitate all the other network antioxidants, plus itself. It is the super key Antioxidant.
Nature has provided us with an Antioxidants in its food supply, namely in fruits and vegetables. Here is a ranked list of those fruits and vegetables best suited to combat free radical activities based on an ORAC score. The ORAC (oxygen radical absorbency capacity) scores signifies how well nature endowed that food with overall powers to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. There are other foods that rank high in Antioxidant content as well, such as black tea, green tea, chocolate, and even red wine. Among juices, Welch's red grape juice, was the highest rated Antioxidant juice at Tufts labs. One researcher was also shocked at the impact fresh blueberries had on brain function improvement as well.

Introduce Antioxidants

Foods rich in antioxidants help to counteract oxidative stress on the brain and improve memory. Typically fruits and vegetables that are deeply pigmented contain the most antioxidants. Next time you are at the supermarket, be sure to pick up blueberries, cranberries, acai berries, bananas, kale, brussel sprouts and peppers. Other foods with a high antioxidant level are beans, nuts and seeds.

Add Lean Red Meat

Lean red meats are rich in iron, zinc and vitamin B12. These vitamins and minerals help to repair cell damage in the brain which can curb memory loss and improve memory. Other sources of protein also help with memory loss, such as eggs and low-fat cheeses.

What you eat can affect your memory… but the relationship between diet and memory is complex, and is still under debate. What we do know, however, is that:

1. Certain vitamin deficiencies (e.g. B1, B3, B6, B12, folic acid) may be related to memory difficulties. Make sure to get your vitamins and minerals:

• B1 - sunflower seeds, whole and enriched grains, dried

• Beans, pork

• B3 - mushrooms, bran, tuna, chicken, beef, peanuts

• B6 - spinach, broccoli, bananas

• B12 - almost exclusively in animal products

• Folic acid - green leafy vegetables, orange juice, sprouts, chick peas

2. It is important to eat a balanced diet!
4. Eating or drinking something with sugar in it (like orange juice) can help you learn and remember things, at least for a little while.
6. Keep your coffee and alcohol intake low, because it can lead you to become dehydrated, which doesn’t make you as sharp!
8. People with high levels of cholesterol have found that lowering their cholesterol results in improved memory and cognitive abilities.
10. Homeopathic remedies such as ginko and ginseng are becoming all the rage, but there hasn’t been much research on how these “natural” herbs affect your health or your memory. Anyone taking these products should talk with their doctor, because there can be very serious side effects.

Aromatherapy for Good Memory
Essential oils like rosemary and basil are known to heighten a person’s sense of awareness and improve concentration. The oils can be dabbed on the skin or clothing when you go out or can be diffused through a burner at home
or in the office

Diet and Memory
Drink plenty of water every day as dehydration and fatigue can result in memory lapses.
Cut down on saturated fats that can clog the arteries and reduce blood flow to the brain.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna and nuts clear up the arteries and improve circulation. They are good for the heart too.
Gorge on foods rich in antioxidants like citrus, leafy greens and strawberries to prevent memory loss caused by oxidative damage to the brain cells (a common sign of aging)..

Coffee or caffeinated drinks can ward away lethargy and enhance one’s ability to concentrate for longer. Research has shown that people who drank a few cups of coffee a day were less likely to suffer from memory loss in old age. Caffeine boosts memory. So, coffee and tea (black or green) are good for your memory. Caffeine proved to protect intellectual skills in older women. Female subjects who drank over three cups of coffee (or the same caffeine amount in tea) daily scored better in memory tests than those who only had one cup or less of coffee/tea daily.

Including turmeric to one’s daily diet reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at a later stage.

Blood Sugar and Memory
People with glucose intolerance are more prone to short-term memory lapses. In this case, it helps to have small, healthy and frequent meals several times a day.
Avoid ‘white’ carbs like rice, pasta and potatoes. Instead include wholesome and fiber rich foods like vegetables, whole grains and fruits in your diet.
Fish, nuts and avocadoes are an important source of ‘good fats’ that help regulate blood sugar levels.

