Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Be heard on leading applied neuroscience and brain health blog and community is a lead­ing blog and online com­mu­nity for brain health and applied neu­ro­science, with 100,000+ monthly read­ers, 40,000+ opt-in eNewslet­ter sub­scribers and 8,000+ fol­low­ers on Face­book, Twit­ter, LinkedIn and RSS.

The web­site and blog are curated by the staff at Sharp­Brains, the inde­pen­dent mar­ket research firm  that pub­lishes The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness –recently named a Best Book by AARP– and pro­duces the annual Sharp­Brains Sum­mit–the largest vir­tual con­fer­ence on brain health, applied neu­ro­science and inno­va­tion–, among other activities.

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If you are look­ing for rel­e­vant top­ics to dis­cuss, please spend some time famil­iar­iz­ing your­self with and please also con­sult this recent series on The Busi­ness and Ethics of the Brain Fitness:

The series ends with the fol­low­ing call to action:

Edu­cate the pub­lic
Ramp up efforts to build pub­lic aware­ness around a cul­ture of brain fit­ness and men­tal cap­i­tal across the lifes­pan, includ­ing estab­lish­ing clear links to daily life and work and the role of cog­ni­tive, emo­tional, and self-regulation fac­tors. Too many peo­ple still view men­tal capac­ity as a kind of uni­fied trait (such as IQ) that is deter­mined by our genes and can only decline with age.

Make it eas­ier to nav­i­gate claims
Easy-to-understand and research-based tax­onomies could help con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als eval­u­ate prod­uct claims. Per­haps a label­ing sys­tem, sim­i­lar to the Good House­keep­ing Seal of Approval, will emerge at the ini­tia­tive of a reg­u­la­tor or of the industry.

Offer objec­tive cog­ni­tive assess­ment tools
It has been said that “you can’t man­age what you can’t mea­sure.” Reli­able, objec­tive assess­ment tools are crit­i­cal. Ide­ally, assess­ments would be adapted to the par­tic­u­lar cog­ni­tive demands of dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties and set­tings such as work­place per­for­mance, func­tional aging, dri­ving, work­ing as a pilot, or clin­i­cal con­di­tions. Per­haps the sin­gle most effec­tive way to bring cog­ni­tive research into the main­stream con­ver­sa­tion would be if peo­ple took an “annual brain check-up” (ASA-MetLife Foun­da­tion, 2006) to under­stand their own oppor­tu­ni­ties for improve­ment and progress, and to sup­port clin­i­cal deci­sion making.

Empha­size brain fit­ness at the pro­fes­sional level
Pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tions could beef up their efforts to add a brain fit­ness lens to their exist­ing offer­ings; this could help incor­po­rate an empha­sis on cog­ni­tion, neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, and men­tal well­ness into main­stream activities.

Advo­cate for more and bet­ter research
There are two main pri­or­i­ties for research: to develop widely accepted out­come stan­dards, includ­ing an estab­lished set of “func­tional mark­ers” at dif­fer­ent lev­els (such as brain-based, cog­ni­tive, and behavioral-functional) for dif­fer­ent pop­u­la­tions; and to fund tri­als that test mul­ti­modal inter­ven­tions. Iden­ti­fy­ing the respec­tive and com­ple­men­tary ben­e­fits of dif­fer­ent types of inter­ven­tions can result in bet­ter inte­grated and per­son­al­ized prod­ucts and programs.