Now that we are all sufficiently startled by the British study showing Cognitive Decline can start as early as 45 years of age, we find the 2010 AARP Member Opinion Survey where 80% of the 38,000 adults over 50 surveyed indicated: “Staying Mentally Sharp” as their top ranked interest and concern—above other important concerns such as Social Security and Medicare."
People would like to know what steps can be taken to slow or prevent this problem. Now there seems to be an answer.
A prize-winning study performed at the University of Louisville, showed a simple form of brain training can improve cognition, and memory while producing long-lasting happiness. Dr. Jon Cowan developed the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer, which was used in this study. It uses a unique form of EEG biofeedback, called the Neureka! protocol. It is based on a measure of the brain’s system for new learning which rewards us for that survival activity.
This equipment trains the frontal lobes, the most advanced part of the brain, and is also been shown to greatly improve focus and calmness.
The system translates the brainwaves so the trainee can easily see their levels of Focus, Neureka! and Alertness/Calmness.
The measure of these aspects of mental processing then controls a DVD output so the trainee simply learns to make the picture bigger and they are training that skill in the brain.
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback awarded a Citation for this paper, titled "Prefrontal Gamma Feedback Improves Emotional State and Cognitive Function", which was presented at their 2011 Meeting in New Orleans.
Dr. Cowan has hypothesized that there is a functional system in the brain he named Neureka!, that is responsible for processing new learning and then rewarding the learner by making them feel good, so that they continue their efforts to learn. These positive feelings and the improvements in memory are probably due to the release of the brain chemical, dopamine, in the Prefrontal Pleasure Center, located behind the middle of the forehead, in coordination with enhancement of a specific 40 Hertz brain rhythm. The Peak BrainHappiness Trainer clarifies the 40 Hertz brain rhythm by using the Neureka! protocol and displays this to the trainee.
Dr. Cowan commented “This outcome is particularly promising because it suggests that people can be trained to be happy in a short time, creating a lasting impact. We also know that happy people generally are healthier and live longer. In fact, one of the major researchers in positive psychology, Dr. Ed Diener, has published a research review (co-authored by Micaela Chan) that reached this conclusion on the basis of 160 studies. With appropriate funding, we should be able to design a program, using this system, that improves happiness and memory, enhances health, and decreases health care costs.”