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There is an endless debate about why school kids in the Western world are falling behind everyone else. Some say it’s a shameful lack of funding; others say kids these days are too lazy and too busy Twittering on their iPads about the Justin Biebers to learn calculus.

But there are actually things you can do to help kids learn that cost next to nothing. For instance, studies show that kids do better if you …

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We already know that regular exercise makes you healthier, happier and, well, hotter. But did you know it could also make you smarter? That’s the premise of an emerging area of neuroscientific research, in which scientists are exploring the neurological effects of getting your regular dose of cardio.

Full story at The Huffington Post

The value of mental-training games may be speculative, as Dan Hurley writes in his article on the quest to make ourselves smarter, but there is another, easy-to-achieve, scientifically proven way to make yourself smarter. Go for a walk or a swim. For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship.

Navigated from The New York Times

Coffee is an amazing drug. It can be just as addictive as many hard drugs, but on the plus side it increases alertness, tastes fantastic and works as a temporary truth serum by making whiners admit that they’re completely useless (until they’ve had a cup).

Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter.

Full story at The New York Times

At high school, it’s invariably the kids that day dream who get told off. But a new study suggests that it’s those of us whose minds wander that have the best working memory—and working memory is itself directly associated to intelligence.

Full story at Gizmodo

Everyone knows exercise is good for you, and studies have previously shown that it can boost learning and even stave off dementia in later life—though nobody knew why. New research suggests, though, that it’s because the brain takes advantage of energy delivery systems just as much as your muscles.

Via Gizmodo

There are plenty of strange alternative uses for herbs. Rosemary, for instance, is supposed to soothe the skin and cure dandruff—though I can’t promise how well it will do either. Science, however, now tells us it definitely can make you smarter.

Full story at Gizmodo

Dreaming may improve memory, boost creativity, and help you better plan for the future, new research suggests. In a recent study, people who took naps featuring REM sleep—in which dreams are most vivid—performed better on creativity-oriented word problems. That is, the REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep helped people combine ideas in new ways, according to psychiatrist Sara Mednick, who led the study.

Via National Geographic

Scientists often cite the first ten years of a child’s life as the “window of opportunity.” Everything at this time is critical to improving the “wiring” of a person’s brain. These are the ages when the brain can form the most neural networks.

Preeti Bhatia

Interesting Fact Of The Day

Lightning may contribute to the onset of headaches and migraines, a new study says.

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