Brain Boost

Want to give your brain a leg up?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Are you a multitasking master? Or do you prefer doing one thing at a time? Some people are just great at juggling multiple jobs at once! Why?

Enter Eleni Patelaki and team at the University of Rochester. They monitored brain activity in twenty-six adults. The subjects were shown a series of images, and given a button to press every time the image changed. They did this sitting, and walking on a treadmill. Researchers also recorded how well the participants identified repeated images. 

Results? Fourteen participants – half! – performed better on the treadmill! They exhibited changes in frontal brain activity… changes that suggest increased mental flexibility!

These findings show how the brain can be elastic in response to multitasking. The researchers believe this can help determine what causes mental decline with diseases like Alzheimer’s!

So the next time you have an exam, skip the library. Hit the gym instead! And watch TV there.

Reference: Patelaki, E., Foxe, J. J., Mazurek, K. A., Freedman, E. G., Frederick, T. J., & Schindler, M. A. (2022). Young adults who improve performance during dual-task walking show more flexible reallocation of cognitive resources: a mobile brain-body imaging (MoBI) study. Cerebral Cortex.