Can Beer Improve Memory?

Hey Memory Masters!

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and we all know that green beer will be flowing. Everyone knows that drinking too much green beer can make you forget…but can beer also improve your memory?

A recent study found that flavonoids found in the hops that make beer can improve the cognitive flexibility and higher level thinking in mice. But this was only true for younger mice, not the older mice.

To read the full details of this study click here: Hops in Beer May Improve Memory

Can beer help improve your memory?

Flavonoids, like those in hops, are found in many plants and vegetables that we consume. The research suggests that a healthy diet earlier in life can help kids to form memories and perform higher level thinking. This is more proof that choosing a healthy diet can definitely impact your brain and memory.

But what’s the catch?

Beer Hops

Before you grab a case of beer and tell everyone that the memory guy said it would improve your memory, realize that you would have to drink about 2000 litres of beer each day to get the right amount of flavonoid for it be effective. That’s more than 500 US gallons!

The real lesson here is that adding a little supplement or more nutritious diet can make a big difference in your memory. But if I had titled this blog better food improves your memory, you probably would not have opened it so quickly. Obviously you will not give beer to kids. But teaching kids to eat a well-balanced diet and getting them involved with meal planning is the next best thing.

So the next time you drink a beer on the patio, remember to tell all your friends about the beer-hops-flavonoid connection to better memory.


Dave Farrow
Farrow Inc.

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Tune in to The Dr. Oz Show Dec. 2nd to see Dave Farrow’s Brain Hacks!


Hey Memory Masters,

I am proud to announce I will be going back on one of the top rated US daytime TV shows on Dec 2nd……

Tune in to The Dr. Oz Show Dec. 2nd, 2015 to see me (Dave Farrow) give useful Brain Hacks.

This time they put me on for two segments and you can’t miss it. Watch me meditate with Dr. Oz himself with a special technique to raise body temperature with all kinds of health benefit’s!  This meditation technique, I learned from Tibetan monks at the temple in Toronto and I am happy to bring it to a western TV audience.

I also show the audience how to use my Farrow Focus Burst technique to overcome stress, ADHD and improve productivity.

Finally, we end the show with the Farrow Brain Dance used to stimulate the brain and memory. You can’t miss this fun and scientifically grounded show!

Here are some photos from behind the scenes:

NFL star Steve Weatherford, posing with me backstage.

NFL star Steve Weatherford, posing with me backstage.

Here I am guiding the meditation.

Here I am guiding the meditation.

Here are my two amazing employees, Arden and Alyssa. Thanks for coming to the show to support me. (arden took this picture to show her brother and didn’t notice it was the sign to the bathroom.)

Here are my two amazing employees, Arden and Alyssa. Thanks for coming to the show to support me. (arden took this picture to show her brother and didn’t notice it was the sign to the bathroom.)

The man himself. He is a true professional. Thank you so much for both of my appearances on the show.

The man himself. He is a true professional. Thank you so much for both of my appearances on the show.

No matter how many shows I’ve been on, filming for a big show can be chaotic and stressful.  But I want to thank the Dr. Oz staff and crew for making the experience pleasant and stress-free.  Thank you for all the hard work.

And to my fans and customers, thanks for always following my blog and appearances.  Please check out for our latest holiday discounts.

Happy Thanksgiving!


In the makeup chair backstage.

In the makeup chair backstage.


A few last minute notes before filming.

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Canada’s Best Memory – 2015 Tournament Results


Hey Memory Masters,

We just finished up the 2015 Canada’s Best Memory Tournament at the Science Centre in Toronto, Canada.  It was even better than we expected.

Canada's Best Memory 2015 at Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada

Canada’s Best Memory 2015 at Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada


Here are the highlights:

We had a seminar in the morning and the competition in the afternoon and it was a great formula because the majority of competitors were brand new to the sport.  We had several teachers bring their students and plan to expand this number throughout next year!   With over 40 people participating it is definitely a trendy new tournament.

In addition to the players there was local press on Jazz FM.91 in Toronto, Newstalk 1010AM in Toronto and Zoomer Radio, some of the highest rated media in Toronto, just to name a few.

Now we need your help to reach our next goal.  We want this tournament in every school in Canada and we are on our way to doing it. We had a morning seminar to teach the basics for memory improvement and competing in memory sports.  In attendance were teachers and students from Toronto area high schools and people like you who are interested in improving memory for school, personal and work-life success.

