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The role of the dopamine-regulating COMT gene in cognitive function has been the subject of debate. Now a large study of older adults has revealed that the Met variant of the COMT gene was linked to a greater decline in cognitive function. This effect was more pronounced for African-Americans.

The role of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene in cognitive function has been the subject of some debate. The gene, which affects

A variant of a gene called the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene causes people to gain weight and puts them at risk for obesity. Now a new study suggests that this gene variant is also associated with loss of brain tissue, in that, if you have this gene variant, your weight is associated with neuron loss, and if you don't, it isn’t.

A variant of a gene called the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene causes people to gain weight and puts them at risk for obesity. The gene variant is found in nearly half of all people in the U.S. with European ancestry, around one-quarter of U.S.

It’s now well established that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. Now a new study suggests that dreams also play a part in consolidating memories — perhaps reflecting the brain's attempt to find useful associations.

It’s now well established that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. Now a new study suggests that dreams also play a part in consolidating memories.

A study involving healthy institutionalized infants from six Romanian orphanages has found that those randomly assigned to a foster care program showed rapid increases in height and weight, and that this was associated with better caregiving quality and significantly improved verbal IQ.

A study involving 136 healthy institutionalized infants (average age 21 months) from six orphanages in Bucharest, Romania, has found that those randomly assigned to a foster care program showed rapid increases in height and weight (but not head circumference), so that by 12 months, all of them w

A study of medication administrations in hospitals has found scarily high rates of procedural and clinical failures, of which 2.7% were considered to be major errors — which were much more likely to occur after interruptions, particularly repeated interruptions. Nurse experience provided no protection and indeed was associated with higher procedural failure rates (common with procedural failures — expertise renders you more vulnerable, not less).

As we all know, being interrupted during a task greatly increases the chance we’ll go off-kilter (I discuss the worst circumstances and how you can minimize the risk of mistakes in my book Planning to remember).

The largest ever trial of fish oil supplements has found no evidence that they offer benefits for cognitive function in older people. However, neither the trial group or the placebo group showed any cognitive decline over the two-year period of the study.

The largest ever trial of fish oil supplements has found no evidence that they offer benefits for cognitive function in older people. The British study enrolled 867 participants aged 70-80 years, and lasted two years.

A study involving multiple sclerosis sufferers has found very high rates of vitamin D deficiency, and that higher levels of vitamin D3 and its byproducts were associated with better scores on cognitive tests (especially reasoning and planning), and less brain atrophy and fewer brain lesions.

A study involving 236 persons with multiple sclerosis has found that only 7% of those with secondary-progressive MS showed sufficient vitamin D in their blood, compared to 18.3% of patients with the less severe relapsing-remitting type, and that higher levels of vitamin D3 and it

A Polish study has found that children prenatally exposed to high levels of air pollutants (PAHs) had significantly reduced scores on a test of reasoning ability and intelligence at age 5 (an estimated average decrease of 3.8 IQ points). This confirms findings from a previous study.

A five-year study involving 214 children born to healthy, non-smoking Caucasian women in Krakow, Poland, has found that those prenatally exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) had a significant reduction in scores on a standardized test of reasoning abi

Great news for those who crave the benefits of meditation but find the thought a bit intimidating! Adding to evidence that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, a small study has found cognitive benefits from as little as four sessions of 20 minutes.

Great news for those who crave the benefits of meditation but find the thought a bit intimidating!

The recent report splashed all over the press that supposedly found playing online brain games makes you no smarter than surfing the Internet demonstrated no more than we already know: that transfer beyond the specific tasks you practise is very rare, and that well-educated people who are not deprived of mental stimulation and have no health or disability problems are not the people likely to be helped by such games.

A six-week study got a lot of press last month. The study involved some 11,000 viewers of the BBC's science show "Bang Goes the Theory", and supposedly showed that playing online brain games makes you no smarter than surfing the Internet to answer general knowledge questions.

In other words, what's important is the time of day you hear/see/read something, not when you try and remember it.

Despite the popularity of brainstorming as a strategy for producing ideas and new perspectives, it appears that participation in a group actually reduces the number of ideas produced (compared to the number of ideas that would be produced if the participants though

It is common for people to feel as they get older that they more frequently experience occasions when they cannot immediately retrieve a word they know perfectly well ("it's on the tip of my tongue").

Although we initially tend to pay attention to obvious features such as hair, it has been long established that familiar faces are recognized better from their inner (eyes, nose, mouth) rather than their outer (hair, hairline, jaw, ears) parts1.

It has been well-established that, compared to younger adults, older adults require more practice to achieve the same level of performance1. Sometimes, indeed, they may need twice as much2.

The effect of smell on learning and memory was investigated in an experiment that used three different ambient odors (osmanthus, peppermint, and pine).

There is a pervasive myth that every detail of every experience we've ever had is recorded in memory. It is interesting to note therefore, that even very familiar objects, such as coins, are rarely remembered in accurate detail1.

When we tell people about things that have happened to us, we shape the stories to our audience and our purpose. The amount of detail we give and the slant we give to it depends on our perceptions of our audience and what we think they want to hear. Does this change our memory for the event?

A number of studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of the keyword mnemonic for short-term recall, for example:

When a group of people work together to remember an event, the group do appear to recall more than an individual working alone, but do they recall more than the sum of the memories each individual recalls?

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