Let the Brain Breathe
Improved circulation to the brain can boost up the brain function and enhance memory. Gingko biloba is one such herb that improves blood flow to the brain.
Regular exercise enhances circulation and helps prevent lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and strokes – all of which can diminish memory functions.
Stimulate the Brain
Listening to music can improve concentration and enhance brain function.
Mental exercises like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, scrabble and memory games go a long way in keeping the brain functioning optimally.

. 1.Lecithin is a natural complex of phospholipids encountered naturally in soy beans and also in many structures of our body, like the membranes of the brain cells. The main ingredient in soy lecithin is phosphatidyl choline, which increases the amount of choline in the body, a chemical employed by the brain as precursor of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that boosts memory capacity, intellectual skills and focusing. There are special types of lecithin rich in phosphatidyl cholines on the market.
2.There are various minerals and aminoacids crucial for the right functioning of the neurotransmitters and other brain functions. These minerals must be supplemented in case of intellectual effort: chrome, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and zinc.

3.Eat many fruits and green vegetables rich in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Bilberries, blackberries, grapes, fish and fish oil, eggs, spinach and almonds are also recommended.

6.A recent Japanese research found a new quality of the old onion: it boosts your memory! Subjects experiencing memory loss reported improved recall abilities after ingesting lightly cooked pieces of onion. An anti-oxidant chemical in onions seems to attach to toxins in the brain, helping in eliminating them. The sulfur containing chemical is turned on when onions are slightly heated in a pan, but overcooking can damage the chemical's memory-boosting qualities. The same active chemical is also encountered in other members of the Allium genus, like garlic (Allium sativum) and leek (A. porrum).

There Is Memory Boosting Foods, Improve Memory
Do you have trouble remembering names, tasks or even where you put the car keys? Forgetting is often associated with old age, but this information-packed age in which we live is hard to remember, and remember what we are. Fortunately, there is memory boosting foods that help maintain optimal function of the brain leading to mental fitness and improved retention. Here's our short list for the best foods to improve memory:

1. Avocados. Avocados normalize blood flow in turn pumps fresh oxygen to your brain. Avocados also contain lots of essential fatty acids that help support brain function.

2. Almonds. Rich in antioxidants and essential fats, almonds are the perfect brain food to ensure that the role of peak mental capacity.

3. Apples and grapes. The skin of the apples and grapes contain high levels of an antioxidant called quercetin, which has been shown to protect against Alzheimer's disease . Although it is also present in the flesh, the most quercetin is found in the skin. Red apples also contain anthocyanin in their skins.
Red, purple, and black grapes all contain quercetin and anthocyanin. Red wine also contains good levels of these phytochemicals, but overindulging in red wine may negate the benefits so keeping consumption to one glass per day may be wise
4. Blueberries. One of the best natural sources of antioxidants "natural teeth whitening", blueberries will ensure that your brain is protected from damage from free radicals. Eat blueberries have been associated with better memory, balance and coordination.

5. Carrots. Carrots are high in vitamin C, B and beta carotene, which were able to stop the signs of aging that can result in memory loss.

6. The black chocolate. Chocolate lovers have another reason to enjoy - not only are loaded with antioxidants, but also contains stimulants to boost endorphins lift your mood and keep you focused.

7. Greens. The darker the color of the plants, the more antioxidants and iron that contain it. Stay mentally alert with vitamin B6 and folic acid found in green vegetables.

8. Eggs. Eggs contain high amounts of B vitamins, plus omega-3 fats and vitamin E. Vitamin B is great as a stress reliever and a sedative agent.

9. Green tea or coffee. The caffeine in green tea and coffee will help keep you mentally alert, while antioxidants that protect against age-related brain deterioration.

10. Salmon. Loaded with healthy omega-3 fats that are critical for the proper development and functioning of your brain. Salmon is rich in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which ensures that our brain can function at a high level.