For any teachers or students who want to start a school memory club or host a school-wide tournament, please contact “Mrs. Memory” by emailing or calling our office at 1 866 949 6868.  Hosting clubs and tournaments is perfect for getting students involved in a fun extra-curricular activity that teaches practical skills for academic success.  Remember, only our memory tournament game is specifically designed to improve test taking and performance for kids in school while also being a great memory boost for us older people.  Who wouldn’t want to remember more, in less time, with greater ease?!

In the afternoon we held the tournament.  Unlike traditional memory competitions that look and feel more like school examinations, our tournament features 1-on-1 matches between players.  Each match has a winner who advances to the next round of “pyramid” style play.  Match by match, players are eliminated until there is just one winner.

Pyramid-style elimination matches determined winners in 3 categories:  Words, Numbers, Playing Cards

For every 1-on-1 match we also track points per item memorized, so even eliminated players have a chance to win if they simply memorized a lot of information.  There are several ways to win a title. Points are tallied for every player in every match, even players eliminated from the pyramid-style play.  With multiple ways for players to win prizes and certificates, it really creates a competitive atmosphere.

Best Points in a match determined our overall winners for:  Best New Player, Best International Player, and Best Canadian Players ranking 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

We were lucky enough to also have Canadian memory expert Anthony Metivier attend in a journalistic capacity.  He went head to head with Dave Farrow as an expert in the Playing Cards category.  We look forward to seeing more expert players in upcoming tournaments in Canada and the United States.

Dave Farrow and Anthony Metivier

Dave Farrow and Anthony Metivier

Here are the 2015 winners:


2015 Best in Words (New Player)

Best in Words: Letisha Baptiste


2015 Best in Numbers (New Player)

Best in Numbers: Alexei Gavriline


2015 Best in Playing Cards (New Player)

Best in Playing Cards: Dennis Gavriline


2015 Best New Player

Best New Player: Alexei Gavriline


2015 Canadian 1st Place

1st Place Canadian Player: Dave Farrow


2015 Canadian 2nd Place

2nd Place Canadian Player: Alexei Gavriline


2015 Canadian 3rd Place

3rd Place Canadian Player: Dennis Gavriline

Best International Player: Dave Farrow – Yes, he is a Dual Canadian and U.S. Citizen.  Next year we hope to have stronger competitors to bump him off this throne!

We will be hosting the American Memory Tournament in February, in association with E-Bay and many other smaller tournaments in Canada and the United States, so watch for details.  We look forward to seeing both new and expert players and welcome experts to take on these challenges in our exciting new tournaments.


Andrea Zakel-Farrow

Mrs Memory


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Memory and the Levels of Learning


Hey Memory Masters,

This week, today’s memory tip is a question from Igor, a memory enthusiast.  Igor asks:

“How did you become a top expert in nano-technology at such a young age? And what do you think about people who say that memory is not real learning?”

My Answer: When people put down memory they are really saying we need to go higher in the “levels of learning” and not just rely on memory alone. Check out this chart of Anderson’s Levels of Learning:

The Levels of Learning

The Levels of Learning

Step #1. Remembering or Knowledge. This is being able to identify an item. Example: That’s a pencil!

Step #2. Understanding. This is being able to explain a concept. Example: You tell a friend how to write and draw with a pencil.

Step #3. Applying or Using the item. Example: You can shade and erase and write with the pencil, and even sharpen it too.

Step #4. Analysing the item. You can look at the item, think about the item. Example: The pencil is made of graphite and wood and will last me another week or so before I need to replace it.

Step #5. Evaluating. You can decide, based on your observations, how good the item is and gain a deeper understanding. Example: This pencil is mechanical and the other one is wooden. They are different.

Step #6. Creating. You can make the item. Example: You can make a new pencil.

Whatever you do, don’t try to skip a level. Skipping a level just leads to a wrong understanding of the subject. It’s like trying to change a tire without knowing how tools work you’ll get hurt. Even though Remembering information is at the bottom of the chart, it is still very important. Remembering is the foundation for knowledge and the memory work involved at the base of learning usually involves the most amount of work. With memory techniques you can learn information faster and begin to Understand and Apply your knowledge in an easier manner.

Here is another way to think of it.

