Mar 31, 2010
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Here you have the March edition of our monthly eNewsletter covering cognitive health and brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this free Brain Fitness eNewsletter by email, using the box in the right column.
Designed to foster innovation and best practice sharing by celebrating outstanding pioneers who apply neuroplasticity-based research and tools in the “real world”, the new Brain Fitness Innovation Awards are accepting entries until April 15th. You can submit an entry, and learn about the Judges, Prizes and Frequently Asked Questions, by clicking on 2010 Brain Fitness Innovation Awards. Winners will be announced on May 24th during the SharpBrains Summit on the State of The Brain Fitness Market.
The Big Picture
A Decade After the Decade of the Brain: “During the past two decades, neuroscientists have steadily built the case that the human brain, even when fully mature, is far more plastic—changing and malleable—than we originally thought. It turns out that the brain (at all ages) is highly responsive to environmental stimuli and that connections between neurons are dynamic and can rapidly change within minutes of stimulation”, says Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while discussing the medical and educational implications of neuroplasticity in this article prepared for Dana Foundation’s Cerebrum.
Improving Care through Policy, Standards, and Technology: Patrick Donohue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Project, granted SharpBrains an extended interview to discuss the PABI Plan in front of Congress, which may pass soon and help develop a model system for Pediatric Acquired Brain Injuries (PABI) which is the leading cause of death and disability for children and young adults from birth through 25 years of age in the United States. This plan has the potential to fundamentally transform brain care through the use of neuroinformatics and standarized systems of care. As Patrick points out, “technology is a very strong component to ensure scalability and foster innovation. Our expectation is that some genius student at MIT will find a way to analyze all the medical records, find patterns and predict potential solutions that can help specific patients.”
Cognitive therapy’s growing adoption in the UK: Since the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) should be the first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression –followed by drugs only if it proves unsuccessful– this type of mental training is gaining wider promotion by the National Health Service. We see US-based insurance companies taking good note.
Research Partnership on Cognitive Aging: The National Institute on Aging and McKnight Foundation partner to invest $28m in research given that “emerging evidence suggests that certain interventions — such as exercise, environmental enrichment, diet, social engagement, cognitive training and stress reduction — should be studied more intensively to determine if they might prevent or reduce declines in cognitive health”. We laud the initiative, and further ask: Why $28 million and not, say, $300m (one dollar per living American who tomorrow will be one day older than he or she is today)?, Why the emphasis on “prevent, reduce or reverse decline” and not on “develop, improve, maintain brain functionality for quality of life and productivity”?
10 Mitos sobre el Cerebro y el Entrenamiento Mental: By popular demand, we translated the article Debunking 10 Brain and Brain Fitness Myths to Spanish. Can you give it a try in Spanish first and see how it goes? If you are looking for added mental exercise and want to help us translate it to other languages, please let us know!
Brain Fitness Survey: please spare 5–10 minutes with us, answering a few stimulating questions such as “How important do you believe are the following brain functions to thrive personally and professionally in the XXI century”?
Finally, a quick note. I am going to travel extensively in Europe between June and November 2010. If you want to propose speaking or consulting engagements there, please Contact Us.
Have a stimulating Spring!