In addition to feeding your brain with the brain of these healthy foods, be sure to stay active to ensure proper circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain. This will result in more nutrients feed the brain that results in less stress, better memory and a sharp focus.
Health and fitness enthusiast. home teeth whitening
Here are ten foods that may improve your memory, if you can remember to eat them. You might notice that many of the foods on this list are red or purple in color. That's because the phytochemical that colors them, anthocyanin, is the same phytochemical that's good for your brain.

Blueberries have been shown in numerous studies to do wonderful things for memory and the brain in general. Old rats that were fed blueberries scored the same as young rats on memory tests. Blueberries contain anthocyanin, a known memory-boosting phytochemical. They also contain many other phytochemicals that may contribute to healthy brain function.

In a study found that when rats was feeded spinach It prevented and even reversed the loss of memory. The cause may be high folic acid content, a nutrient that is believed to be protective against Alzheimer's disease and age-related memory loss. Just intake a half-cup of cooked spinach provides two-thirds your daily requirement of folic acid.

Red onions contain anthocyanin and quercetin. Yellow and white onions also contain good levels of quercetin. In India, where onions are an important staple, onions have been used as a folk remedy to boost memory for centuries.

Broccoli contains quercetin. It's also a good source of folic acid.

Red Beets
Beets are a good source of anthocyanin and folic acid.

Another red food that is a good source of anthocyanin.

Eggplant is a great source of anthocyanin. It also contains nasunin, an antioxidant that protects the lipids in brain cell membranes.

Researchers have found that the carnosic acid in rosemary is neuroprotective and may play a role in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative brain disorders.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Memory Improvement technics

It's a general situation - you meet someone new, and then moments later you've forgotten their name! Names, passwords, pin and telephone numbers... the list is endless - with so much to memorize is it really possible to improve how much you can remember?.
Everyone either he is student or a layman want to improve his memory.We always in the search of some technics or any method that can be beneficial in improving our memory.Before you study for your next exam, you might want to use a few strategies to boost your memory of important information. There are a number of tried and tested techniques for improving memory. There are some technics or tips can be useful to improve your memory.

1. Focus or concentrate your attention on the materials you are studying.
Attention is one of the major part of memory. In order to improve short memory to long term memory you need to actively read this information. Try to study in a place free of disturbance such as television, music, and other diversions.
2. Avoid cramming study regularly
Many research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better that those did all of their studying in one marathon session.

3. Structure and organize the information you are studying.
Always structure and organize the information you are going to remember for a long term. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.

4. Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information.
Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall:Mnemonic devices are a technique often used by students to aid in recall. A mnemonic is simply a way to remember information. For example, you might associate a term you need to remember with a common item that you are very familiar with. The best mnemonics are those that utilize positive imagery, humor, or novelty. You might come up with a rhyme, song, or joke to help remember a specific segment of information. The idea behind using mnemonics is to encode difficult-to-remember information in a way that is much easier to remember.
Our brains evolved to code and interpret complex stimuli such as images, colors, structures, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, positions, emotions and language. We use these to make sophisticated models of the world we live in. Our memories store all of these very effectively.
Unfortunately, a lot of the information we have to remember in modern life is presented differently – as words printed on a page. While writing is a rich and sophisticated medium for conveying complex arguments, our brains do not easily encode written information, making it difficult to remember. The key idea is that by coding information using vivid mental images, you can reliably code both information and the structure of information. And because the images are vivid, they are easy to recall when you need them.

5. Elaborate and rehearse the information you are studying.
In order to recall information, you need to encode what you are studying into long-term memory. One of the most effective encoding techniques is known as elaborative rehearsal. An example of this technique would be to read the definition of a key term, study the definition of that term, and then read a more detailed description of what that term means. After repeating this process a few times, your recall of the information will be far better.

6. Relate new information to things you already know.
When you are studying unfamiliar material, take the time to think about how this information relates to things that you already know. By establishing relationships between new ideas and previously existing memories, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of recalling the recently learned information.

7. Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall.
Many people benefit greatly from visualizing the information they study. Pay attention to the photographs, charts, and other graphics in your textbooks. If you don’t have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials.