1st Level of Learning: Memory
2nd Level: Memory + Connecting Memories or Organizing Memories
3rd Level: Memory + Organization + Physical Application or “Doing”
4th Level: Memory + Organization + Application + Logic for Deeper Understanding
5th Level: Memory + Organization + Application + Logic + Conclusions or Judgements
6th Level: Memory + Organization + Application + Logic + Conclusions + Creativity

As I have traveled through these levels in the pursuit of better engineering and design skills, I can say from experience that in order to invent or create you need all the stages that come before it. Never try to skip a step or you risk not fully understanding an idea. When I started to build my FarrowBOT I needed all may knowledge of how the materials (resin, silicone etc) work as well as 3d design and even computer programming in this case Arduino other micro controllers, before I could even think of making one complex part. Every time I ran into a snag and had to change my design it was like going back to school to learn new terms and concepts.

Back to Igor’s question on my personal experience with nano-technology and how I became an expert seemingly overnight….

I sped read through nearly all the available case studies and patents on nano tech. I only memorized the relevant data and kept a “map” of it, organizing it into different categories or industries in my mind with the room method. It helped that this was very early in nano-technology, before there were too many studies to possibly read. I organized the information in my mind with “pegs” to also remember which companies were involved. One peg would represent one technology and I would add it to the case study for the company using said technology. This made things easier because although there were many different attempts at new products, there were only a few processes used to make them. For example, there are many companies making “lab-on-a-chip” devices or “Micro-electromechanical systems,” but most of them used the same machine process, such as Excimer Lasers and Masking, Self-assembly or Nano-Lithography.

Once I had the data and I made connections, I was more knowledgeable than many professors. I was invited to speak to many groups and conferences on nano-tech and was hired by several companies. I also started my own company called Accella Scientific. Keep in mind that nano-technology started in the private sector, in industry. At first, the only experts in nano-tech were people working in companies whereas in universities, most professors had no clue what was happening in the field until they too went through these stages of learning for this new technology. Once professors understood nano-tech, I was not so unique anymore, but the experience lead me to my current career in design. I also would never have been able to start my new company, FarrowBOT Inc., that I believe will be my Mona Lisa when it comes to design. Stay tuned for more updates on FarrowBOT in posts to come.

So if you have a passion for a new technology or art please don’t hold yourself back. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the education or the background… Just do it. The only reason I know all that I know is that I haven’t let others opinions of me define me. I hope you do the same.


Dave Farrow

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Recently Featured in Forbes Magazine!


Hey Memory Masters,


Reminder: The Official 2015 Canadian Memory Tournament is happening in Toronto, Canada on Oct. 17th – it’s part seminar and part brain training competition and a lot of fun. If you haven’t registered yet, you must experience this event:

It’s Andrea, Dave’s wife again. I’m so excited to share a Forbes Magazine interview featuring my amazing husband Dave and our growing business.


Most of you know Dave Farrow as the Guinness Record Holder for memory – the fun memory guy who wears an Egyptian hat to help you remember his name.

Some of you also know from our emails that we started a public relations company. FarrowPR specializes in mnemonic branding and combines the science of memory and brain training with the art of marketing and branding – we make you and your company memorable to your clients. FarrowPR has grown from one person to eight employees and a nice office in Williamsville, NY. We have clients that range from restaurants to App Developers. This company has also given Farrow Memory a boost and the Farrow Method is in more schools and companies than ever before.

What you may not know is that Dave set out to break the Guinness Record for more than just fame and prestige. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to have “15 minutes of fame” and have such a unique title. Dave is very modest and when people don’t know who he is, it’s usually me bragging about him as a proud wife. But his real reason for breaking two Guinness Records (1996, 52 decks and 2007, 59 decks), was very practical. He did it to gain credibility in his field and start his business.

Memory Experts and Brain Trainers do not typically belong to credited institutions like colleges or universities. You can’t just take a college course to get a PhD in memory and brain training. It just doesn’t exist yet.

However, the instant global recognition and credibility associated with the Guinness Book of Records is well-known. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records as an institution holds such high standards that only the best of the best are ever approved.

The application and approval process alone to become a record holder is so intensely scrutinized and only recognized individual record holders can use the Guinness logos. For such a major record like memorizing 59 decks of playing cards it’s comparable to earning a degree. First, you have to memorize such a large amount of information and secondly, you have to prove without a doubt that you broke the record. If you don’t pay around $8000.00 in expenses to bring a Guinness Record Official to your record-breaking event, then numerous witnesses, documents, videos and news media is required to even be approved. And don’t forget, you have to actually succeed at the record breaking attempt.

There is no doubt in my mind that a Guinness Record is comparable to a college degree in terms of credibility – it connects your name to a larger, more recognizable institution.

