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Link: Handwriting, Memory, and Beyond

(Washington DC, USA, Sept. 12, 2016) The “newest,” state-of-the art, cutting-edge medical therapy for memory loss is an ancient practice: writing things down by hand. Across the world, doctors and therapists are prescribing “journaling” — the trendy term for keeping a handwritten diary — as a way to build a better memory or rebuild a fading one. According to research published in 2013 in the neurology journal Cortex, the complex sensorimotor feedback that is involved in any form of handwriting puts multiple areas of the brain into simultaneous action, encouraging brain cells to communicate and connect with one another.
Given this, it may not be coincidental that more and more states are introducing bills to require handwriting instruction. One such bill, in Alabama, has just passed into law. (NOTE: Although the Alabama law specifies cursive, the research shows that handwriting’s benefits are not limited to any one style. As the article on the bill points out, beliefs that favor cursive over the other forms of our handwriting are just that — beliefs. People who write by hand in styles other than cursive are full participants in the benefits of handwriting.)
Just how does handwriting’s power to interconnect different areas of our brains lead to larger and more lasting memory building and retention than do other widely used methods, from tying a string around one’s finger to reliance on computers as a memory substitute? The answer lies in a tiny, but hugely productive, network of cells within our brains: a “command center” called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which connects the cortex (the “thinking cap” areas of the brain) to the brain stem (which sits at the top of the spine, where it controls basic physical reflexes and patterns of movement).
The RAS, which is responsible for attention, alertness, and motivation (all of which are essential to forming and retaining vivid memories) does its job best when incoming sensorimotor stimuli involve physical actions that are just complex and varied enough to nudge our brains into full alertness.
So far, the research suggests that handwriting in some form is far better at providing the necessary level of stimulation than are other ways of storing information for later recall. In other words, writing down a list of personal goals or other crucial information by hand (rather than typing it or simply repeating it over and over in an effort to memorize) stimulates our “command center” to focus attention on what we are writing down — vastly raising the odds that important information will be retained, and that crucial personal goals will be remembered and reached.
To read complete report Go To: (Source: Two Sides, USA)

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