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Brain Fitness Update: Use It and Improve It

Here you are have the bi-monthly update with our 10 most Pop­u­lar blog posts. (Also, remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive our RSS feed, or to our newslet­ter, at the top of this page, if you want to receive this digest by email).Crossword Puzzles Brain fitness

In this edi­tion of our newslet­ter we bring a few arti­cles and recent news pieces that shed light on what “Use It or Lose It” means, and why we can start going beyond that to say “Use It and Improve It.”

The Neu­ron, The Brain, and Think­ing Smarter

New Neu­rons: Good News, Bad News: Dr. Bill Klemm, a pro­fes­sor of Neu­ro­science at Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity, sum­ma­rizes the research on how new neu­rons are born and what they need to live long happy lives.

Inter­views with 16 Lead­ing Sci­en­tists: Com­pi­la­tion of inter­views with promi­nent neu­ro­sci­en­tists and psy­chol­o­gists con­ducted by Sharp­Brains over the past year. “Use It and Improve It” not only applies to the neu­ron unit, but also to a vari­ety of cog­ni­tive and emo­tional skills, as you will dis­cover in these interviews.

The Sci­ence of Think­ing Smarter: Har­vard Busi­ness Review pub­lishes a great inter­view with biol­o­gist John Med­ina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home and School.

Brain and Research News

Cog­ni­tive News RoundUp: arti­cles cov­er­ing epi­ge­net­ics (how our envi­ron­ments and expe­ri­ences can con­tribute to turn­ing genes on or off, thereby putting in bet­ter con­text genetic influ­ences), men­tal prob­lems among return­ing vet­er­ans, and the cog­ni­tive effects of med­ica­tions and aging.

Mem­ory Train­ing and Fluid Intel­li­gence: accord­ing to a new paper pub­lished in Pro­ceed­ings of the National Acad­emy of Sci­ences (PNAS), the “researchers did not find the upper-limit for improve­ment, sug­gest­ing that more train­ing could yield even bet­ter men­tal per­for­mance gains.” Which shows how well-directed brain exer­cise can work, and not only for peo­ple with aging or disease-specific problems.

Work­ing Mem­ory Train­ing for Adults: Dr. David Rabiner dis­cusses the ini­tial results, pre­sented in the April 2008 Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Soci­ety meet­ing, of a con­trolled trial of work­ing mem­ory train­ing con­ducted with 55 younger (20–30 years old) and 45 older (60–70 years old) adults. Sim­i­lar results to the ones reported above, and more durable. We are look­ing for­ward to see­ing when and where the study will be published.

Pump up those lit­tle grey cells: great arti­cle in the UK’s Sun­day Times list­ing a vari­ety of free or inex­pen­sive brain health-related resources.

Reflec­tions

Peace Among Pri­mates (Part 3): “Any­one who says peace is not part of human nature knows too lit­tle about pri­mates, includ­ing our­selves”, con­cludes neu­ro­sci­en­tist Dr. Robert Sapol­sky in his third and final install­ment in this series.

Brain Teasers

Chal­lenge Your Atten­tion: count the TOTAL num­ber of times that the bas­ket­balls change hands? If you haven’t done this exper­i­ment before, please try it…you’ll be amazed.

Your Haiku, Please?: feel free to share your research sug­ges­tions, in haiku form.

Stim­u­lat­ing times. Have a great day!

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