Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Know Thyself, Know How Your Brain Works

What is work­ing mem­ory, and why it mat­ters? Can we multi-task as good as we seem to assume? What should we all know about how our brains work, and why?

We hope you enjoy this August eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing six dis­tin­guished con­trib­u­tors who answer those ques­tions, and more. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this free Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter by email, using the box in the right column.

Know Thy­self

Why work­ing mem­ory mat­ters in the knowl­edge age: As Dr. Tracy Alloway points out, one way to visu­al­ize work­ing mem­ory is as the brain’s “Post-it Notes” — we make men­tal scrib­bles of bits of infor­ma­tion we need to remem­ber and work with. With­out enough work­ing mem­ory we can­not func­tion as a soci­ety or as indi­vid­u­als. Learn more by par­tic­i­pat­ing in this study launched by Dr. Alloway’s team in con­junc­tion with the British Sci­ence Festival.

What should every­one learn about the brain?: Dr. Jo Ellen Rose­man and Mary Kop­pel from the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence (AAAS) dis­cuss recent rec­om­men­da­tions on what all stu­dents should know. Not just the basics of brain struc­ture and func­tion, but also a good under­stand­ing of men­tal health—such as the mind/body rela­tion­ship, fac­tors that shape behav­ior, ways of cop­ing with men­tal dis­tress, and the diag­no­sis and treat­ment of men­tal disorders.

News

Pool­ing data to accel­er­ate Alzheimer’s research: A good arti­cle in the New York Times presents the rea­sons behind grow­ing research of how to detect Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. A pilot study shows how com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing may help reduce falls among elderly. Amazon.com rec­om­mends The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness in a thought-provoking mix.

Beyond News

Needed: fund­ing for inno­v­a­tive research on slow­ing cog­ni­tive decline via cog­ni­tive train­ing: Sharp­Brains reader and UK researcher Nick Almond shares a note debunk­ing the so-called BBC brain train­ing exper­i­ment  and out­lin­ing the type of research he and col­leagues at Leeds Uni­ver­sity deem necessary.

Long-term effects of neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment for ADHD: Dr. David Rabiner reviews the 6-month follow-up of a sci­en­tific study on whether neu­ro­feed­back can help kids with atten­tion deficits, find­ing that ben­e­fits indeed remained 6 months after treat­ment had ended. Given, how­ever, that only around 50% of chil­dren showed ben­e­fits, it is impor­tant to regard this tool as part of a mul­ti­modal treat­ment program.

Brain Teaser

Test your atten­tional focus and multi-tasking: How often do you read a doc­u­ment while talk­ing on the phone with a client? Or think about your prob­lems at work while help­ing your child with his home­work? Human atten­tion is lim­ited, and we need to man­age it well, as shown in this teaser pre­pared by Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon.

Have a great Sep­tem­ber. And, should you hap­pen to be in Barcelona, Spain, on Sep­tem­ber 14th, make sure to attend Alvaro Fer­nan­dez talk there titled “How and Why Dig­i­tal Tech­nol­ogy Will Trans­form Edu­ca­tion, Train­ing and Brain Health”.

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 »

Cognitive Health/ Brain Fitness Resources

Good morn­ing, and Happy Father’s Day to those in the US and a good num­ber of other coun­tries (see <a class=“l” onmousedown=“return clk(this.href,”,”,‘res’,‘1’,”)” href=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father” onclick=“javascript:_gaq.push([’_trackEvent’,‘outbound-article’,‘http://en.wikipedia.org’]);“s_day” target=“_blank”>Wikipedia entry).

Let me share today this col­lec­tion of infor­ma­tive and free Resources on how to improve/ brain scanmain­tain top brain health and performance:

Brain Fit­ness Newslet­ter: our twice-a-month newslet­ter, writ­ten by Sharp­Brains staff and over a dozen guest neu­ro­sci­en­tists, health pro­fes­sion­als and edu­ca­tors, pro­vides an informed, engag­ing and com­pre­hen­sive win­dow into Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness and Brain Health news.

Glos­sary: key sci­en­tific con­cepts on Cog­ni­tion and Brain Fitness.

Neu­ro­science Inter­view Series: Dur­ing the last 18 months I have inter­viewed over 15 cutting-edge neu­ro­sci­en­tists and cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gists on their research and thoughts.

Author Speaks Series: plat­form for lead­ing sci­en­tists and experts writ­ing high-quality brain-related books to reach a wide audi­ence. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Brain Fitness Seminars

Here you are have the bi-monthly update with our 10 most Pop­u­lar blog posts. (Also, remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive our RSS feed, or to our newslet­ter, at the top of this page, if you want to receive this digest by email).Crossword Puzzles Brain fitness

We hope you have some time to share with us today. Just came back from a superb event on Brain Health Across the Lifespan…and many stim­u­lat­ing things are hap­pen­ing in the world of brain fitness.

