Sep 5, 2007
By: Alvaro Fernandez
2 very interesting news pieces (the second one, including fun brain teasers):
Quote: “Turns out Ellie has a problem with working memory, a term used to describe the ability to retain information from the top of a page to the bottom. Working memory comes under the umbrella of executive function, a thinking skill that refers to the tasks executives tend to excel at, such as prioritizing, organizing, and mentally shifting information around. It’s a skill that develops progressively, starting in the elementary years and continuing into adulthood…If you’ve never heard of executive function, brace yourself. It’s bursting onto the educational scene.”
Comment: Great article. We covered this in detail in an essay last year: Cognitive Neuroscience and ADD/ADHD Today.
Quote: “Seemingly random questions like these have become commonplace in Silicon Valley and other tech outposts, where companies aren’t as interested in the correct answer to a tough question as they are in how a prospective employee might try to solve it. Since businesses today have to be able to react quickly to shifting market dynamics, they want more than engineers with high IQs and good college transcripts. They want people who can think on their feet.”
Comment: What are those companies (Google, Microsoft, Amazon) after? Employees with good Executive Functions. You can try some of the fun teasers in the article. For more context on what those are, here are some quotes from my Interview with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg:
AF: Please tell us more about what the Frontal Lobes are
EG: We researchers typically call them the Executive Brain. The prefrontal cortex is young by evolutionary terms, and is the brain area critical to adapt to new situations, plan for the future, and self-regulate our actions in order to achieve long-term objectives. We could say that that part of the brain, right behind our forehead, acts as the conductor of an orchestra, directing and integrating the work of other parts of the brain.
I provide a good example in The Executive Brain book, where I explain how I was able to organize my escape from Russia into the US.
Significantly, the pathways that connect the frontal lobes with the rest of the brain are slow to mature, reaching full operational state between ages 18 and 30, or maybe even later. And, given that they are not as hard-wired as other parts of the brain, they are typically the first areas to decline.
And 3 quick announcements on SharpBrains
1) We have been ranked #25 in the World’s Top Blogs in Health and Medicine. What is a bit surprising is that the blog just one position ahead of us is no more no less…The Wall Street Journal’s Health blog. WSJ, are you ready for us ?
2) I will be leading a workshop on Teaching Brain Fitness in Your Community at the American Society on Aging (ASA) conference. Wednesday, October 10 09:00 AM-12:00 PM.
Description: “According to the Wall Street Journal, a new wave in brain health programs for older adults is moving through the country. What are you providing in your site? This session will give you a sampling of a model brain health series that you can conduct in your site. The session will introduce you to the science of brain fitness, including many engaging brain exercises to do individually or in a group. Exercise Your Brain: New Brain Research and Implications has been taught at several different Bay Area locations including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.”
3) As you will have noticed, we have started to experiment adding some ads to the blog. Please give us your feedback!