Brain Excellence Comes From Training Just As Physical Excellence Does

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Not only does a twenty-six-year-old graduate student at the University of Miami have a fabulous memory due to lots of effort in developing it, he is training to climb Mt Everest next year.

Nelson Dellis won the 13th Annual USA Memory Championship held March 12, 2011 in NYC with fifty mental athletes competing. None of the competitors claim to have super memory talents, but claim that it is just from regular mental exercise.

We’ve heard the term photographic memory, often confused with the phenomenon called eidetic memory. There is no such thing as truly photographic memory. Eidetic memory does actually occur in 2 – 15 percent of children and rarely occurs in adults.

An eidetic image is an afterimage that lingers in the mind’s eye for up to a few minutes before it fades away. Children who do have eidetic memory do not have even nearly perfect recall. What they visualize is typically not nearly detailed as a body of text.

It’s just all about practice and determination for these contestants.

Ronnie White, the winner in the memorization of two decks of cards, said he has a person in mind to pair with every playing card in the deck. To memorize anything you really need that picture in your mind.

To prepare for the championship, contenders go into serious training even changing their eating and living habits. Dellis said he stopped drinking alcohol three months prior to the competition and started eating blueberries and taking omega 3’s every day.

Photo By IsaacMao

Nelson Dellis also broke the record for number memorization, remembering the first hundred and seventy-eight digits of a randomly generated five-hundred-digit number, with just five minutes to study it. Dellis uses memorization techniques giving cards and numbers associations he can visualize-the name of a famous person, an action, an object.

One of the tasks was to memorize playing cards in order and be able to remember that order.  There are a number of different brain exercises where we can use ordinary playing cards.  You can sort them by suits or numbers and work at increasing your speed.  Just doing the memorization as Dellis did is a great exercise for your brain.  The associations you create in order to recall certain cards form new neuropathways in your brain.

Nelson’s  grandmother died of Alzheimer’s disease and the climb up Mt. Everest will earn money for research to help find a cure for this widespread disease. It was difficult for him to experience seeing his grandmother go through such drastic changes. He decided he wanted to make a difference in conquering this disease.

USA Memory Championship chairman and founder Tony Dottino, chairman and founder of the USA Memory Championship says that anyone who has the determination can have a good memory.

Nelson Dellis certainly has shown his determination with not only the mental training for this championship, but also with taking on the challenge of hiking Mt. Everest!

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