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The Learning Success Blog

Musical brains and where they can take your children in the future

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 18, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Tilly Stevens

It turns out that musical training can change our brains. Learning a musical instrument can improve cognitive functions such as motor function, auditory processing, emotion and social skills. 

Researchers at Mexico City’s Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez found 23 children showed dramatic changes in brain function after 9 months training with percussion instruments. 

The musical training made physical changes in the students’ brains. The two hemispheres of the brain communicated better. And the overall functioning of the children’s brains improved. Not only the brain regions related to music.

The results of this study suggest scientists may be able to develop music-based programs to help children with ADHD or autism.

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Topics: Brain Science, Music

It Hurts to be Excluded - Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conferences

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 12, 2017 at 10:02 AM

Peter Barnes

Do you know what it feels like to be discriminated against, to be excluded?

I hope you don’t, it’s not nice.

It happened to me recently.  A travel insurance company told me they would not renew the annual travel insurance policy I’d had for years.

The reason?  I’ve had a birthday.  I’m a year older, and they don’t insure people my age on that policy.

Every day in our schools some kids feel discriminated against, feel excluded.  Because they are different in some way from the group. They may be physically different. They might have learning challenges and can’t keep up with the rest of the class.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning, Educational Neuroscience

Fast ForWord Founder: Award for Contribution to Neuroscience

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 10, 2017 at 5:48 PM

Tilly Stevens

Fast ForWord founder Dr. Michael Merzenich has been awarded the Charles L Branch Brain Health Award by the University of Texas for his extraordinary contribution to neuroscience. 

Last year Dr Merzenich was also given the highest honour possible in the field of neuroscience – The Kavli Prize. This saw him granted a gold medal by the King of Norway and a banquet in his honour in the same venue as the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Dr Merzenich’s discovery of lifelong brain plasticity revolutionised the neuroscience world.

Plasticity describes the brain’s ability to learn by creating new connections between neurons within the brain.

Originally, it was thought that brains were only ‘plastic’ during early childhood as the brain developed. But Dr Merzenich’s research proved brains could change and adapt well into adulthood.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Monkeys Don't Eat Salad: Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 30, 2017 at 2:39 PM

Peter Barnes

A friend of mine lives in a community in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. High above a fast-flowing, snow-fed stream which feeds into the mighty Ganges river.
 
It’s a remote clearing in the jungle-clad mountains, teeming with monkeys.
 
The residents had a long trek down the mountainside to the village in the valley below to buy vegetables. The village vegetables were not always fresh. So they tried growing their own.
 
But the monkeys ate everything. 
 
Except for leafy green salad vegetables.
 
Monkeys don’t eat salad.

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Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience

The times are a-changin' (at school too): Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 22, 2017 at 11:12 AM

Peter Barnes

In 1964, Bob Dylan sang:

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam….for the times they are a-changin'

Do you know the song?

Last year Bob Dylan received a Nobel prize for literature. It was for the lyrics he wrote, like “The Times They are –a Changin”.

He was right about that way back in 1964.

And the times are still changing. Especially in education. That’s thanks to educational neuroscience. It’s changing education in ways we could not have imagined.

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Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience

What's the one question EVERYONE answers "YES"?

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 9, 2017 at 1:19 PM

Peter Barnes

What’s the one question everyone answers with “yes”?

It’s “are you getting older?”

No one gets younger. It’s impossible. Everyone’s answer must be “yes”.

So this message is for everyone. But it’s especially important if you are over 50 or have friends and relatives in their 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s.

Cut dementia risk

As you get older your risk of dementia increases.

You can start to forget things, especially recent events like where you put your keys, or what you had for breakfast.

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Topics: Brain Science, Adult Brain Fitness

Fast ForWord: How Much Evidence is Enough? Science & Real World

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 9, 2017 at 12:40 PM

Peter Barnes

A school principal recently said to me, “I’ve heard of Fast ForWord but there is no evidence that it works, is there?”

That wasn’t the first time I had heard that.

I’m always amazed when people say there is no evidence of Fast ForWord’s effectiveness. If they only looked, they would find hundreds of journal articles and school case studies with many examples of the success of over 2.5 million individuals who have done Fast ForWord over the last 20 years.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Advice you didn't ask for: 5 Tips for a Better Life from Dr Merzenich

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 7, 2017 at 2:15 PM

Peter Barnes

How would you like some advice about living the best life you can, for the rest of your life?

The eminent neuroscientist, Dr Michael Merzenich,  gave a couple of hundred people some tips on how to do just that. They attended his talk at the I Can Change My Brain conference in Melbourne on 26 February, 2016.

I was in the audience with a group of my colleagues from LearnFast.  

We went along to the conference to hear Dr Merzenich speak about the latest in neuroscience research, and how it can be used to grow brain power and manage brain health. We were especially interested in how the brain research can be used to improve learning for children, teenagers and adults of all ages.

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Topics: Brain Science, Adult Brain Fitness

A Tale of Two Brain Training Companies: Science vs Hype

Posted by Peter Barnes on December 5, 2016 at 1:33 PM

Peter Barnes

This is a tale of two brain training companies, Lumosity and Scientific Learning Corporation. And how one, Lumosity, was prosecuted for making claims about brain training unbacked by science, and the other, Scientific Learning Corporation, used decades of solid research to develop and prove the effectiveness of Fast ForWord. 

Lumosity paid $2 million penalty for unfounded claims

Lumosity, one of the most visible providers of adult online brain training games around the world, was hit with a 2 million dollar penalty in 2016 by the US Federal Trade Commission, due to unfounded claims on the efficacy of it’s product. 

According to the USA Federal Trade Commission press release "Lumosity preyed on consumer’s fears about age related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease”.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Uni of California Neuroscience: New Insights Into How Brains Develop

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 14, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Peter Barnes

Human Neurons Continue to Migrate After Birth.

Scientistis used to think that neurons in the human brain were pretty much set in place before birth.

In 2011, The University of California, San Francisco researchers found a few small groups of neurons still migrating after birth.

Now, new research has uncovered a mass migration that continues up to 3 months after birth.

These neurons are migrating to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for advanced cognition.

Read More

Topics: Brain Science, For Principals

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