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Jigsaws & Brain Power


Submitted By Devlin
Words 3015
Pages 13
Jigsaw Puzzles Are Good For The Brain
The human mind has two separate hemispheres or lobes, the right and the left, each dealing in different functions. The right brain deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically being creative, intuitive and emotional. The left brain functions in a linear and sequential fashion. While assembling a jigsaw puzzle, you use both sides of the brain.
Working on jigsaw puzzles ensures continuous activity throughout the brain involving all the cells and parts of the brain. This intense activity activates and exercises brain cells thus increasing their efficiency and capacity .
Several studies have found that people who have been used to doing jigsaw and/or crossword puzzles and who remained fully active enjoyed a longer lifespan and less likely to fall prey to Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia and other diseases of old age. The brain produces dopamine, a chemical chiefly responsible for learning and memory. The production of this chemical increases in the brain when it is engaged in piecing together the jigsaw puzzle.
Working on puzzles has many benefits. It makes us alert, increases our concentration and expands our creativity. Looking at the images constantly enhances visualization, an aid for any physical activity that succeeds mental activity. Such activity also affects our physical health by lowering our breathing rate as well as reducing the heart rate and blood pressure. Working on jigsaw puzzles and focusing on the same image for long periods has been compared to meditation, inducing a certain calm and peace of mind.
There are immense and long lasting benefits from doing puzzles regularly. It not only sharpens your memory and improves your brain function, but allows you respite from the clutter of your day-to-day concerns. With a clearer mind you develop a more positive attitude to life in general.

Jigsaw puzzle therapy for Alzheimer’s sufferers
[June 23, 2009] A Kingston University design student has turned his coursework into a budding business venture, launching a jigsaw puzzle ideal for people living with dementia.
Ben Atkinson-Willes, 22, who is completing a degree in product and furniture design at Kingston University in South West London this year, was inspired to use his skills to create a specially-designed activity puzzle after his granddad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
"It's important to keep people with Alzheimer's as physically and mentally active for as long as possible, because it gives them a better quality of life in the long run," Ben explained. "One thing my granddad loves doing is puzzles, but the products with fewer pieces were generally designed for very young children. I wanted to create something that would suit his need and respect his age."
Ben trialled possible puzzle images, which include a Spitfire aircraft, train, dog and family at the beach, during research in care homes around Surrey. "I started with more than 70 images, but the eight I have chosen were not only popular, but even prompted memories for some of the adults completing them," Ben said. "One resident, who hadn't spoken all day during our testing, began talking about his time in the war when he completed the puzzle with a picture of a Spitfire," Ben said. This result, Ben explained, was especially important as people with Alzheimer's often became more distant and reluctant to get involved in tasks as their confidence waned. "The puzzle sparked a memory for him, and the sense of achievement he gained completing the activity is what my project is all about," Ben said.
Ben's puzzles are made from foamex, a material which creates a long-lasting, durable, flexible and easy-to-clean puzzle piece. He has drawn on traditional puzzle shapes for each segment, but the edge of the picture is already complete and the puzzle shapes are chunkier and easier to handle. A background designed for contrast and low vision guides users to help them match and place the pieces in the correct position.
Ben's project got under way a year ago in his second year at Kingston University. He secured £5,000 funding from the University's Entrepreneurial Grant Scheme to pay for all the materials, research, prototypes, and marketing including a website.
Professor Hilary Dalke, a researcher who specialises in inclusive design for dementia care, supported and advised Ben with his puzzle project. "Devising special activities for people with dementia is a key part of their ongoing treatment. Ben's work meets a real need in dementia care products, not only for those with the condition, but for the families who need a more interesting and appropriate way of spending their valuable leisure and social time with their loved ones," she said.
Ben has already gained European Design Registration for his puzzle concept which has now gone into production. He hopes it could also be useful for other people who have suffered some degree of memory loss or diminishing vision. The puzzles have already attracted the attention of leading retailer John Lewis as well as the prestigious Audi Design Foundation.
For Ben, however, the success of his business project will also have significance closer to home. With dementia affecting some 417,000 people in the United Kingdom, there are many families alongside his own who could benefit from such a simple and effective product, he said. "My family has been behind me all the way and really kept me going on what has been a long project. Seeing my granddad's reaction to my work, the sense of achievement he gained and his enjoyment of the pictures, has been a huge driving force behind my determination to make a success of this project," Ben said.

