Working memory exercises can not only improve memory and cognitive performance but strengthen connections in the brain that are essential for memory, according to a study from Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. 

With the use of state-of-the-art technology for brain imaging known as fractional anisotropy, researchers based out of the laboratory of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, had subjects train on working memory brain exercises. Test subjects were given mental and brain structure tests before and after they performed the exercises.

The research team was able to find that the white matter in the brain (neural fiber tracts) that connect important memory areas become thicker after the exercises. The thicker the brain’s white matter the quicker information can move around. The researchers compared it to “boosting the bandwidth of your brain.”

The team found the most strongly affected areas from training were the critical information pathways for memory, both the intraparietal sulcus and the corpus callosum. They also were able to see that the white matter increases the more the participants trained.

Working memory is where information is held to perform verbal and nonverbal tasks like comprehension, reasoning, and decision making to make it available to pass along for further processing. It involves short-term memory, attention and other executive functions.

This study supports other evidence that working memory can be enhanced with the right type of training. Throughout our lives we continue to learn and develop our brains and the neuroplasticity (connections in the brain) continues to strengthen. Your confidence will increase as you become more efficient in memorizing and making decisions, as your brain will be working at its best.

Cross-training the brain will strengthen it in different areas, much like a body builder will train to work different parts of their bodies. Some brain fitness workouts will help your mind process information more quickly and efficiently, as allow you to perform multiple tasks. Brain exercise come in many forms, and there are a lot of places on the web that allow you to do a variety of different exercises in order to work different areas of your brain.

From the desk of Ron White



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