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Taking Short Breaks in Between May Help You Grasp New Skills Better

This suggested volunteers' performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said.

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"Everyone thinks you need to 'practice, practice and practice' when learning something new," said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. Pixabay

If you are in a process of learning new skills, then taking short breaks in between may help you grasp it better, say researchers.

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggests our brains probably take short rest periods to strengthen memories.

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By looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest. Pixabay

“Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice and practice’ when learning something new,” said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. “We found resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,” Cohen said.

For the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG.

They were asked to type numbers as many times as possible with their left hands for 10 seconds, then take rest for 10 seconds and to repeat the cycle until they had typed the numbers 35 more times.

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For the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG. Pixabay

The findings showed the volunteers’ speed at which they correctly typed numbers improved dramatically during the first few trials and then levelled off around the 11th cycle. This suggested volunteers’ performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said.

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By looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest.

Specifically, they found the changes in the size of brain waves, called beta rhythms, correlated with the improvements the volunteers made during rests. The team plans to explore, in detail, the role of these early resting periods in learning and memory. (IANS)

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Tea Drinkers Have Healthier Brain Functioning, Research Suggests

Tea drinkers have better organised brain regions and this is associated with healthy cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers, research suggests

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Green Tea, Brain, Research, Tea
Matcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown (90 per cent shade) Camellia sinensis green tea bushes. Wikimedia Commons

Research suggests that regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions and this is associated with healthy cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers.

“Our results offer the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure, and suggest that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organisation,” according to a study authored by Feng Lei, Assistant Professor from the National University of Singapore.

Previous researchers have demonstrated that tea intake is beneficial to human health and the positive effects include mood improvement and cardiovascular disease prevention.

Green Tea, Brain, Research, Tea
Tea drinkers have better organised brain regions and this is associated with healthy cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers. Wikimedia Commons

For the study published in the journal Aging, the research team recruited 36 adults aged 60 and above and gathered data about their health, lifestyle and psychological well-being.

The elderly participants also had to undergo neuropsychological tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The study was carried out from 2015 to 2018.

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Upon analysing the participants’ cognitive performance and imaging results, the research team found that individuals who consumed either green tea, oolong tea, or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had brain regions that were interconnected in a more efficient way.

“We have shown in our previous studies that tea drinkers had better cognitive function as compared to non-tea drinkers,” Lei said.

“Our current results relating to brain network indirectly support our previous findings by showing that the positive effects of regular tea drinking are the result of improved brain organisation brought about by preventing disruption to interregional connections,” he added. (IANS)