Ben's Puzzles
Active-Minds 07/04/2011 [UK]
Ben’s Puzzles provide a range of 8 engaging jigsaw puzzles specially developed for people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 
Bens Puzzles are available either individually or as a boxed set of four puzzles, which can be selected from our catalogue of images. Each puzzle includes a frame (30cm by 42cm) and specially printed backing board that is designed to assist and encourage the user. The puzzle consists of eleven large irregular shaped pieces that can be assembled within the frame to create a colourful image. The puzzles are made from an extremely durable and washable material. The size of each piece, the colours used and the unique backing board system have all been designed and tested to help users of all abilities complete the puzzles unassisted. Images have been carefully chosen to allow for visual impairment, to stimulate memories and conversation, and to give the user a valuable sense of achievement and pride.

There are a total of eight Ben's Puzzles, each portraying a highly recognizable image for all users. The puzzles are constructed from a highly durable and washable material. The puzzles are sold individually and in pre-configured sets of 4 and can be ordered in the online Online Puzzle Store.

Ben's Puzzle solutions for dementia care are perfect for senior care facilities. They also make a wonderful gift to people that are caring for those with dementia. Why not order your set today?
Jigsaw Java 21/10/2012 [US]
Ben's Puzzle Solutions For Dementia Care
Jigsaw Java Is The Only Authorized US Distributor For These Special Puzzle Sets. Ben's Puzzles use a unique, tested system and have been researched and designed to help people with dementia. The puzzles contain special large and irregular-shaped pieces that help the senior place the puzzle pieces successfully. Ben's Puzzles can be ordered in the Online Puzzle Store.
Each puzzle comes with its own special frame (12" x 16.5") and a set of three backgrounds of varying difficulty. The backgrounds use shaded color to help the user identify the placement of the pieces. Most users are able to complete the puzzle unassisted, providing the senior a sense of achievement and pride in this excellent leisure activity for people with dementia. Order now in the Online Puzzle Store.
Jigsaw Java in Redwood City, CA is just minutes away from San Carlos, Belmont, Foster City, San Mateo, Woodside, Portola Valley, Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park.

Teen Becomes Alzheimer's Advocate
[December 13, 2010]
When Max Wallack, 14, visited his "Great Grams" at a nursing home for patients with Alzheimer's disease, he made a simple observation: Alzheimer's patients, who are often agitated, seemed calmer and more focused when they worked with jigsaw puzzles.
After his great-grandmother's death in 2007, Wallack decided his discovery was too important to just let it fade away. The next year, at the age of 12, the determined youngster began collecting puzzles and distributing them to Alzheimer's patients.

