Brain Game: Word Scramble

If you’ve ever felt guilty about the need to take periodic breaks during the workday to recharge, cut yourself a little slack. According to a New York Times article published over the weekend, research indicates that regular breaks can actually improve worker productivity and creativity, while “skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion.”

So, here at the Dana Foundation, we would like to help you achieve your productivity goals by supplying you with a fun little break activity—a word scramble based on information found in the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives’ publication It’s Mindboggling! How many words can you unscramble?

gyadmlaa ________________
(hint: this brain part is involved in emotional reactions like anger)

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Brain Game: Word Search

Let’s be honest, it’s sometimes hard to concentrate on work on Friday afternoons. Your mind starts to wander, thinking about the fun things you’re going to do over the weekend. Well, why not take a quick break and start the fun now!

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives created a number of original puzzles and games, which are available online, and today seems like a Word Search kind of day. This particular puzzle is from the Top Ten Brain Awareness Week Favorite Puzzles collection.

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Brain Awareness Week 2012 Coming to a Close

BawLogo-US-wDABIWe’re nearing the end of Brain Awareness Week and much has been going on around the world to educate people about brain function, diseases, and disorders. Nearly 800 partners across six continents signed up for BAW this year (we’re still working on Antarctica), holding a record 929 events.

To spotlight the great work and the diversity of our BAW partners, we posted a new partner interview each weekday to our homepage. These Q&As offer a lot of practical advice, useful to current partners and to those planning to participate next year. Some takeaways included tactics to keep elementary school students’ attention, how to tie a Turkish folk dancing performance to brain education, and the best ways to publicize an event.

In addition to the Q&As, we posted the fifth and final round to our Brain Bee Challenge quiz, featured links to BAW media coverage, and announced the Design a Brain Experiment Competition winner. Michaela Ennis, a senior at the Pingry School in New Jersey, is the winner of the experiment competition, and believe me, she deserves it. She proposed an examination of the effects of social defeat on anxious behavior, pinpointing the molecular mechanisms for that behavior. Senior Editor at Nature magazine Noah Gray (@noahWG) said it best in a tweet, “Brilliant, interesting & too ambitious!” Ennis will no doubt continue to produce great work as an undergrad at MIT next year.

In addition to our website, social media played a big part in spreading the word about BAW. The BAW Facebook page now has 1,636 fans, we launched a new BAW Pinterest page , and the Twitterverse was alive with BAW interactions (#brainweek). We want to give a special thanks to our social media promotional partners: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Parkinson Foundation, The Rockefeller University, and World Science Festival.

Moving from the web world to the real world, yesterday Dana staff attended an in-house BAW event on fitness. Resting in very comfortable chairs, we learned about exercise and the aging brain from Charles Mobbs, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and a past Staying Sharp panelist. He gave us a breakdown of the latest research on the subject and concluded by recommending taking 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) for optimum cognitive benefits. This doesn’t mean you have to make a point of walking five miles on the treadmill, but rather 10,000 steps throughout the whole day. That includes walking around the house, to the subway or your car to get to work, etc.

Following the lecture we were asked to rise from our comfy chairs and get physical. Divided into three groups, we did some cardio and some strength training. I’m going to be honest, it was a little harder than I expected and I cursed my decision to wear jeans that day. We all left the program feeling a little goofy and perhaps a little sore, and happy to have participated.

We took some photos, but alas, they’re still living on a camera out of office. If they’re not too embarrassing, maybe we’ll post a few next week. And speaking of photos, be sure to check out the BAW website in the coming weeks as partners post their photos and reports from this year!

-Ann L. Whitman

Brain Game Wednesday: Cognitive Fitness Quiz

In addition to the Staying Sharp program and resources mentioned in last month’s quiz, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives offers a great booklet, Your Brain at Work: Making the Science of Cognitive Fitness Work for You (available for download in PDF). Published in partnership with The Conference Board, Your Brain at Work offers practical tips for brain health and is designed to fit with employers' wellness and HR offerings.

Based on the information in this booklet comes the ten-question, online quiz, Putting It All Together: Learning For Work And Life. So I guess the question is: Have you put it all together? Take the quiz and find out!

–Ann L. Whitman

Brain Game Wednesday:Let’s Get Physical

It’s Brain Game Wednesday and this time we want to add some healthy lessons to the fun. Dana staff have been running a program called Staying Sharp for 17 years, which focuses on understanding how the brain works and maximizing brain function and health. The program includes a series of live public forums, printed resources, and a DVD program and is presented in collaboration with NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community and with support from MetLife Foundation.

During the public forums, brain experts address how the brain changes as we age, memory loss, brain diseases and disorders, and maintaining cognitive function. Included in these discussions are tips for maintaining a healthy brain, like today’s puzzle theme: exercise.

Do you know the many positive effects of exercise? Test your knowledge (and puzzle skills) below. It might just be the added incentive you need to hit the gym! (Click to enlarge.)Brain graphic

Answers will be posted in the comments section one week from today. Please feel free to share your answers below. And don’t forget to check out the other online puzzles and games created by the Dana Alliance!

-Ann L. Whitman

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