Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Brain training" programs don't boost IQ

Surprise, surprise!

Brain training games do nothing to keep the mind nimble, according to Cambridge University researchers. The scientists concluded that while we get better at the complex computer exercises with practice, there is no evidence that this is of any use in everyday life.

Brain training games, like those played on the Nintendo DS or other computers, do not improve IQ, say scientists - and you'd be better off eating a salad

Endorsement by the likes of Nicole Kidman and Patrick Stewart has helped make brain training a multi-million-pound industry but studies into how well it works have given conflicting results.

Faced with the tantalising prospect that simple puzzles of maths, memory and logic could keep the mind sharp into old age - and even help stave off dementia - the researchers sought to come up with a definitive answer.

Working with the BBC's Bang Goes The Theory programme, more than 11,000 healthy men and women aged between 18 and 60 were set a battery of highly-sensitive memory tests.

Some were then given a series of brain training games to play for at least ten minutes a day, three times a week. The others were set general knowledge questions and asked to find the answers by surfing the internet. After six weeks, they re-took the initial memory tests.

The results, published in the prestigious journal Nature, showed that those who simply surfed the internet did just as well - if not better.

Dr Clive Ballard, of the Alzheimer's Society, said: 'This evidence could change the way we look at brain training games and shows staying active by taking a walk, for example, is a better use of our time.'


Substance Found in Breast Milk Kills 40 Types of Cancer Cells

Sounds promising -- but odd that it has been known for years yet has only recently been tested on humans. What are we not being told?

Swedish researchers have discovered that a substance found in human breast milk has the ability to kill cancer cells, according to a study published in the PLoS One Journal.

The substance known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells), was discovered years ago, but has just recently been tested on humans.

In the trial conducted at Lund University in Sweden, patients suffering from bladder cancer were treated with HAMLET. After each treatment, the patients excreted dead cancer cells in their urine, healthy cells remaining intact.

Previous laboratory experiments showed that HAMLET has the ability to kill 40 different types of cancer cells, but this was the first test conducted on humans. The next step will be to test the substance on skin cancer and brain tumors.

The trial breakthrough increases the hopes that HAMLET will be developed into a cancer treatment medication in the future.


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