Initially, I stumbled onto various concoctions that promised to boost
intelligence. Fortunately, I was soon able to find reputable research
and ideas -- connected to your primary interest in mental exercises --
and I've come up with some findings and suggestions I think you can
put to good use!
Your hunch about "mental" exercise was correct. Brain "workouts"
enhance cognitive abilities, much like strengthening and flexing
muscles improves physical endurance and performance.
"Get smart: use your mind or lose it - wellness: supplements and
functional foods; MyBrainTrainer.com improves concentration and
mental-processing speed," by Joe Lewandowski, published in the Jan.
2004 issue of Better
" . . . Karlene Ball, a psychology professor at the University of
Alabama at Birmingham, worked as a lead researcher in a major
federally funded study of people aged 64-96. The study proved beyond a
doubt that the cognitive functions of the elderly can be enhanced
through demanding activities that forced them to reason and react
quickly. . . ."
The article recommends a site called MyBrainTrainer.com:
". . .MyBrainTrainer.com focuses on improving concentration and
mental-processing speed, explains Bruce Friedman, a Los Angeles
businessman who owns the site. . . .'What we're enabling you to do is
process and retrieve information ... in a much more efficient manner.
This is not entertainment. These exercises have been developed to
improve your cognitive
You can check out MyBrainTrainer.com at:
which bills itself as "the world's first virtual mental gymnasium!"
This is a subscription-based service with a variety of membership
packages, including one month for $7.95 and one year for $39.95.
From the Franklin Institute (science museum) in Philadelphia:
See "The Human Brain" page:
" Your brain is a thinking organ that learns and grows by interacting
with the world through perception and action. Mental stimulation
improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive
decline, as does physical exercise.
Scroll down to the sub-header "NeurobicsT":
Designed by Dr. Lawrence C. Katz, professor of neurobiology at Duke
University Medical Center, "NeurobicsT is a unique system of brain
exercises using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in
unexpected ways that encourage you to shake up your everyday routines.
They are designed to help your brain manufacture its own nutrients
that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain."
"Neurobic Exercises" include:
"Get dressed with your eyes closed
Wash your hair with your eyes closed
Share a meal and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking.
Combine two senses:
Listen to music and smell flowers
Listen to the rain and tap your fingers
Watch clouds and play with modeling clay at the same time
Go to work on a new route
Eat with your opposite hand
Shop at new grocery store"
These brain exercises are also noted in the July 20, 2004 issue of Forbes:
you'll also see several abstracts on how travel, reading, and playing
games like bingo, can increase brain power.
"Travel is another good way to stimulate your brain. It worked for our
ancestors, the early Homo sapiens. Their nomadic lifestyle provided a
tremendous stimulation for their brains that led to the development of
superior tools and survival skills."
" 'Read, read, read," says Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve
University Medical School in Cleveland. Do crossword puzzles. Play
Scrabble. Start a new hobby or learn to speak a foreign language."
"A cognitive psychologist in England found that when elderly people
regularly played bingo, it helped minimize their memory loss and
bolster their hand-eye coordination. Bingo seemed to help players of
all ages remain mentally sharp."
Additional brain exercises, compiled by Rhonda Cloos for the e-zine eesortment.com
"Next time you balance your check book, do it in your head or on
paper. Add those numbers, compare balances, until the totals are
correct (or as close as you'll accept). You may actually feel the
numbers whizzing through your mind as you calculate."
"Do crosswords and word jumbles daily. . . . Play board games,
charades, and word games. Any games that force you to use math and
language skills are tapping into those areas of your brain that may
need some stirring."
"Take up a hobby that forces you to think outside the box. Some
examples include learning a foreign language which is very different
from English, such as Russian. Or learn how to read music."
