Studies say: Lifting weights and playing video games help the brain

Our semi-regular roundup of findings from the world of academia

British Columbia: Older women who perform physical exercises like lifting weights may be able to slow the onset of dementia, according to researchers at the Univeristy of British Columbia. After studying women aged 70 to 80 who were divided into three exercise groups—balance training, aerobics and resistance training—those in the latter group showed “significant” cognitive improvement.

Alberta: The way consumers respond to good or bad service or products comes down to whether they are pleasure seekers or pain avoiders, according to research from the University of Alberta. Pleasure seekers are hurt more when a product doesn’t work well, but also get more joy out of positive consumer experiences. Pain avoiders, on the other hand, don’t take it so badly when a product or service is poor, but they don’t enjoy good consumer experiences as much, either.

Ontario: Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that after playing action video games, even for brief periods, people experience changes in their brain activity and improved visual attention. The results arose from brainwave tests on subjects who had never played video games before.

Quebec: Researchers at Concordia and McGill universities looking into how to encourage breast cancer survivors to be more active found that those able to let go of old goals and embrace new ones were less sedentary. The researchers believe that by abandoning old goals that are no longer attainable and setting new ones, the women reduced their distress and became more physically active.

Nova Scotia: Researchers found it may be possible to diagnose major depression in teens using blood tests rather than relying on subjective interviews. The study, co-authored by a researcher at Dalhousie University, involved adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 and found that testing certain genetic blood markers could differentiate between depressed and non-depressed adolescents.

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