Friday, January 14, 2011

Checkpoint on My Brain Fitness

I am about three quarters of the way through Posit Science's "Brain Fitness" and my hearing has really improved.  I have been doing this in conjunction with about 1/2 -1 hour on the WII Fitness (with the Balance Board) and my WII scores recently have taken a jump as well.  I am no scientist but somehow I do think that doing the two exercises together has had some synergistic effects.

"Brain Fitness" Scores
Image representing Posit Science as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase
Hi Lo
"Hi Lo" tests your hearing with sweeps and bursts of sound going up or down.
  • At 500Hz:  I can hear bursts at 100 ms (millisecond) length with a 220 ms gap between sounds.  I am not plateauing at all  and expect to finish the entire program.
  • At 1000Hz:  I have finished the program for both sweeps and bursts at 100 ms length and 20 ms gap
  • At 2000Hz:  have finished the program for both sweeps and bursts at 100 ms length and 20 ms gap.
  • My Total Score for "Hi Lo" is 48285.  I do this better than many people!  In this regard, my hearing has improved by 72%!!! 
Tell Us Apart
"Tell Us Apart" tests your ability to differentiate pairs of sounds.  The "Brain Fitness"  program started with overemphasizing the sound and gradually de-emphasizes the sound until you surpass normal speech.
  • Baa/Daa:  Emphasis Level 12
  • Boe/Doe:  Emphasis Level 14
  • Dee/Gee:  Emphasis Level 8
  • Dah/Gah:  Emphasis Level 13
  • Deh/Geh:  Emphasis Level 13
  • Bu/Du:  Emphasis Level 14
  • Doe/Toe:  Emphasis Level 12
  • Baa/Paa:  Emphasis Level 12
  • Gee/Kee:  Emphasis Level 11
  • Sah/Stah:  Emphasis Level 11
  • Sheh/Chech:  Emphasis Level 9
Total Points:  10481

Match It:

"Match It" is a game where you search for matching sounds in varying grid sizes from 8 to 30 squares.  Right now, I am at Speech Processing Level 4 out of 5.  I am coming along quite nicely and expect to finish Level 5.
  • I can do 24 grids for all sounds at Level 4
  • I can do 30 grids for Syllable Set A:  do, gi, pu, te, ka, la, ro, sa, stu, ze at Level 4. 
  • I can do all 30 grids for Speech Processing Levels 1-3.
  • Total Points on "Match It":  13506
Story Teller
"Story Teller" is a game where different stories are read at varying speed with a question and answer session at the end. I've done all the stories at all Speech Levels and answered the questions pretty well. My total Score is 6020.

Sound Replay
"Sound Replay" is a game where different sounds are played and you have to replay them in the order spoken.  Usually, I can get 5 sounds in order and I am at Level 4 out of 5.  My best was getting 6 sounds in order. My total score is 11650.

Listen and Do
"Listen and Do" is a game where you are given a series of instructions and you have to follow them.  I can follow 3-5 instructions at speech level 5.  My best was following 6 instructions.

Wii Fit PlusImage via Wikipedia WII FIT

The consensus seems to be that WII Fit is not a real fitness game but a good game for rehabilitation or for seniors who want to stay fit.  I tend to agree.  I like doing it because it does help my balance and posture.  The WII has a little interactive diagram that shows where your center of balance is.

I have been doing all the balance games regularly and have noticed my Center of Balance improve.   I noticed in the middle of Brain Fitness that I had a big jump in proficiency.

I am at an Expert Level (the Highest Level) in SnowBall Throwing.  I am at an Advanced Level in Soccer (Heading the Ball), and Table Tilt.  I am just starting the Advanced Level in the Bubble.

I do a bit of everything -- some strength training so that my muscles are  able to maintain my center of balance.  I do yoga on the WII although I prefer going to the gym or using my DVD.   However,  for right now, I feel that I am able to develop better form for yoga because of the interactive diagram showing center of balance.  I don't get the sense of peace and calm that get with my DVD or with the gym.  Unfortunately, the class is too big in the gym so I don't really get much help with form.


I feel better doing these games together.  To start with, it's cold outside and I don't want to go out much so the WII is a good way to get a modest amount of exercise.  I am also doing a reading drill which is computer based so mixing up the sedentary games with something more active is good.   My hearing has definitely improved -- had an audiology exam which went a whole lot better than it did last year.  I think the "Brain Fitness" has helped auditory processisng.  I am not going "Hunh" or asking to repeat as much as I used to.  I am lip reading less.  Between using the iPhone and just remembering more, I am much less forgetful and a lot more organized.

I think the WII has helped a lot with the balance and with helping me use my hands together with my body.  The blog, SharpBrains, which is following the Brain Fitness industry, is noting that there will be a further integration of physical and mental games to improve cognition.

"Phys­i­cal exer­cise has been shown to increase the rate of neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, whereas men­tal exer­cise helps ensure the sur­vival of any newly cre­ated neu­rons. Today both activ­i­ties usu­ally take place in very dif­fer­ent set­tings: the for­mer, in health clubs, the later, in uni­ver­si­ties. We pre­dict that the bor­ders between them will become more dif­fuse. Expect new pro­grams such as brain fit­ness pod­casts that allow us to train work­ing mem­ory as we jog or exer­cise bikes with built-in brain games."

Also, SharpBrains is predicting that we will be seeing a national initiative on Brain Fitness.  I think, they would be one of the first to know as the scientific adviser to the website is Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, one of the experts on executive function. 

All in all, I think I am coming along nicely with better balance, hearing, memory,  and an improved "sharpness".
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