Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Smart Brains, Sharp Brain… new research on maintaining one

There has been a lot of recent buzz about brain fit­ness. A New York Times edi­to­r­ial printed today states:

When tested five years later, these par­tic­i­pants [in a cog­ni­tive train­ing study] had less of a decline in the skill they were trained in than did a con­trol group that received no cog­ni­tive train­ing. The pay­off from men­tal exer­cise seemed far greater than we are accus­tomed to get­ting for phys­i­cal exer­cise — as if 10 work­outs at the gym were enough to keep you fit five years later.


If fur­ther stud­ies show that men­tal exer­cises can improve every­day func­tion­ing, doc­tors may need to pre­scribe such train­ing, senior cen­ters may want to set up “brain gyms,” and aging Amer­i­cans would be wise to do brain-stretching activ­i­ties. For this pur­pose, even the Medicare pre­scrip­tion drug pro­gram, which crit­ics deem too con­fus­ing for many older peo­ple to nav­i­gate, could prove an unex­pected bless­ing. Spend 10 hours mas­ter­ing its intri­ca­cies today and you could be a lot sharper than your com­pa­tri­ots five years from now.

To read the com­plete, orig­i­nal study pub­lished in JAMA, read The Ben­e­fits of Brain Exercises/Brain Fit­ness.

IHRSA, the Inter­na­tional Health, Rac­quet & Sports­club Asso­ci­a­tion, printed this arti­cle on men­tal mus­cles with sug­ges­tions on how to add brain work­outs to your tra­di­tional phys­i­cal work­outs. Essen­tially, humans need both phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise for good brain health.

Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can also wrote an arti­cle on Brain Gain: Men­tal Exer­cise Makes Elderly Minds More Fit. One of the study co-authors is quoted as saying

To drive this effect, you have to prac­tice things that you don’t like or things you don’t reg­u­larly prac­tice,” Mar­siske says. “We hope to find ways of mak­ing these train­ing pro­grams more widely avail­able to peo­ple and begin to encour­age some­thing more like men­tal exercise.”

As we have men­tioned before when talk­ing about key ingre­di­ents for a brain fit­ness pro­gram, you need: nov­elty, vari­ety, and stretch­ing prac­tice (increas­ing chal­lenge over time). Com­put­er­ized pro­grams do the best job of reli­ably meet­ing these cri­te­ria, but doing any­thing is bet­ter than doing nothing!

If you are still uncer­tain as to what is Brain Fit­ness, then feel free to down­load a com­pli­men­tary copy of our newly released Brain Fit­ness for Sharp Brains: Your New New Year Res­o­lu­tion. We wrote this guide as a plain Eng­lish intro­duc­tion to the con­cept, sci­ence, and prac­tice of brain fit­ness by answer­ing 25 ques­tions we have received over the last four months.

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6 Responses

  1. […] You can learn more by check­ing our longer post yes­ter­day, New Research on How to Main­tain a Sharp Brain, where we com­mented on yesterday’s NYT Edi­to­r­ial, the results from the JAMA study and an IHRSA newslet­ter to fit­ness and health clubs that we authored. […]

  2. […] Car­o­line Latham presents Smart Brains: New Research on How to Main­tain a Sharp Brain posted at Sharp­Brains: Your Win­dow into the Brain Fit­ness Rev­o­lu­tion, say­ing, “More and more research is being pub­lished on the ben­e­fits of brain exer­cise (cog­ni­tive train­ing) for both short term improve­ment and long term prevention.” […]

  3. […] We are excited about all the media atten­tion about brain exer­cise these days. Not only have there been some great med­ical and sci­en­tific arti­cles (read “Smart Brains: New Research on How to Main­tain a Sharp Brain” for links to those), but there are well writ­ten arti­cles in the main­stream press as well. Joanna Pon­cav­age of The Morn­ing Call wrote “Get Some Brain Train­ing”. ”Learn­ing and tar­geted men­tal exer­cise pro­motes neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis — the cre­ation of new neu­rons — just as mus­cle growth is pro­moted through phys­i­cal exer­cise,” says Elkhonon Gold­berg, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy at New York Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine, and chief sci­en­tific adviser. […]

  4. […] Fur­ther Read­ing Glos­sary of Terms The Muta­ble Brain Smart Brains: New Research on How to Main­tain a Sharp Brain Arti­cles on Brain Fit­ness Tags: No Tags […]

  5. […] Fur­ther Read­ing Glos­sary of Terms The Muta­ble Brain Smart Brains: New Research on How to Main­tain a Sharp Brain Arti­cles on Brain Fit­ness Rec­om­mended Brain Fit­ness Programs […]

  6. bala says:

    it is a very good arti­cle –thanks

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