Dave broke two highly regarded memory records to essentially prove his worth in his field, but he isn’t the first. Other recognizable companies and brands have broken records, to achieve wider fame or make the news with publicity stunts. The Forbes article highlights beautifully the creative nature of record breakers in general and the pure drive and ambition of my husband Dave.

Forbes Magazine Article:

And here is text from the article, reprinted from Forbes:


He Set A Guinness World Record For PR–Should You?

Cheryl Conner – Contributor

Many marketers looking to launch their companies onto the “radar” of customers adore the idea of setting a world record in…anything. But here’s the story of an executive who actually did, and how it worked out for his business.

Dave Farrow, a PR professional and entrepreneur, runs a boutique PR agency in upstate New York. Among his other ventures he owns a company that specializes in memory management. That company has an interesting genesis. Farrow developed his product to address his own severe battle with ADHD. He had refused to address his challenge with medication and chose to work with his tendencies instead. He mastered his focus and memory challenges and formulated his strategy into a product, The Farrow Memory Program. To promote the program Farrow set a Guinness World Record for memory twice, memorizing the exact order of 52 decks of cards to set his first record in 1996, and then broke the record again in 2007 by memorizing 59 decks of cards in one sighting—a total of 3,068 cards.

The secret is to make your own company "memorable" says memory expert Dave Farrow (Image courtesy of

In 2008 he used his memory in a PR campaign for Sony that readers may remember, to promote their PRS-700 Sony Reader. As part of Sony’s Reader Revolution campaign, Farrow lived in a DataVision store window on Fifth Avenue, New York City for 30 days. In an effort to increase the awareness and engagement of consumers with digital reading. Sony promised that for each page Farrow read, the company would give 100 EBook classics to an education institution. During the campaign, Farrow read a total of 44,097 pages, equating to 102 books.

Sounds like a great route to global attention, yes? Jamie Antoniou, B2B Product Managing leader for Guinness World Records, as interviewed by MaccaPR, can tell you about the record-breaking attempts of numerous companies including the mother of all record setting events enacted on October 14, 2012 for Red Bull Stratos that broke multiple records (including largest audience for a live stream advertisement) when it spent $20 million to sponsor daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s free-fall from a helium balloon at 128,000 feet.

Other world records set for marketing purposes include the following:

  • Tang (largest donation of toys in 24 hours),
  •  Coca-Cola KO -0.06% (longest drink pouring relay)
  • Virgin Mobile (most people crammed into a Mini Cooper),
  • POM Wonderful juice (longest airborne inflatable beach ball relay)
  • Nissan (largest indoor illuminated advertising billboard)
  • Priceline Pharmacy (world’s longest chain of selfies)
  • Italy’s Piazzagrande (world’s largest tiramisu)
  • Domino’s (most pizzas – 7,539 pies – made in 24 hours)
  • British Airways (highest performance of the Harlem Shake)
  • Weetabix Breakfast Drinks (world’s fastest milk float)
  • De’Longhi (largest cup of coffee)
  • Smirnoff vodka (largest anamorphic painting)
  • Big League Chew (most people – 721 of them – blowing a bubble gum bubble simultaneously)

Record setting is open to everyone. In Salt Lake City, for example, Salt Lake Comic Con (disclosure: they have been a client of my agency in the past, but we are not involved in this event) is currently aiming to break a record for the world’s largest gathering of people dressed up as comic book characters this month. (Apparently 1,530 is the number to beat.)

Was it worth it? Here’s what Farrow said: “Going for the Guinness Record was one of the smartest things I ever did. But not because it immediately starts a business–it doesn’t.   There are a number of Guinness Record holders who are flipping burgers. It does not guarantee you will be rich overnight. What my Guinness Record did do was connect my name to something much larger than me.  It gave me credibility the same way someone can walk into a room and say ‘I’m a Harvard grad,’ I can walk into a room and say ‘I’m a Guinness World Record holder.’” It is important to note that a Guinness Record is not the only way to achieve this. There are other ways as well, such as charity work, or to become a YouTube video star. But for Farrow, the Guinness Record was an ideal fit.

“In my company I try to find something equivalent to that achievement for every client, that can make them unique or connect them to an organization or credential that is much bigger than them,” Farrow adds. “In a way, PR is like a Guinness Record.  It is doing something that links your name to something that is much bigger (like doing an interview on a pervasive news story or them on a radio show or on a major news station.)”