News and Events

Exer­cise your brain in the Cog­ni­tive Age: The New York Times pub­lished two thought-provoking arti­cles on brain and cog­ni­tive fit­ness, one of them fea­tur­ing SharpBrains.

Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Newsletter: November Edition

Brain exercise, brain exercisesHere you are have the Monthly Digest of our Most Pop­u­lar Blog Posts. You can con­sider it your monthly Brain Exer­cise Magazine.

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

Grat­i­tude is a very impor­tant emo­tion to cul­ti­vate, as Pro­fes­sor Robert Emmons tells us in this inter­view, based on his last book. Please take some time to read it, and to find at least one thing you are thank­ful for-it will be good for your health.

We are grate­ful about a very stim­u­lat­ing November:

Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket News

10 Neu­rotech­nol­ogy Trends: a lead­ing indus­try orga­ni­za­tion released their Top 10 Neu­roTrends for 2007, and brain fit­ness mat­ters appeared in 3 of them.

Thank Boomers for Buff­ing Up Brain Mar­ket: great overview of the mar­ket from a tech­nol­ogy point of view, quot­ing our mar­ket pro­jec­tions. To clar­ify the num­bers men­tioned: we project $225m in the US alone for the brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket (grow­ing from $70m in 2003), broken-down as fol­lows: $80m for the Con­sumer seg­ment, $60m in K12 Edu­ca­tion, $50m in Clin­i­cal appli­ca­tions, and $35m in the Cor­po­rate seg­ment. The Con­sumer seg­ment, with a healthy aging value propo­si­tion, is the most recent one but the most rapidly grow­ing.

Exer­cise On the Brain: a NYT OpEd: a widely read opin­ion piece in the New York Times, writ­ten by 2 neu­ro­sci­en­tists, that some­how seems to miss the research behind the value of men­tal stim­u­la­tion and cog­ni­tive train­ing. Other neu­ro­science teams and us write let­ters to the edi­tor that go unpub­lished. Should you have any con­tacts with jour­nal­ists, please ask them to con­tact us: we are always happy to serve as a resource to the media.

Posit Sci­ence @ GSA: well-designed Brain Train­ing Works: a timely heads up on how well-designed computer-based pro­grams can be a great com­ple­ment to other inter­ven­tions. We will be inter­view­ing the lead­ing researcher behind that study dur­ing the next 2 weeks, so keep tuned!

Brain and Mind News and Arti­cles: a vari­ety of links to good media reports, includ­ing a spec­tac­u­lar spe­cial on mem­ory in National Geographic.

News You Can Use

Mar­ian Dia­mond on the brain: lead­ing neu­ro­sci­en­tist Mar­ian Dia­mond, now 81, shares her pre­scrip­tion for life­long brain health– diet, exer­cise, chal­lenge, new­ness and ten­der lov­ing care.

From Med­i­ta­tion to MBSR (Mind­ful­ness Based Stress Reduc­tion): a report on the ben­e­fits of med­i­ta­tion and how it is becom­ing more main­stream in medicine.

Teasers

50 Mind and Brain Games for adults: you may have seen these teasers, but we want to alert you we have opened a new sec­tion in the site where you can eas­ily find our grow­ing col­lec­tion of teasers

Your Haiku, please?: a friendly chal­lenge to your brain.

Edu­ca­tion and Life­long Learning

Carol Dweck on Mind­sets, Learn­ing and Intel­li­gence: we found a fas­ci­nat­ing inter­view on the impor­tance on hav­ing a growth and learn­ing ori­ented mind­set. Both for kids and adults.

Is Intel­li­gence Innate and Fixed?: some reflec­tions based on biology.

Cor­po­rate Train­ing, Well­ness and Leadership

Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness and The Future of Work: an excel­lent con­cept map on how neu­ro­science may influ­ence the work­place of the future, drawn in real time as I spoke at an Insti­tute for the Future event.

Emo­tional Intel­li­gence and Faces: how many uni­ver­sal emo­tions and facial expres­sions are there?

Events

Use It or Lose It, and Cells that Fire together Wire together: I spoke at the Ital­ian Con­sulate in San Fran­cisco, where we explored some of the basic con­cepts we should all know about how our brains and mind work.

Let me prac­tice the Grat­i­tude concept…Thank You for your atten­tion and participation!

You can also enjoy our pre­vi­ous edi­tions of this monthly digest:

- Octo­ber

- Sep­tem­ber

- August

- July

Learn about the 2014 SharpBrains Summit in 2 minutes

Watch Larry King’s interview

» Click HERE in the USA, or HERE else­where (opens 28-min program)

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