T he result was his creation of the nonprofit Puzzles to Remember, which accepts donations of new and "gently used" puzzles.
So far, Wallack's nonprofit has distributed more than 5,400 puzzles to 380 nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients in all 50 states plus Mexico and Canada. The idea has even reached across the ocean, where Alzheimer Portugal is now modeling a program on Puzzles to Remember.
"Puzzle therapy can extend the period of time that an Alzheimer's patient remains cognitively functional in society," says Wallack, now a 14-year-old junior at Boston University Academy. (He has skipped two grades and now takes three college courses along with two high school classes.)
Alzheimer's patients "may not remember they did a puzzle, but they remember they were happy," Wallack says.
Forming partnerships
Soon after starting his nonprofit, the Natick, Mass., resident intensified his search for free puzzles to distribute. He set up collection points at various Massachusetts locations and received grants from several charitable organizations to finance his project. His local Rotary Club covered the cost of shipping the puzzles for six months in 2010.
Wallack also contacted Steve Pack, president and owner of Allied Products Co. in Kansas City, Mo., the maker of Springbok puzzles, for puzzle donations. He persuaded Pack to manufacture a special line of puzzles with larger pieces that could be more easily handled by Alzheimer's patients, who often lose their dexterity.
The Springbok puzzles feature pictures with tranquil and pleasant images that Alzheimer's patients can relate to, including seasonal holiday images, flowers and teddy bears. To make it easier for patients to handle these puzzles, they consist of 12 or 36 large pieces. Pack also agreed to donate some of the proceeds from his sales to Puzzles to Remember.
"Doing a puzzle stimulates at least three areas of the brain," Pack says. "One of them is problem-solving. It's similar to exercising a muscle. It tends to retard the advancement of the disease. And it's mentally stimulating for the patient."
Positive results
Bob DeMarco in Delray Beach, Fla., founder of the blog Alzheimer's Reading Room, has worked with Wallack to get out the word on the soothing effect of puzzle play. "When a patient starts to do a puzzle and it works, they become more engaged. They can have a brighter look on their face," says DeMarco, who cares for his 94-year-old mother with Alzheimer's. "It makes them more engaged with people around them."
Two years ago, Robert Stern, director of the Clinical Core of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at Boston University's School of Medicine, began working with Wallack, who volunteers a half-day a week as a research intern at the facility. "There are many different approaches being used to improve the functioning of Alzheimer's patients," Stern says. "Puzzles, especially easy ones, are another approach to exploiting another part of the brain that is intact."
The idea also gets high grades from Alzheimer's caregivers, who are seeing positive results with puzzle therapy. When patients are engaged and working with the puzzles, they aren't bored," says Carole Larkin, an independent geriatric care manager in Dallas-Fort Worth. "They probably won't remember the task, but they will remember feeling good about something, and feeling good will stick."
For Wallack, the journey from caring for his great-grandmother to starting his nonprofit has been a life-changing experience. "I began this mission in honor of my great-grandmother, but it has become much more than that by now," he says. "I am committed to becoming a geriatric psychiatrist and doing everything I can to help Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers."
Springbok Cares
[21 October 2012]
Fighting Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive and deadly form of dementia that is not part of the natural aging process. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and it is on the rise. Over 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Mostly, they are cared for by over 10 million loved ones.
Current brain research shows that some forms of mental exercise, like jigsaw puzzles, can slow the progression of this disease. Jigsaw puzzles are especially helpful as they stimulate multiple areas of the brain at once. Traditional jigsaws, however, are too difficult for advanced Alzheimer patients, causing agitation and frustration.
Puzzles to Remember are created for the Alzheimer's patient. These puzzles are the same overall dimensions as our 500-piece puzzles, but they have only 12 or 36 pieces. Much larger than even traditional children's jigsaw pieces, they are easier for Alzheimer's patients to manipulate. Plus, the nostalgic and cheerful themes are chosen for their ability to provide gentle stimulation and positive reinforcement.
Our puzzles were inspired by the work of Max Wallack, a family caregiver who saw, firsthand, the impact of Alzheimer's on his great grandmother, and the calming effect of jigsaw puzzles. When Max was 12, he created for collecting and distributing puzzles to Alzheimer's patients. From January through June of 2012, Max's organization has donated over 5,000 puzzles throughout all of North America. These puzzles include new, Puzzles to Remember from Springbok as well as "gently used" puzzles in a variety of formats Max collects himself and distributes, via financial help from American Express.
Puzzles to Remember allows us to give back to the community twice: first, through the benefit patients derive from working them and second, through the donations we make from the sale of these puzzles in November, National Alzheimer's Month. During November, Springbok Puzzles donates 50% of the proceeds from the online sale of these puzzles to Max Wallack's charity, Puzzles to Remember.