I note that in Farrow’s case he often does a visual pun on the word “Pharoah” (which equates to great knowledge and brilliance as part of his marketing around his memory program.) So in photos and keynote speeches he’s often pictured wearing a Pharoah headdress, and running an “Ask the Pharoah” routine. (He’s even done this on television, as he did, for example, when he appeared on Dr. Oz).

Farrow performed a "pharoah" routine for Dr. Oz (Image courtesy of

As to Farrow’s additional wisdom on the ways entrepreneurs can best achieve great PR, he had the following wisdom to share:

Cheryl Connor: What are the greatest PR feats you’ve accomplished that might pose some ideas entrepreneurs could try and could be successful with?

Dave Farrow: The greatest PR feat I’ve personally accomplished is selling more than $170k product in a single radio interview and $250k in a single TV spot,” Farrow says.  “Interviewing is an art. It is about story telling.  Entrepreneurs often think they will get the most outcome from being interviewed on huge shows. This is not always true. It’s about how you tell your story.  For example, a memory competitor of mine (also a personal friend) went on the Martha Stewart Show at the exact same time I went on Regis and Kelly. These shows have exactly same viewership. I did $28k in sales and he did $350 in sales. He sent me an email afterwards saying ‘I’m going back to speaking. Sales is not for me. How did you do this?’ The lesson to take away: It matter’s how you tell your story. Live interview skills are an art.

Connor: Do you think entrepreneurs can succeed without an agency?

Farrow: There is a huge learning curve in doing your own PR. I learned from a series of mentors that did it before. They weren’t an agency but these people are experts in PR and they took me under their wing. Unless you work with someone who is on the inside and who has done it before, you have very little chance of figuring it out through trial and error in one lifetime. Actually, I would consider it impossible to ‘accidentally’ figure out PR. It has to be something that you learn from someone who has done it. Nothing that can replace that experience.

Connor: What about setting a world record? Worth it? If you had it to do again would you do your own PR differently in any way (relative to the award)?

Farrow: I definitely made mistakes with my own PR. I read every self-publicity, marketing and PR book I could get my hands on. But some things I did right. (Part of it is the nature of my niche. I was able to make my name and my brand memorable.) I stumbled my way through, as anyone would the first time around.  If I could go back and do things differently I definitely would.  But I can be satisfied now in doing my very best for my clients.

Do you have additional questions for Dave? If so, feel free to “ask the Pharoah” via the comment section below.


Until next time,

Andrea Zakel-Farrow

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The Secret to Faster Learning With No Fatigue!


Hey Memory Masters,

Today’s tip is on speed learning. The Farrow Memory Tournament is designed to make students learn faster.

Reminder:  the Official 2015 Canadian Memory Tournament is happening in Toronto, Canada on Oct. 17th – it’s part seminar and part brain training competition and a lot of fun. If you haven’t registered yet, you must experience this event:

On Tuesday evening, I held a memory contest at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY. Thanks so much to the staff and students who brought me to campus to liven up study skills.

SUNY OCC brings Dave Farrow to Campus

SUNY OCC brings Dave Farrow, Farrow Method for Speed Learning to Campus

You may be wondering what these memory games have to do with higher learning. Farrow Memory does brain games differently than everyone else for a reason and it’s the secret to learning faster than anyone on the planet. This is real learning, not just cramming or skimming for a test and then forgetting the information a week later.

When you really engage your brain the results are permanent and powerful.

If you are a student studying for a future test…
If you are an adult learning a new language…
If you are a professional brushing up on the latest business news…

Imagine sitting down to study something and not getting tired and not feeling even the slightest fatigue even after hours of study. That is the power of the Farrow Focus Method, and it is the basis for our memory games.

The Secret is that Students who practice using our interval training, the Farrow Focus Method, cut study time by more than half and perform better on tests. The secret is in your brain’s chemistry.

When you perform mental tasks like memory and problem solving you use up helpful brain chemistry like Dopamine and produce chemistry that helps you fall asleep. Your brain is a natural machine that is really good at handling these high powered mental tasks in short chunks. Originally I developed this method to training the brains of ADHD kids including my own brain. Since 1992 when I developed this theory it has been copied and referenced thousands of times for focus issues but the Farrow Focus Method is still the original and the most effective. The method teaches you how to get mental tasks done in very small intervals of high intensity. By triggering this high intensity the brain stays alert. By keeping the focus bursts down to as little as 5-8 minutes it keeps you from burning out.