You might want to check out the book "The Einstein Factor : A Proven
New Method for Increasing Your Intelligence," by Dr. Wim Wenger and
Richard Poe. (Published by Prima Lifestyles; October 18, 1995.) The
book promises to:
"Improve your memory
·Read faster and learn more quickly
·Solve problems like a genius
·Score higher on tests
·Induce a state of total creative absorption
·Access powerful subconscious insights through visualization
·Increase your intelligence"
According to Amazon.com, the co-author Wim Wenders, Ph.D., "conducts
seminars and courses at major universities and corporations." (I wasn't able
to find much additional information on him.)
You can read about the book here:
And note the rave review there from "Duncan Maxwell Anderson, senior
editor, Success" magazine.
Wenger pioneered the "Image Streaming technique," which you can read here
You can also read some feedback on Image Streaming technique and Einstein
Read more about Wenger's theories at Genius By Design:
All I can tell you about Wenger is that he is a Ph.D -- I didn't find
any studies that back his theses, but many people have had success
with them, so you may want to check it out.
"MUSIC MAKES YOU SMARTER"
features a plethora of studies regarding the correlations between music and
Some of the research archived there includes abstracts from the study "Active
Music Making Expands the Brain," published in Nature magazine, April 23,
"Researchers at the University of Munster in Germany reported their
discovery music lessons in childhood actually enlarge the brain. An
area used to analyze the pitch of a musical note is enlarged 25% in
musicians, compared to people who have never played an instrument. .
. . The researchers said that skilled musicians use more neurons for
processing sounds from a piano or better synchronize those sounds
because of their training."
You might be interested in these books, "Essential Musical
Intelligence: Using Music As Your Path to Healing, Creativity, and
Radiant Wholeness," by Louise Montello. (Published: Quest Books (IL);
April 1, 2002.)
"The Mozart Effect : Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body,
Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit," by Don Campbell.
(Publisher: Perennial Currents; September 18, 2001.) This is the
controversial theory that listening to classical music heightens
intelligence: "Supported by much anecdotal evidence, he proposes that
Classical music with a big "C" (the music of Mozart's period) can
reach out to those who are mentally isolated from their fellows, like
the autistic, and can help infants react and think better. (Will
prenatal music classes be the next big trend for yuppie babies?) In
addition, the music of Mozart contributes to the improved functioning
of the higher cerebellar functions, including the ability to deal with
logical and mathematical concepts, while contemporary rock actually
decreases mental acuity."
See the homepage for Mozart Effect:
The Mozart Effect theory has come under fire:
" The claims that Campbell makes for music are of an almost rococo
flamboyance. And like the rococo, just about as substantive. [Campbell
claims music can cure just about anything that ails you.] His evidence
is usually anecdotal, and even this he misinterprets. Some things he
gets completely wrong. . . . " From "The Skeptic" by Robert Todd
But the April 2004 edition of NewScientist.com contends "New research
has revealed a revealed a molecular basis for the "Mozart effect" -
the observation that a brief stint of Mozart, but not other music, may
improve learning and memory. . . ."
"Essential fatty acids improve babies' IQs":
"Boost your brain power: herbs to improve your memory and mental acuity -
The Herbalist," from Vegetarian Times, March, 1996, written by Kathi
" . . .The ability of herbs to improve mental capacity isn't just folk
wisdom; modern clinical studies have found that the 'four Gs'--gingko, Panax
ginseng (which includes Korean, Chinese and American ginsengs), Siberian
ginseng and gotu kola--can indeed enhance concentration, aptitude, alertness
and even intelligence. Scientists haven't discovered all the ways herbs
increase brain power, but we do know that ginkgo, Panax ginseng and Siberian
ginseng increase the activity of some of the brain's neurotransmitters,
chemicals that transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. Some
herbs--such as rosemary--work their magic through their fragrance alone . .
"How to eat smart," by Randy Blaun and Andreas Wiesenack, from the May 01
'96 issue of Psychology Today:
Archived at Keep Media:
(You can sign in for a free trial in order to read the whole article; or dig
up this issue at your local library.)
"Nutritional neuroscience, as it's called, is barely in its infancy. But
it's already turning up some very heady findings. Among them:
"Mood and mental performance are powerfully influenced by the B vitamins.