8. Teach new concepts to another person.
Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves memory of the material. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can use this approach in your own study by teaching new concepts and information to a friend or study partner.

9. Pay extra attention to difficult information.
Have you ever noticed how it's sometimes easier to remember information at the beginning or end of a chapter? Researchers have found that the position of information can play a role in recall, which is known as the serial position effect. While recalling middle information can be difficult, you can overcome this problem by spending extra time rehearsing this information or try restructuring the information so it will be easier to remember. When you come across an especially difficult concept, devote some extra time to memorizing the information.

10. Vary your study routine.
Another great way to increase your memory is to occasionally change your study routine. If you are accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot to study. If you study in the evening, try to spend a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night. By adding an element of novelty to your study sessions, you can increase the effectiveness of your efforts and significantly improve your long-term recall.
Healthy habits to improve memory
Treating your body well can enhance your ability to process and recall information.
Healthy Habits that Improve Memory
Regular exercise • Increases oxygen to your brain.
• Reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
• May enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.
Managing stress • Cortisol, the stress hormone, can damage the hippocampus if the stress is unrelieved.
• Stress makes it difficult to concentrate.
Good sleep habits • Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation.
• Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea leave you tired and unable to concentrate during the day.
Not smoking • Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain.

. Nutrition and Memory improvement
You probably know already that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and “healthy” fats will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory. Research indicates that certain nutrients nurture and stimulate brain function.
• B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folic acid, protects neurons by breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that is toxic to nerve cells. They’re also involved in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen. (Best sources: spinach and other dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, melons, black beans and other legumes, citrus fruits, soybeans.)
• Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, and beta carotene, fight free radicals, which are atoms formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Free radicals are highly reactive and can damage cells, but antioxidants can interact with them safely and neutralize them. Antioxidants also improve the flow of oxygen through the body and brain. (Best sources: blueberries and other berries, sweet potatoes, red tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green tea, nuts and seeds, citrus fruits, liver.)
Omega-3 fatty acids are concentrated in the brain and are associated with cognitive function. They count as “healthy” fats, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats, protecting against inflammation and high cholesterol. (Best sources: cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, tuna, halibut, and mackerel; walnuts and walnut oil; flaxseed and flaxseed oil)
Because older adults are more prone to B12 and folic acid deficiencies, a supplement may be a good idea for seniors. An omega-3 supplement (at any age) if you don’t like eating fish. But nutrients work best when they’re consumed in foods, so try your best to eat a broad spectrum of colorful plant foods and choose fats that will help clear,

Here are 10 Research-proven tips for a better memory, recommended by Harvard Medical School.

1. Believe in yourself : People who are exposed to positive messages about preserving memory into old age do better on memory tasks.
2. Economize your brain use : Take advantage of calendars, planners, maps and file folders. Designate a place at home for your glasses, keys and other items of frequent use.

3. Organise your thoughts : Information broken into smaller chunks such as city code and area code of a phone number is easier to remember than a single long list.

4. Use all your senses : The more senses you use while learning something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the learning.

5. Expand your brain : Widen the brain region involved in learning by reading aloud, drawing a picture or writing down the information you want to learn.

6. Repeat it aloud : Repeat it aloud, something which you just heard or thought about.

7. Space it out : Spacing out your learning instead of cramming in a short period is very valuable especially while learning complicated information.

8. Make a mnemonic : Mnemonics such as acrostics is a creative way to remember information. Another helpful mnemonics is to create story linking the items you want to remember.

9. Challenge yourself : Engaging in activities that require you to concentrate and tax your memory will help you maintain skills as you age. Do crossword puzzles, try new recipes, travel and undertake projects or hobbies that require skills you aren't familiar or comfortable with.

10. Take a course : Memory improvement courses are becoming more common. Select a course that focuses on practical ways to manage everyday challenges. Stay away from courses that center on computer or concentration games. Choose one, run by health professionals or experts in psychology or cognitive rehabilitation.

