Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Cognitive Health News Round-Up

Round-up of interesting recent news on cognitive health and fitness: the field is in motion.

1) Baycrest creates Centre for Brain Fitness with $10-million Investment from Ontario Government (Canada NewsWire)

2) Cognitive tests are the best way to select medical students (EurekAlert)

3) High blood pressure hard on the aging brain (Reuters)

4) Alzheimer’s tests beneficial for seniors (Atlanta-Journal Constitutional)

5) Dementia-Dreading Baby Boomers Spur Race to Invent Brain Games (Bloomberg)

6) Vivity Labs launches Fit Brains brain-training game site (VentureBeat) 

7) Depression and Alzheimer’s (NHS Choices)

For selected quotes and comments, Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Newsletter: December Edition

Brain exercise, brain exercisesI hope you are having a joyful holiday season, and wish you a Happy and Prosperous 2008. The Brain Fitness field has made a great deal of progress in 2007, and we are looking forward the New Year.

Here you are have the Monthly Digest of our Most Popular Blog Posts. You can consider it your monthly Brain Fitness/ Exercise Newsletter.

(Also, remember that you can subscribe to receive our blog RSS feed, or to our monthly newsletter at the top of this page if you want to receive this monthly Digest by email).

Let me first of all introduce you to our new “Author Speaks Series“, where we will give leading scientists and experts a forum to present their new brain-related books. We are honored to kickstart the series with Larry McCleary, former acting Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Denver Children’s Hospital. You can read Here his article on how to keep a brain-friendly lifestyle. This series will complement our ongoing Neuroscience Interview Series.

Brain Fitness in the News

Brain Fitness @ PBS: PBS featured a fantastic special program on neuroplasticity and brain fitness during the month of December. Before you ask: as of today, the DVD of the program is still not available in PBS online shop. We expect to see it there in 2-3 weeks. We will keep you informed.

The Huffington Post started featuring a column written by me: you may enjoy taking a look at Alvaro Fernandez – Living on The Huffington Post.

Jogging our Brains for Brain Vitality, Healthy Aging-and Intelligence!: a roundup of several great recent articles on memory, aging, IQ and cognitive abilities such as self-control.

Health & Wellness

Brain Training: No Magic Bullet, Yet Useful Tool. Interview with Elizabeth Zelinski: Dr. Zelinski, leading researcher of the IMPACT study, shares fascinating insights. For example: “…cognitive enhancement requires the engagement in a variety of activities, those activities must be novel, adaptive and challenging-which is why computer-based programs can be helpful. But even at a more basic level, what matters is being engaged with life, continually exposed to stimulating activities, always trying to get out of our comfort zones, doing our best at whatever we are doing. A major typical misconception is that there is only one general intelligence to care about. In reality, we have many different cognitive abilities, such as attention, memory, language, reasoning, and more, so it makes sense to have different programs designed to train and improve each of them.”

How to Evaluate and Choose a Brain Fitness Program: To help you navigate the growing number of computer-based programs and games, we published this 10-Question Checklist, based on dozens of interviews with scientists, experts and consumers.

Travel and Engagement as Good Brain Exercise: As we’ve seen, novelty, variety and challenge are the key guidelines for “brain exercise” that help build new neural connections, force one to be mindful and pay attention, improve abilities such as pattern-recognition, and generally contribute to lifelong brain health. In this post we feature the brain building / mind expanding experience of a SharpBrains friend working in Namibia.

Alzheimer’s Prevention and Diagnostic Tests: analysis of several recent articles on emerging research behind Alzheimer’s diagnostic and prevention.

Corporate Wellness and Training

Cognitive Reserve and Intellectually Demanding Jobs: a recent study shows how “Intellectually demanding work was associated with greater benefit to cognitive performance in later life independent of related factors like education and intelligence.”

Cognitive Health and Baby Boomers- 6 Points to Keep in Mind: based upon an excellent McKinsey report titled Serving Aging Baby Boomers, we discuss a variety a news articles, including interesting numbers, some bad news, and some good news.

Lifelong Learning Is Changing My Brain: Andreas, the neuroscience PhD student who spent last summer working with SharpBrains, writes some reflections on his experience and on how scientists and business professionals can learn from each other.

Brain Teasers

Traveler IQ Game: Check out this stimulating online game…


Learning & The Brain Conference, February 5-7 2008, San Francisco: Sign up now for this great conference for educators who want to learn about the latest brain research findings and implications. I will be speaking at the conference giving an overview of innovative cognitive training programs. The organizers are offering a Special Discount for SharpBrains readers until January 25th 2008, so click here if interested.

If we don’t talk beforehand…Happy New Year!


You can also enjoy our previous editions of our Brain Fitness Newsletter:

November Edition

October Edition

September Edition

August Edition

July Edition

Alzheimer’s Prevention and Diagnostic Tests

Brain Health NewsRoundup of several insightful articles and recent research:

Fish Oil May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s (Washington Post)

– “The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil might play an important role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a research team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).”

– “Publishing in the Dec. 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists demonstrated that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increases the production of LR11, a protein that is found at reduced levels in Alzheimer’s patients. LR11 is known to destroy the protein that forms the plaques associated with the disease, the researchers explained.”
– “Alzheimer’s is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that causes memory loss, dementia, personality change and ultimately death. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.1 million Americans are currently afflicted with the disease. The association predicts that may increase to between 11 million and 16 million people by 2050.”

‘Finding Alzheimer’s Before a Mind Fails’ (New York Times)

– “Ms. Kerley is part of an ambitious new scientific effort to find ways to detect Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest possible moment. Although the disease may seem like a calamity that strikes suddenly in old age, scientists now think it begins long before the mind fails.”

– “Many scientists believe the best hope of progress, maybe the only hope, lies in Read the rest of this entry »

Stress Management Workshop for International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day 2007.

Global consulting company Accenture organized a series of events, and I was fortunate to lead a fun workshop on The Neuroscience of Stress and Stress Management in their San Francisco office, helping over 125 accomplished women (and a few men) learn what stress is, its implications for our brain functioning, performance and health, and of course some tips and techniques to develop our “stress management” muscles. It was an honor to be able to wrap up a great event that included District Attorney Kamala D. Harris, two of the co-authors of This is Not the Life I Ordered, a video by Senator Dianne Feinstein, and some great Accenture women.

We discussed how stress is the emotional and physiological reaction to a threat, whether real or imagined, that results in a series of adaptations by our bodies. And how stress management can bring a variety of benefits: sustained peak performance, cognitive flexibility, memory, decision making, and even longevity.
You can see a very interesting example of the relationship between attention, memory and stress with this experiment: Attention and working memory

Let me share some key take-aways from the workshop, together with some exercises we used to illustrate key points:

1) Stress can be a major roadblock for peak performance and health
2) Some tips and techniques to better manage stress:
a) Pick your battles Read the rest of this entry »

Learn more & Register

2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health in the Digital Age

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking applied brain science. Explore our most popular resources HERE.

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:
Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.