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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 30, 2011

At A Glance

UI study: Brain training exercises improve cognitive function

Brain training exercises are more effective at improving cognitive function than simply performing knowledge or ingenuity games, such as crossword puzzles, according to an interim report from the Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study (IHAMS).

The study, led by principal investigator Fred Wolinsky, Ph.D., professor of health management and policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, found that just 10 hours of using the brain training software improved cognitive function on several standard neuropsychological tests, in both clinical settings or on a personal computer at home. The study also found that the brain training software worked equally well for both younger (60-64 year old) and older (65-87 year old) participants.

The findings were published in the journal BMJ Open and presented this week at the Gerontological Society of America's annual scientific meeting.

IHAMS is a follow up to the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) multi-site study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Both studies put participants through a series of complex computer tasks to improve visual processing speed.


UI Press publishes two volumes of poetry scholarship in December

The University of Iowa Press will release two new volumes of poetry scholarship in December: Poetry After Cultural Studies, edited by Heidi R. Bean and Mike Chasar; and Hold-Outs: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance, 1948-1992 by Bill Mohr, an addition to the Contemporary North American Poetry Series.

The books will be available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press, 800-621-2736 or Customers in Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group at

In eight essays, Poetry after Cultural Studies elucidates the potential of poetry scholarship when joined with cultural studies. Bean teaches English at Bridgewater State University, and Chasar teaches English at Willamette University.

In Hold-Outs Mohr, long a figure on the Los Angeles poetry scene, reveals the complicated evolution of the literary landscape in a city famous for its production of corporate culture.


Old Capitol Museum hosts 'History Time: Winter on the Prairie' Dec. 3

The University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum will host the children's program "History Time: Winter on the Prairie" from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in the Museum's Discovery Center. This free public program caters to children age 4 and older and features readings from Laura Ingalls Wilder books and demonstrations of winter crafts that were popular in the late 1800s.
The Old Capitol Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays and national holidays. For more information, visit, call 319-335-0546, or email


Latitude Ensemble welcomes guest artist Fitch to improv performance Dec. 6

The Latitude Ensemble, an improvisational chamber music ensemble of faculty and students in the University of Iowa School of Music, will welcome singer/actor/dancer Kimberly Fitch to a free performance at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the University Capitol Centre Recital Hall.

Since moving to Iowa six years ago, Fitch has been a soloist with the Des Moines Symphony for the Beethoven 9th Symphony and the "Lord of the Rings" Symphony. She has been a frequent guest artist with the Westminster Arts Series, in works including the Mozart Requiem and John Tavener's "Lamentations and Praises."

She also operates an organic farm in southern Iowa, where she rescues thoroughbred racehorses. Learn more about her at

Led by faculty members Jeffrey Agrell and John Manning, the Latitude Ensemble sometimes creates instant compositions with Soundpainting, a well-developed system of gestures that directs and molds improvisational performances. Audience members should expect the unexpected, including being asked to contribute to the live performance in various ways.


'Lessons Learned in Cuba' is topic of percussionist Spiro lecture Dec. 7
Ida Beam visitor and world percussionist Michael Spiro will present a free, public lecture from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, in Room 1117, University Capitol Centre, on his extensive travel within Cuba and how his experiences have shaped his ideas about teaching.
Spiro's presentation, titled "Lessons Learned in Cuba: Integrating Traditional Wisdom with Modern Pedagogy," will explore how his ideas on teaching have evolved and developed as a result of his early visits to Cuba, especially in relation to his work developing curriculum in higher education institutions.
Spiro is professor of world percussion in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He has travelled annually to Cuba since 1984.
This lecture is sponsored by the Caribbean, Diaspora and Atlantic Studies program in International Programs, the Division of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program. 
Spiro will also be featured in a free concert at the Englert Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8. For more information on Spiro's visit, contact James Dreier at or 319-621-6002.


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Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program, please contact the sponsoring department in advance.