May 26, 2005 2:25 PM   Subscribe

11 Steps to a Better Brain Funny, reading MeFi is not on the list.
posted by peacay (25 comments total)
posted by Stan Chin at 2:27 PM on May 26, 2005

posted by wendell at 2:37 PM on May 26, 2005

The bit on improving "working-memory" was the most interesting to me... can anyone find a copy of the paper online? I'd really like the program they mention, and if it's not available I'm willing to write it.
posted by phrontist at 2:40 PM on May 26, 2005

OK, you can totally tell this is not a U.S. publication:
Beans on toast is a far better combination.... Toast alone boosted children's scores on a variety of cognitive tests, but when the tests got tougher, the breakfast with the high-protein beans worked best.... If you can't stomach beans before midday, wholemeal toast with Marmite makes a great alternative.
Pardon my cultural specificity, but .... bleaauchhhh!
posted by matildaben at 3:23 PM on May 26, 2005

Wait a second, not sleeping and sniffing modelling glue are bad for me? Damn.
posted by fenriq at 3:26 PM on May 26, 2005

It recommends Marmite. Is intelligence worth that?
posted by orthogonality at 3:32 PM on May 26, 2005

Hmph... they left out Boxing.
posted by BobFrapples at 3:48 PM on May 26, 2005

I meant to read it after my fizzy drink breakfast, but I forgot
posted by Cranberry at 3:58 PM on May 26, 2005

Dortmunder breakfasts on a bowl of wheaties and beer.

Of course, his genius is criminal
posted by IndigoJones at 4:08 PM on May 26, 2005

OK, you can totally tell this is not a U.S. publication:
Beans on toast is a far better combination...

How about Creole red beans on French bread, or cornbread? (Actually, that sounds like a fantastic breakfast.)
posted by chuq at 4:53 PM on May 26, 2005

posted by gaspode at 5:09 PM on May 26, 2005

mmm beans on toast for breakfast.

I wish I could regulate my sleep better. I should eat breakfast more often, and perhaps it will help me get to sleep. And drink less caffeine. But tea is good for me! So many variables.
posted by blacklite at 5:35 PM on May 26, 2005

By "beans on toast" do they literally mean some type of beans sitting on top of a piece of toast?

Nevermind, Google has the answer: yes.

What craziness. It looks hard to eat and not very tasty. Try to eat one of those in the car or subway on the way to work. I'll just stick with bagels (or Pop-Tarts), thanks.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:52 PM on May 26, 2005

How had I not heard of Modafinil before? I'd be a superhero with that stuff!

(chuq, breakfast at your place?)
posted by cmyk at 7:22 PM on May 26, 2005

Half interesting, half clich├ęd, half tabloid.

Modafinil can keep a person awake and alert for 90 hours straight, with none of the jitteriness and bad concentration that amphetamines or even coffee seem to produce.

90 hours, after a single dosing? Hardly. Try 10-12 hours tops, when taken in a sleep-deprived state. Some people may have headaches, described as a 'tension'. Modafinil also happens to be controlled in the US and pretty expensive, as it's patented. Its metabolic precursor, adrafinil, is unscheduled, and about 2/3rds cheaper. You'll need to buy it from overseas, though.

AN AUDITORIUM is filled with 600 people. As they file out, they each tell you their name. An hour later, you are asked to recall them all. Can you do it? Most of us would balk at the idea. But in truth we're probably all up to the task. It just needs a little technique and dedication.

A nice parlor trick, or if you're training to be a mnemonist. Better off learning some general analytical or pattern recognition skill.

Say you're trying to master a new video game. Instead of grinding away into the small hours, you would be better off playing for a couple of hours, then going to bed. While you are asleep your brain will reactivate the circuits it was using as you learned the game, rehearse them, and then shunt the new memories into long-term storage. When you wake up, hey presto! You will be a better player.

This sounds plausible, in a folk-science way, but I'd like to see a cite.

In 2001, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio asked volunteers to spend just 15 minutes a day thinking about exercising their biceps. After 12 weeks, their arms were 13 per cent stronger.

For this, I'd really like to see the study.
posted by Gyan at 9:11 PM on May 26, 2005

you would be better off playing for a couple of hours, then going to bed.

This is exactly why I swore off all sorts of video games. I close my eyes, trying to sleep and can't get the damn mazes out of my head.
posted by dhruva at 9:35 PM on May 26, 2005

After 12 weeks, their arms were 13 per cent stronger.

Maybe thinking about making their biceps stronger encouraged them to go work out at the gym.
posted by sophist at 9:43 PM on May 26, 2005

and the pesce-vegetarians win again. sigh.

I'm kinda surprised they started with the drugs. And that the drugs one totally contradicted the "don't mess with your sleep" one. But most of it seemed to make some sense.

And Ecstasy makes you smarter! (forgets to drink water, faints)
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:56 PM on May 26, 2005

hackly_fracture : "And that the drugs one totally contradicted the 'don't mess with your sleep' one."

Not necessarily. One of the putative benefits of modafinil is that, unlike amphetamines, if you wish to sleep, you can.
posted by Gyan at 10:01 PM on May 26, 2005

Ah. It just seemed to emphasize the "stay up forever" aspect. Still don't know if I trust the better living through chemistry section though. Not a prude, just waiting for the long term results to come seeping in.
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:18 PM on May 26, 2005

posted by peacay at 10:22 PM on May 26, 2005

Before I got my new brain, I used to weigh 500 lbs. I was getting high every day. I was even doing my dishes in the bathtub.
posted by StopMakingSense at 1:19 AM on May 27, 2005

phrontist, i believe the program they used is called robomemo. and it probably costs a lot.
posted by GleepGlop at 11:55 AM on May 27, 2005

New Scientist is another of those things that used to be better before you started reading it.
posted by TimothyMason at 12:10 PM on May 27, 2005

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