Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Teaser: how are Memory, Stress, Exercise, Brain Games, Stanford and Harvard connected?

Very interesting week for brain fitness-we have difficulty in selecting and adding value to the superb articles that follow, so let us simply link to them and highlight 1-2 quotes for each:

Get Fit, Improve Memory?

  • Three months of exercise was all it took for people with low levels of aerobic fitness to increase blood flow to that part of their brain and improve their scores on memory tests, the study shows. Additional tests on mice show new brain cells growing …

Stress ‘kills’ brain cells

  • “If we can keep these new nerve cells alive, we might be able to forestall or prevent the types of depressive symptoms that might normally occur,” he said in comments reported by the Reuters news agency.

BRAIN GAMES: Mentally stimulating activities help seniors keep their minds sharp, in the Asbury Park Press, NJ

  • (quoting me) “We believe that the keys to success are providing novelty, variety and and constant challenge. It’s a fitness center for the brain. You can do Sudoku and crossword puzzles, of course. That’s helpful. It’s like taking a walk around the block. But a challenging set of “brain exercises’ is like a workout at a gym with a personal trainer.”
  • “Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg is the other co-founder of SharpBrains. Elkhonon knows that Thomas Edison was fond of saying that most people will do anything to avoid the hard work of thinking. He hopes to change that, he says.”

STANFORD Magazine: The Effort Effect. According to Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, you’ll reach new heights if you learn to embrace the occasional tumble.

  • “The mastery-oriented children are really hell-bent on learning something,” Dweck says, and “learning goals” inspire a different chain of thoughts and behaviors than “performance goals.”
  • “People with performance goals, she reasoned, think intelligence is fixed from birth. People with learning goals have a growth mind-set about intelligence, believing it can be developed. (Among themselves, psychologists call the growth mind-set an “incremental theory,” and use the term “entity theory” for the fixed mind-set.) The model was nearly complete (see diagram).”

FT: Harvard revamps curriculum

  • “We’re not trying to say that an educated man or woman needs to know this, that and the other.
  • “What we’re saying is that an educated person should have a certain set of capacities: inter-pretive capacities, problem-solving capacities, reflective capacities and critical capacities to help them through the world,” she said.

In short: there is much that each of us can do to improve our brain fitness, no matter our age, occupation or starting point. There are some fundamental capacities that we can train. And we have to care for good physical exercise and stress management on top of mental exercise.

Exciting times.

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3 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    So interesting! The mind is really amazing and never ceases to amaze. With stress there are a lot of fresh ideas and new understandings on how it effects the mind and body. We just ran an issue-of-the-day on this so I thought I would leave the link for those interested in “The Science of Stress,” could be helpful! Thanks
    http://theissue.com/issue/4127.html

    Cheers, Nick
    TheIssue.com

  2. Susan says:

    Nice post. Personally I love brain teasers

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