It takes practice and proper instruction to master this interval training but when it helps make focus and memory become something you are in control of – not something that controls you.

For more information on the Canadian Memory Tournament visit:

Until next time, don’t forget me, because I won’t forget you.

Dave Farrow

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Teenagers, Sleep and Memory


Hey Memory Masters,


It’s Andrea again, Dave’s wife. This week my memory tip is about teenagers getting enough sleep.

It’s a well-known fact that teenagers like to sleep. They can easily sleep until noon and dread the early morning alarm clock that signals the start of the school day. However, with Back-to-School upon us and early morning school start times, the teenage brain can really suffer.

I read an article recently about the effects of early school start times and how it affect different school aged kids, specifically teens. In a nut-shell, it said that forcing teens to wake up too early for school is counter-intuitive to getting the best test results and overall academic accomplishments. The article referenced information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which advises high schools to start later in the day to accommodate this data. Furthermore, in some schools or districts the elementary schools and high schools have staggered start times with the teenagers starting earlier than the elementary students; based on research and recommendations from the C.D.C., the article suggests that parents should engage in discussions with schools to flip-flop these staggered times. In the very least, parents and teachers should open the discussion about later school start times for teens, so they can put their best brain forward.

So what time of morning is too early for a teen’s brain to learn?


According to the article, any time before 8:30am is too early for the teenage brain to function at its best.

In my own school years, I was lucky enough to attend schools that started at 9:00am. I had to wake up as early as 7:00am to shower, catch my bus and commute, but actual classes didn’t start until 9:00am. The hour-long bus ride each morning and afternoon allowed me to nap, in cases where getting enough sleep was a problem. But in other districts this wasn’t the case. In Dave’s school years, classes started at 8:00am and in high school he was late to school almost every day, and he even lived in walking distance to school!

Any parent can tell you that toddlers wake up way too early and teens wake up way too late. Currently as parents of a toddler, Dave and I look forward to sleeping in, which is any time after 7:00am. Eventually our boy will grow up, attend school and sleep in as a teenager. I know the value of a 9:00am school start time, so what will we do if our schools start earlier than 8:30am? I’m not afraid to say that I may challenge the start time or give parental permission to arrive at school late each day.

So how can you work within a system that forces teens to wake up their body before their brains are ready?

Here are a few general tips:


1 – Parents, teachers, and even the teens themselves can and should open a dialogue with the school or district where they attend. The more people asking for change, the more the system will be willing to accommodate. Be sure to provide accurate C.D.C. data and research on sleep and school start times.

Here is the article I read:
Here is the full C.D.C. report:

2 – Parents can teach good sleep habits to kids. Set bed times based on age of the child but also count backwards from set wake-up times to ensure that kids are actually getting enough sleep. This goes for parents as well!

3 – Eliminate bed-time distractions. For younger kids, avoid sugary snacks or scary movies. For older kids, try to limit gaming and other online activity. Bedtime should be about relaxing and winding down for sleep.

4 – Talk to your kids about the importance of sleep. Make sure they know that it’s just as important to overall health as good diet and exercise.

These bed time tips are very general and meant to encourage discussion about what works for you and your family. But ultimately, the goal is to get a better sleep or more sleep, for best brain health in school the next day.

If you have other stories to share or tips to give on this topic, remember to leave a comment below or email to


Andrea Zakel-Farrow
“Mrs. Memory”


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Backpack Brain


Hey Memory Masters,


Back-to-school time is around the corner. This week the focus is on “Backpack Brain” and the hazards of carrying too much homework weight in your school bag.

In addition to well-known warnings about the dangers to the spine, lower back and posture from carrying heavy backpacks to school, my FarrowPR client Bob Prichard of the Somax Institute, is now warning parents about another potential danger–reducing the amount of oxygen going to the brain. Less oxygen to the brain leads to poor test results and forgetfulness.

“As kids tense up their chest and shoulder muscles to support heavy backpacks,” says Prichard, “their connective tissue thinks they have broken some ribs and starts to form microfibers or mild scar tissue between the muscles to immobilize the area–just like an internal cast. The problem is that these microfibers not only do not go away after the backpack is put down, they tend to accumulate over time, gradually reducing the amount of movement in the rib cage. This in turn reduces the amount of oxygen going to the brain.”

The brain uses 4X more oxygen than the muscles, so when oxygen is reduced, the brain is the first part of the body to suffer.