Unfortunately, marginal deficiency in many B vitamins is widespread in North
America." [You can find "Complete B" vitamins at any drug, grocery, or
"A diet high in saturated fat not only can make you depressed and downright
anti-social, it can also impair general mental performance. So will a diet
high in total fat and one that is deficient in essential fatty acids (EFAs).
. . . . All brain cell membranes continuously need to refresh themselves
with a new supply of fatty acids. Preliminary research suggests that EFAs,
particularly n-3s--are best suited for optimal brain function. "
See a list of foods high in EFA's at Vanderbilt University's WellSource:
Scroll about halfway down the page to :
Foods containing high concentrations of EFAs (which are also
recommended for heart health: "Oils such as flaxseed, canola, soy,
walnut, and cod liver oil, Soybeans, Seeds such as flaxseed and
pumpkin, Walnuts, Dark green leafy vegetables, Raw nuts and seeds,
Legumes, eggs high in omega-3 (produced by chickens fed a high
Foods highest in EFA n-3: are "found primarily in
cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines."
Also See Smart Publications' "Protect Your Heart and Brain":
Good General Resource:
The following site is a great round-up of ideas and suggestions:
increasing IQ intelligence
improving mental acuity
foods AND boost OR increase AND acuity OR intelligence
I hope my research is of help to you. Please post a "Request For
Clarification," if you have any questions, or need help navigating any
of the above links.
Google Answers Researcher
Clarification of Answer by
02 Aug 2004 14:48 PDT
Hello again Nukdae:
Gee, I guess I need to increase MY intelligence. I forgot that you'd
originally also asked for information on a link between physical
activity and increased mental acuity.
From the July 22, 2002 edition of the New York Daily News:
"The Brain Workout," by Judi Sheppard Missett:
" . . .Mentally and emotionally, exercise is a natural stress reducer,
self-esteem-booster and anti-depressant. But here's a benefit that is
often overlooked: Exercise stimulates mental acuity, as well. The
biological changes prompted by exercise improve our 'capacity to
master new, and remember old, information,' says Dr. John J. Ratey,
Harvard University professor of clinical psychiatry and author of 'A
User's Guide to the Brain.' Ratey explains that 'physical movements
call upon many of the same neurons used for reading, writing and math'
and that 'physically active people reported an increase in academic
abilities, memory retrieval and cognitive abilities.' "
You can learn more about Ratey's book (Btw, I'm a fan of some of Dr.
Ratey's previous books) at Amazon.com:
(Publisher: Vintage Books, USA; January 8, 2002).
July 23, 2002 article at WebMD.com:
"Train Your Brain With Exercise: Not only is exercise smart for your
heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you
do," by Star Lawrence.
"Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the
University of San Francisco, explains that exercise affects many sites
within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as
serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric.
"In other words, if you don't want to wait for those good feelings to
come by accident (if they do), you can bring them on by exercising.
" 'When one exercises," Anderson says, 'you can think more clearly,
perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science --
stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.' "
On page 2 see the sub-header " If You Want to Try Exercise as a Brain Trainer."
"Ratey recommends 8 to 12 minutes a day of sweating and breathing-hard
exercise (60% of maximum heart rate) for brain training.
"Anderson says a minimum would be 30 minutes of moderate exercise,
walking, hiking, or swimming, three times a week. Half an hour to an
hour, four to five times a week would be even better."
January 30 (appears to be 2004) ABC News online article, "Jogging the
Mind: New Evidence Proves Exercise Keeps the Mind Sharp, by Lee Dye:
"New research shows that physical fitness can actually affect the
structure of the human brain . . . for the first time scientists have
literally looked inside the human brain . . . ."
"The researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to
study the brains of 55 volunteers between the ages of 56 and 79. They
found that those who were physically fit had lost far less of their
brain's gray and white matter than those who got very little
I hope this additional information is of help!