New MindStart Jigsaw Puzzles: A Perfect Fit Activity for Alzheimer’s
June 27, 2012 ~Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia damage the brain and slowly rob affected individuals of their thinking abilities. Often times, individuals stop doing things, including hobbies, which puts them at risk for a faster rate of cognitive decline. In order to be active and independent for as long as possible, these people require adaptations to the way they perform everyday tasks and hobbies. The new, innovative, large piece jigsaw puzzles designed by MindStart fit this need, providing important and beneficial activity and cognitive stimulation for people living with dementia.
Dementia, an umbrella term for conditions that cause difficulty in thinking, such as Alzheimer’s disease, currently affects 5.4 million Americans. As confusion increases for the person, they often become more inactive. This can start a cycle where the person loses skills faster, because they are not using the abilities that they still have. The new, large piece puzzles by MindStart provides activities for Alzheimer care, helping to keep the person with dementia stimulated.
Working on jigsaw puzzles has known benefits. It activates both halves of the brain: the left brain, analytic side, sees the separate pieces and how they might fit together logically; the right brain, creative side, sees the big picture and works through intuition. Exercising both sides of the brain enhances the connections between them. Also, dopamine, a brain chemical that increases learning and memory, is produced when puzzle pieces are successfully fit together.
According to a 2012 Cochrane Review of dementia research studies, the cognitive stimulation that occurs while doing activities, such as puzzles, provides a beneficial effect on the memory and thinking test scores of people with dementia. This was a benefit that was at least as good as medications, if not more so.
For individuals with dementia, their ability to set jigsaw puzzles diminishes as they lose the cognitive abilities required to do puzzles. They can adjust by changing to 100-piece, then to 50-piece puzzles, but after that their options are limited.
MindStart founder, occupational therapist Monica Heltemes, explains the reason for designing new puzzles for people living with dementia. “While treating clients in my occupational therapy practice, I came across numerous patients who had been avid puzzlers. But now, as their mental abilities had declined, their 100-plus piece puzzles would sit untouched. The puzzles had too many pieces and were visually too complex. Our only ‘next step’ option was a child’s puzzle.”
The new puzzles designed by MindStart were made for people with dementia. Features include fewer number of pieces, with 26 and 12-piece puzzle sets offered. The size of the individual puzzle pieces is large.
The images on the puzzles are designed exclusively for these puzzles. They are based on themes of everyday life, which have the added benefit of stimulating memories and topics of conversation. In addition, the images have less detail in the pictures, making it more obvious for the person of how adjacent pieces will fit together.
MindStart puzzles can be appropriate activities for the elderly not affected by dementia, as well. Their larger pieces are easier to handle for those with limited use of the hands, due to arthritis, stroke, etc. The simple images in the puzzles make them easier to put together for those with limited vision. They are also a good activity for the person who gets tired quickly.
The puzzles are an activity for dementia that requires no pre-planning. They are portable and easy for anyone to initiate with the person – family member, friend, or health-care staff. The new MindStart puzzles are a perfect fit activity for dementia care, providing cognitive stimulation, activity engagement, and opportunities for reminiscing.

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...Download all 8 books on PD and Life Skills from FREE! A miracle Miracles can happen if you believe in them. Scene setting Read the following statements. Which of them are true for you? Tick them. I believe in myself. I know I’ll be a great person someday. I love and respect other people. I listen to my parents and teachers. I don’t listen to people who say negative things. I am courageous. The first statement above is very important. You have to believe in yourself. You have to know that you are an important person. You have to know that you can do a lot of things. You have to know that you are the best. Now sit straight and say out loud: I am the best! That’s good. When you believe in yourself and know that you are the best, you can even do miracles. You can increase your grades. You can play better games. You can make lots of friends. The first and the most important thing is to believe in yourself. Then the whole world will support you. Reading Here is a true story of a little girl Angela who always said, “I can do it.” She believed in her dreams. Finally her dreams came true. Let us read how. Angela was an eleven-year-old girl. She was suffering from a nervous disease. Hence, she was unable to walk or move. Doctors said she would spend her whole life in a wheelchair. They said that Angela could never walk. But, Angela did not listen to the doctors. She believed that she would walk someday. Thus, she said, “I will definitely walk someday...

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Its Better to Have Brains Than Beauty

...INTRODUCTION The plays and prefaces of Bernard Shaw deal with many and diverse themes. At least four, however, concern themselves with evolutionary themes and ideas: Man and Superman, Back to Methusalah, The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, and Far-fetched Fables. In Man and Superman, especially the third act, the preface, and The Revolutionist's Handbook and Pocket Companion, Shaw touches on two main themes: the pursuit of man by woman and the direction of evolution, which Shaw sees as leading towards the development of the mind and brain. In Back to Methusalah, Shaw carries forward his vision of evolution as proceeding in the direction of mental development but introduces a seemingly new idea in the last play of the cycle, the antithesis of mind and body. Shaw's dualism receives its most explicit statement in the last play of the cycle although there may be indications of it in the earlier plays. The mind-body antithesis, however, derives as a philosophical problem from Descartes,1 although the antithesis also appeared in the Manichean and Gnostic heresies, the spirit, or mind, being regarded as good and the body as evil. Although the antithesis of body and mind makes its first open appearance in the Methusalah cycle, it is present, at least as an implicit assumption in Man and Superman. Don Juan continually expresses his longing for the life of contemplation, a life which is to be achieved at the expense of the body. We will deal with the presence of the mind body antithesis...

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