When researchers gave students pure oxygen, they were better able to solve complex problems.

“Backpack Brain” can also affect adults, even years after you’ve graduated.

The Somax Institute works with clients to release microfibers and scar tissues as part of its program to improve sports performance. Parents of young swimmers in Somax swim camps report that their kids improve their school grades, and are able to handle more difficult classes like physics.

One adult runner, for example, cut a minute per mile off his running pace after completing his Somax program. But he also received two promotions and three raises in pay because he was able to solve difficult programming problems more efficiently due to his expanded breathing.

Two psychologists studied Somax clients to see the impact of expanding breathing ranges on their mood and self-image. They gave each client the 200-word Adjective Check List before starting their Somax program. First they checked off those adjectives that applied to them. Then they completed the test a second time and checked off those adjectives that applied to their ideal self. After completing the Somax program, they competed the two tests again. The psychologists were amazed at the results.

“The results of this study give a good indication of what happens to a brain that has to operate with reduced oxygen. It is a brain that is more likely to suffer from mild depression, poor self-image and hostility. It also does not do well solving complex problems in school.”

To discover if your child is suffering from “Backpack Brain,” all you need is a cloth tape measure and these simple directions.


1. Have them lie on their back with their knees up and feet flat on the floor.

2. While they are at rest, measure and write down the circumference of their stomach, diaphragm and chest.

3. With the tape measure around their stomach, have them take a deep breath (make sure they breathe in both their stomach and chest). Note the new circumference (it should be bigger) and then have them exhale all their air and note that circumference (it should be smaller than resting circumference). Write down how many inches of movement for the stomach.

4. Repeat this process for the diaphragm and chest.

5. Divide the amount of movement in each area by the resting circumference. This will give you their breathing percentage.

Kids and adults who do not have restricted breathing have breathing percentage of 15% or more in each range. A child with a 30″ stomach will be able to move 4.5″. A child with a 34″ chest moves a minimum of 5.1″. An adult with a 40″ chest moves a minimum of 6″.

Carrying heavy backpacks, even done years ago, constricts movement in these three areas, but is not the only cause of restricted breathing. Chronic colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, getting the wind knocked out of you, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and lifting weights all cause restriction in breathing.

And for any journalists reading my blog, Bob is available for interviews on this subject just in time for the back to school rush.

Just contact my office to schedule an interview:

Alyssa Longo – FarrowPR


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Brain Dance and Other Brain-boosting Summer Activities

Hey Memory Masters,

Who wants to be stuck inside on sunny summer days?

I know I don’t so this week I’m giving memory tips that get you outside and moving.

When I was interviewed on “Live! With Regis and Kelly” I got Regis to do a silly dance that I like to call the Brain Dance. You can watch a clip here:

The Brain Dance is a way to connect the two hemispheres of the brain together. When you move the right side of your body you use the left hemisphere of your brain and when you move your left side of your body, you use the right hemisphere of your brain. So if you touch your right hand to your left knee for example, you are connecting the two brain hemispheres.

You can make this into a silly Brain Dance like I did with Regis and Kelly and also get your body moving with physical activity. It’s well known that physical activity improves overall fitness, so why not add brain boosting activities to your exercise routine. For people with busy schedules, using exercise as a brain builder can also save time.

So how can you turn your outdoors vacation time into brain-building activities too?

1 – Make your own version of the Brain Dance. As long as you cross one side of your body to connect with the other side, the variations are endless. Right elbow to left foot. Left hand to right hip. It’s a fun way to get kids involved, so get creative.

2 – Brain Dance in the Pool. Try the Brain Dance in the water next time you go swimming. I dare you. The cross-side movements are slower and more difficult under water. And if you have to dunk your head underwater and hold your breath to touch your hand to your foot, it adds to the challenge.

3 – Brain Dance on a Rollercoaster. Next time you visit a theme park, try doing cross-side movements on rides. Always follow safety instructions for rides. But if you can touch your right hand to your left ear or left wrist to your right shoulder while you scream your lungs out on a ride, it’ll really wake up your brain.

4 – Pat your head and rub your tummy. This age old kid’s activity is almost a no-brainer. Even though you don’t cross sides, you still use both sides at the same time with different actions. If it’s difficult, keep doing it!

5 – Use a hula hoop while singing your favourite song. The challenge of the hula hoop plus remembering the lyrics to the song is scary enough if you can’t hula hoop. If song lyrics are too easy, try multiplication tables.