Courtesy Harvard Medical School

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


In our day today life everyone faces the common problem that is FORGETTING.
Causes of Forgetting
There are some subjective and objective conditions of forgetting. These we commonly call causes of forgetting. These causes hamper the processes of learning and retention.
• Length of the learning material is a factor of forgetting. The more is the time taken in learning, the quicker is the rate of forgetting. Attitude or interest of the learner is an important factor in forgetting. Prose pieces are learnt with much pains at the cost of much time. Forgetting in the case of prose materials sets in quickly.
• Under learning is another important causes of forgetting. If the lesson is half learnt, forgetting will be very quick.
• Injury or shock to the brain is another cause of forgetting. We all know about the shock of amnesia.
• Forgetting often takes place due to the influence of drugs. Narcotic drugs make the neurones ineffective. As a result drug addicts become forgetful.
• Retroactive inhibition is often the cause of forgetting. When we learn anything, some time is taken for its consolidation. We often try to learn lots of things within a short span of time, one after another. In all such cases later experience casts influence on the previous experiences. Many things become blurred and forgetting sets in. Hindrance in the previous learning owing to the effect of later learning is called retroactive inhibition.
• Forgetting may often set in due to mental fatigue. Long work of tiring mental work makes us mentally fatigued and exhausted. Our alertness is lowered. Forgetting becomes natural due to mental fatigue.
• Forgetting may also become regular for want of proper rest. Rest, pause helps in consolidation. Want of proper sleep is often the cause of forgetting.
• The psychoanalysts are of the opinion that “we forget because we want to forget!” We repress unpleasant memories into the unconsciousness. we want to forget the sorrows and horrors of life. So we forget them pretty soon.
Forgetting is often due to objective causes but mostly mental conditions are inherent in those cases. The influence of the unconscious mind is often active in making us forget. In order to minimize forgetting, we are to remove the possible causes of unconscious motivations for forgetting. To avoid forgetting we are to learn properly that would enhance our retention power.
There are six main reasons for forgetting
(1) ineffective encoding
(2) decay interference
(3) retrieval failure
(4) motivated forgetting
(5) physical injury or trauma.
Ineffective Encoding
The way information is encoded affects the ability to remember it. Processing information at a deeper level makes it harder to forget. If a student thinks about the meaning of the concepts in her textbook rather than just reading them, she’ll remember them better when the final exam comes around. If the information is not encoded properly—such as if the student simply skims over the textbook while paying more attention to the TV—it is more likely to be forgotten.
According to this theory memory fades with time. Decay explains the loss of memories from sensory and short-term memory. However, loss of long-term memories does not seem to depend on how much time has gone by since the information was learned. People might easily remember their first day in junior high school but completely forget what they learned in class last Tuesday.
refers to the idea that forgetting occurs because the recall of certain items interferes with the recall of other items Intrference theory has a better account of why people lose long-term memories. According to this theory, people forget information because of interference from other learned information. There are two types of interference: retroactive and proactive.
• Retroactive interference happens when newly learned information makes people forget old information.
• Proactive interference happens when old information makes people forget newly learned information.
Retrieval Failure
Forgetting may also result from failure to retrieve information in memory, such as if the wrong sort of retrieval cue is used. For example, Dan may not be able to remember the name of his fifth-grade teacher. However, the teacher’s name might suddenly pop into Dan’s head if he visits his old grade school and sees his fifth-grade classroom. The classroom would then be acting as a context cue for retrieving the memory of his teacher’s name.
Motivated Forgetting
Psychologist Sigmund Freud proposed that people forget because they push unpleasant or intolerable thoughts and feelings deep into their unconscious. He called this phenomenon repression. The idea that people forget things they don’t want to remember is also called motivated forgetting or psychogenic amnesia.
Physical Injury or Trauma
Anterograde amnesia is the inability to remember events that occur after an injury or traumatic event. Retrograde amnesia is the inability to remember events that occurred before an injury or traumatic event.

Become Genius

What is a Genius? The dictionary defines “genius” as:  “Someone who has an unusually high level of intelligence, mental skill or artist...