By: Alvaro Fernandez
Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Yaakov Stern, leading Cognitive Reserve researcher at Columbia University, and then with a group of 25 lifelong learners in Arizona who attended a brain fitness class (hello, Robert and friends!) based on our consumer guide The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. On reflection, I found both conversations to be very stimulating for the same reason: they were forward-looking, focused not so much on status quo but on how emerging research, technology and trends may impact our society and lives in years to come. Let’s continue the conversation. Let me share the 10 main trends that we analyzed/ forecasted in our book, and then ask you, sharp readers, to add your own 2 cents to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Alvaro Fernandez
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Quick, Are videogames good or bad?
That’s an impossible question. Good or bad for what? What specific games are we talking about? More importantly, what are they substituting for, given time is a limited resource? Contributor Jeremy Adam Smith, managing director of Greater Good magazine, offers an in-depth review on the trade-offs videogames present in: Playing the Blame Game.
Math Innovation in UK Schools: a recent (and unpublished) study seems to support the potential role for “Serious Games” in education. Learning and Teaching Scotland reports significant improvements in pupils’ concentration and behavior, on top of math skills, after using Nintendo Brain Training game.
Alzheimer’s Australia endorses Posit Science programs
: this announcement brings to surface a genuine public health dilemma — do you, as an association, promote programs before they have been shown to have long-term effects on Alzheimer’s progression and prevalence, or do you wait until you have “perfect” research, and then perhaps lose 10–20-30 years or useful contribution to thousands/ millions of brain’s Cognitive Reserves? In our judgment, it may well be worth offering options today, as long as they are accompanied by independent measurement of the cognitive benefits.
More September News: September has brought a wealth of additional worldwide media coverage on cognitive health and brain fitness topics, including the role of schools in nurturing student’s executive functions, the importance of baseline neuropsychological testing in sports, the need for gerontology as a discipline to incorporate brain research, how walking can enhance brain function, and the value of brain fitness programs for long-term care operators.
Resources for Brain Fitness Navigation
Wellness Coaching for Brain Health and Fitness: will Wellness Coaches expand their role and become “Brain coaches”? We have partnered with Sutter Health Partners, the pioneering coaching group of a major health system, to train their wellness coaches on the implications of emerging brain research for their work: focus on the 4 pillars of brain health –balanced nutrition, physical exercise, stress management and mental exercise.
Evaluation Checklist for Organizations: many healthcare and education organizations are already making purchase decisions which involve evaluating different programs that make “brain training” or “cognitive health” claims. Here we present our 10-Question SharpBrains Checklist to help organizations make informed decisions.
Evaluation Checklist for Consumers: if you are an individual interested in programs for yourself and/ or a loved one, you can use this checklist. The starting point is to recognize that no program is a “magic pill” or “general solution”, but a tool to be used in the appropriate context.
Learning to Lead, and To Think
Roundtable on Human Resources and Leadership: several bloggers discuss latest news around leadership, social intelligence, applications of brain research, and more.
Helping Young and Old Fish Learn How To Think: David Foster Wallace gave a masterful commencement speech on Life and Work to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College. Worth reading, with full attention.
Seven Brain teasers for Job Interviews: A recent CNN article explains why a growing number of technology and consulting companies use brain teasers and logic puzzles of a type called “guesstimations” during job interviews. What are they looking for? Good executive functions. Here you have a few typical questions.
By: Alvaro Fernandez
In an emerging, dynamic, high growth market, like brain training, it is difficult to make precise projections. But, we can observe a number of trends that executives, consumers, public policy makers, and the media should watch closely in the coming years, as brain fitness and training becomes mainstream, new tools appear, and an ecosystem grows around it.
1. We predict an increased emphasis on brain maintenance in locations ranging from retirement communities to gyms. As a computer-savvy baby boomer population looks for ways to stay mentally fit, brain fitness, or brain training, is becoming part of their vocabulary and concern.
2. Physical and mental exercise will be better integrated. Physical exercise has been shown to increase the rate of neurogenesis, whereas mental exercise helps ensure the survival of any newly created neurons. Today both activities usually take place in very different settings: the former, in health clubs, the later, in universities. We predict that the borders between them will become more diffuse. Expect new programs such as brain fitness podcasts that allow us to train working memory as we jog or exercise bikes with built-in brain games.
3. Watch for a Read the rest of this entry »