6 – Use your non-dominant hand for regular everyday activities. If you are left handed, use your right hand to do things like brush your teeth, open a bottle or print your name. For outdoor fun, try using the opposite hand to throw a Frisbee or the opposite foot to kick a ball. If you are up to the challenge, try swinging a baseball bat or golf club with the opposite hands.

7 – Learn to juggle. If your kids leave balls laying around the house or the yard, try picking them up and learning to juggle. Search the internet for instructions or videos and get started. Even if you are bad at it, dropping balls, you can squat to pick them up and get a killer thigh and leg workout.

Try out these activities and get creative. We always love feedback so if you have a funny story about trying these activities we’d love to hear it.

Until next time, enjoy the summer and don’t forget me because I won’t forget you.

Dave Farrow

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10 Unique Recipes Using Top Brain Foods

10 Unique Recipes

Using Top Brain Foods


1 – Grilled Chicken Breasts -Blueberry-Shallot Relish

Brain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes - Grilled Chicken Breasts with Blueberry-Shallot Relish

Blueberries are a popular ‘super food’ packed with antioxidants…but what does this have to do with brain health?  Scientists found that blueberries contain flavonoids., compounds that interact with nerve cells, increasing the communication between them and stimulating the regeneration of brain cells. Source 

Check out this savory recipe for Pan-Grilled Chicken Breasts with Blueberry-Shallot Relish

2 – Savory Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt CrostiniBrain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes - Chocolate Sea Salt Crostini

Chocolate is another food packed with flavonoids. A study from Italy shows that people eating a high intake of chocolate performed better on a series of memory, verbal fluency and other cognition tests. In general, dark chocolate has more flavonoids, but be careful!  The “percent cocoa” listed on some labels is not a reliable gauge. When cocoa powder is highly processed—called Dutch or alkali processed—flavonoids are destroyed. Source 

Check out this recipe for Savory Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Crostini

Cruciferous veggies like kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of Sulforaphane, a compound that is believed to help improve learning and memory abilities following brain injury.   Although many people sneak these leafy greens into their diet by hiding them in smoothies, Ellie Krieger’s recipe for Smokey Kale Chips makes them the star!

4 – Alpha Omega SaladBrain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes-Alpha Omega Salad

Seeds are rich in vitamin E which is very good for brain health and functioning. One ounce of dry-roasted sunflower seeds contains 30% of your recommended daily intake. Sprinkle them on top of your salad or make Alpha Omega Salad which features seeds and wheat berries.

5 – Caprese Salad Skewers Farrow Memory -  Brain Food - Caprese Salad Skewer

There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.
 Check out the recipe for Caprese Salad Skewers



6 – Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers with Peanut SauceBrain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes - Peanut Butter

Peanut butter contain high levels of niacin, which is linked to the reduction in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The niacin contained within peanut butter helps in the recovery of cell damage of the brain, which provides protection against this disease.

Try this peanut packed recipe for Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers 


7 – Honey Wasabi Glazed Salmon
Brain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes - Salmon

We know that Omega 3 fatty acids are good for you, but why?  It is because sixty percent of your brain is composed of fatty acids and more than two-thirds of them are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish like Salmon.  DHA coats your neurons, or brain cells and makes up a majority of their cell membrane, the cell’s outer coating. Source

Check out this paleo recipe for Honey Wasabi Glazed Salmon

8 – Udon Noodles with Kale and AvocadoBrain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes - Udon Noodles w Avocado

Avocados have been known to lower blood pressure and they also promote healthy blood flow to the brain.  Sick of guacamole?  This Asian inspired recipe uses whole pieces of avocado tossed with udon noodles and kale!


9 – Acai Berry SmoothieBrain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes - Berry Smoothie 

The latest research presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston found that blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries may help put the brakes on age-related cognitive decline by preserving the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism, which wanes with age.

 This mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins associated with age-related memory loss. Source

Try this brain boosting smoothie recipe:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • .5 cup strawberries
  • .5 cup blueberries
  • .25 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup acai berry juice
  • 10 ice cubes


10 – Oil Based Salad DressingBrain Blog - Unique Brain Food Recipes -Salad Dressing

Organic, cold-pressed, non-hydrogenated and virgin oils are good for brain health.  A University of Oxford study suggests that although the effects of coconut oil may be temporary, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have indeed seen short-term benefits resulting from its use. Source

This salad dressing guide will help you make healthy and delicious dressings using fresh brain healthy ingredients.




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