Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Fitness Survey: We Need More Brain Awareness Weeks!

If you sub­scribe to our monthly newslet­ter, you may remem­ber we ran a sur­vey in Jan­u­ary. Well, the response rate and the qual­ity of the responses were noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar, in many dimen­sions. The responses from over 2,000 par­tic­i­pants (out of 21,000 sub­scribers) rein­force the need for pub­lic aware­ness ini­tia­tives and qual­ity infor­ma­tion to help eval­u­ate and nav­i­gate prod­uct claims.

I have been pre­sent­ing the results from one of the ques­tions (see below), yes­ter­day at the ASA/ NCOA (Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging) event, today at IHRSA (Inter­na­tional Health, Rac­quet and Sports­club Asso­ci­a­tion), as part of more com­pre­hen­sive pre­sen­ta­tions of what is going on in the brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health field.

An obvi­ous impli­ca­tion for the sur­vey result rein­forces the need for brain-related pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns such as the ongo­ing Brain Aware­ness Week. Every year, land­mark research find­ings open new oppor­tu­ni­ties to help main­tain life­long cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness. The oppor­tu­nity is immense — but we will need to ensure the mar­ket­place matures in a ratio­nal and sus­tain­able man­ner, help­ing con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als sep­a­rate hope from hype and make informed decisions.

Robin Klaus, Chair­man of Club One Fit­ness Cen­ters (the com­pany is a client, he is an advi­sor), just gave us a nice quote say­ing that “as our pop­u­la­tion ages the fields of phys­i­cal fit­ness and brain fit­ness will nat­u­rally merge and, as this hap­pens, a whole new field of val­ued added ser­vices will emerge for our mem­bers. High qual­ity infor­ma­tional resources such as Sharp­Brains’ are cru­cial to the suc­cess of this merger.”

The Sur­vey: Results to Key Question

Asked, “What is the most impor­tant prob­lem you see in the brain fit­ness field and how do you think it can be solved?” respon­dents iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing six prob­lems in rank order:

#1: Pub­lic Aware­ness (39%)
– “Get­ting peo­ple to under­stand that hered­ity alone does not decide brain func­tion­ing.“
– “An expec­tant pub­lic will first want to believe that a “mir­a­cle” drug is to be soon avail­able (to pre­vent Alzheimer’s Disease).”

#2: Nav­i­gat­ing Claims (21%)
- “How to sep­a­rate mar­ket­ing hype from stuff that really works?“
– “The lack of stan­dards and clear def­i­n­i­tions is very con­fus­ing, and makes a lot of peo­ple sceptical.”

#3: Research (15%)
– “Deter­min­ing what activ­i­ties are most ben­e­fi­cial to Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Update: Why We Need Walking Book Clubs

Here you are have the twice-a-month newslet­ter with our most pop­u­lar blog posts. Please brainremem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, sim­ply by sub­mit­ting your email at the top of this page.

News

CNN: Aging boomers fuel ‘brain fit­ness’ explo­sion: An excel­lent arti­cle via Asso­ci­ated Press explor­ing why the brain fit­ness mar­ket passed a tip­ping point in 2007 and pre­dict­ing future trends build­ing on our mar­ket report.

Brain Age: Great Game, Wrong Con­cept: One rea­son why we believe the field will keep grow­ing is because we are see­ing more tools avail­able than ever before to assess and train a vari­ety of cog­ni­tive skills. The bad news (is this really news?) is that we shouldn’t be expect­ing magic pills and that “brain age” is a fic­tion. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness News and Events

Quick links to excel­lent resources:

1) FEATURE-Brain fit­ness seen as hot indus­try of the future (Reuters)

2) Learn­ing & the Brain Con­fer­ence for Edu­ca­tors and Clin­i­cians. April 26–29, 2008. Cam­bridge, MA

3) Brain Health Across the Lifes­pan Sem­i­nar for Health & Aging Pro­fes­sion­als. May 15th, 2008. San Fran­cisco, CA

For more info, 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…

Events

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

Brain Fitness Blog Carnival-call for submissions

Quick reminder: next Brain Fit­ness Blog Car­ni­val will be hosted by MC at Neu­rophiloso­pher on March 19th (inci­den­tally, Alvaro’s birthday).

Could you select 1–2 arti­cles from your blog and email them to brainfitnesscarnival@sharpbrains.com or sub­mit using the form at http://blogcarnival.com/bc/cprof_880.html by Friday?

For ref­er­ence and enjoy­ment, you can check the 2 pre­vi­ous issues:

Brain Fit­ness Blog Car­ni­val #2

Brain Fit­ness Blog Car­ni­val #1

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