Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Time to become mental capitalists and invest in our brains?

Time for the November edi­tion of the monthly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing a wealth of resources and insights on how to invest in our brains, including topics such as brain health, meditation, neuropsychology, brain training games, chemo brain, dyslexia, neuroplasticity, cognitive biases, stress, and more. Not to forget a couple of fun teasers. Enjoy!

Brain Fitness Q&A Sessions:

The Big Picture:

New Research:

New Books:

Brain Teasers:

Thank you for your interest and attention and have a great December.

Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yesterday on holistic brain health with clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Paul Nussbaum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Dr. Gary Small on Enhancing Memory and the Brain

Below you can find the full transcript of our engaging Q&A session today on mem­ory, mem­ory tech­niques and brain-healthy lifestyles with Dr. Gary  Small, Direc­tor of UCLA’s Mem­ory Clinic and Cen­ter on Aging, and author of The Mem­ory Bible. You can learn more about his book  Here, and learn more about upcoming Brain Fitness Q&A Sessions Here.

Perhaps one of the best questions and answers was:

2:55
Question: Gary, you’ve worked many years in this field. Let us in on the secret. What do YOU do you, personally, to promote your own brain fitness?
2:57
Answer: I try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic conditioning each day; try to minimize my stress by staying connected with family and friends; generally eat a brain healthy diet (fish, fruits, vegetables), and try to balance my online time with my offline time. Which reminds me, I think it is almost time for me to sign off line. Read the rest of this entry »

The Top Brain Book Collection for Educators and Learners

The powerful National Association for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has now issued a report that encourages pre-service and graduate teacher education programs to incorporate cognitive neuroscience discoveries about child and adolescent development into their curricula.  This link to a Washington Post article on this development will also get you to the NCATE report.

The next obvious step would turn encouragement into curricular/accreditation requirements. That incorporation of Educational Neuroscience discoveries into educational policy and practice will shape 21st century teacher education and K-12 education in ways that are Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Public Libraries as Health Clubs for the Brain

Here you have the July edition of our monthly newsletter covering cognitive health and Brain Fitnessbrain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

Public libraries have long offered the public more than books. And now, recent demographic and scientific trends are converging to fundamentally transform the role of libraries in our culture. You may enjoy reading this recent article I wrote for the May-June 2009 Issue of Aging Today, the bimonthly publication of the American Society on Aging: Public Libraries: Community-Based Health Clubs for the Brain.

The Big Picture

Can You Outsmart Your Genes? An Interview with Author Richard Nisbett: David DiSalvo interviews Richard Nisbett, the author of Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count, who has emerged as a persuasive voice marshalling evidence to disprove the heredity-is-destiny argument.

Yes, You Can Build Willpower: Daniel Goleman discusses how the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day, how they migrate to where they are needed, and how each cell can make around 10,000 connections to other brain cells. Implication? Meditate, mindfully, and build positive habits.

Bird’s Eye View of Cognitive Health Innovation: Alvaro Fernandez opened the Cognitive Health Track during the Games for Health Conference (June 11-12th, Boston) with an overview of the serious games, software and online applications that can help assess and train cognitive abilities. The presentation is available Here.

Brain Tests and Myths

The Best Memory Tests, from the Alzheimer’s Action Plan: Dr. Murali Doraiswamy discusses the Pros and Cons of the most common assessments to identify cognitive problems, including what the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) does and doesn´t, and innovative computerized neuropsychological tests.

Debunking 10 Brain Health Myths: Does your brain have a “Brain Age”? Is a Magic Pill to “prevent memory problems” right around the corner? Does “aging” equal “decline”? Check out the facts to debunk 10 common myths on brain health.

Resources

Free Webinar: On July 21st, 10am Pacific Time/ 1pm Eastern Time, Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg and Alvaro Fernandez, co-authors of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, will cover the main highlights from this new book and address the questions submitted by readers. You can learn more and register HERE.

Research References:  This is a partial list of the scientific studies reviewed during the research phase of SharpBrains’s new book, organized by relevant chapter, for those of you who like to explore topics in depth by reading original research (perhaps PubMed should promote itself as a never ending source of mental stimulation?).

Brain Teasers

Brain Teasers on Brain Fitness: Are you ready to test your knowledge of several key brain fitness metrics? For example: How many soldiers in the US Army have gone through computerized cognitive testing before being deployed, and why?
Finally, a request: if you have already read The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, and could write a brief customer review at Amazon.com, we would surely appreciate! The Amazon.com book page is Here.

Best regards, and enjoy the month

It’s Brain Awareness Week!

Reminder:  2009 Brain Awareness Week started today. You can find excellent resources and a calendar of events, Here.

Next time you are in a public space (perhaps now you are at home, as I am as I write these lines), look left, look in front, look right. Perhaps you can see someone who would benefit from the awareness that he or she is endowed with  that wonderful, unique, organ!

(Note: don’t watch TV, or you will spend your day calling all those 1-800 numbers…)

And, of course, what a better week to read some of our Neuroscience Interviews, discover a new brain book, and try a Brain Teaser?

Distracted in the Workplace? Meet Maggie Jackson’s Book

Today we’ll discuss some of the cognitive implications of “always on” workplaces and lifestyles via a fascinating interview with Maggie Jackson, an award-winning author and journalist. Her latest book, Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, describes Distracted by Maggie Jacksonthe implications of our busy work and life environments and offers important reflections to help us thrive in them.

This is a 2-part interview conducted via e-mail: we will publish the continuation on Thursday March 12th.

Alvaro Fernandez: New York Times columnist David Brooks said last year that we live in a Cognitive Age, and encouraged readers to be aware of this change and try and adapt to the new reality. Can you explain the cognitive demands of today’s workplaces that weren’t there 30-40 years ago?

Maggie Jackson: Our workplaces have changed enormously in recent decades, and it’s easy to point to the Blackberry or the laptop as the sources of our culture of speed and overload and distraction. But it’s important to note first that our 24/7, fragmented work culture has deeper roots. With the first high-tech inventions, such as the cinema, phonograph, telegraph, rail, and car, came radical changes in human experience of time and space. Distance was shattered  long before email and red-eye flights. Telegraph operators  not online daters  experienced the first virtual love affairs, as evidenced by the 1890s novel Wired Love. Now, we wrestle with the effects of changes seeded long ago.

Today, the cognitive and physical demands on workers are steep. Consider 24/7 living. At great cost to our health, we operate in a sleepless, hurried world, ignoring cues of sun and season, the Industrial Age inventions of the weekend and vacation, and the rhythms of biology. We try to break the fetters of time and live like perpetual motion machines. That’s one reason why we feel overloaded and stressed conditions that are corrosive to problem-solving and clear thinking.

At the same time, our technologies allow us access to millions of information bites producing an abundance of data that is both wondrous and dangerous. Unless we have the will, discipline and frameworks for turning this information into wisdom, we remain stuck on the surface of Read the rest of this entry »

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