## Math Brain Teaser: How to Choose a Mans Shirt

You have been invited to an impor­tant fundrais­ing gala at your old col­lege and decided that this black-tie event demands a short col­lar super white Ital­ian shirt, like the one you bought years ago for your wed­ding. When you bravely tried the wed­ding shirt on (size 16), your wife noted that the col­lar suf­fo­cates you and you need about 1/4″ more space every­where in-between your neck and the col­lar all around your neck. What size shirt do you need to buy?  In case you don’t know the shirt size 16 means that a tape wrapped around your neck and two fin­gers posi­tioned flat upfront will mea­sure 16 inches.

## Math Brain Teaser: Unfinished Thesis

You are spend­ing the sum­mer pol­ish­ing your the­sis in the uni­ver­sity library. Every day you take the esca­la­tor into the sub­way, turn right and catch a train going up North to the uni­ver­sity. One day you real­ize that the trains on your left going in the oppo­site direc­tion can bring you to the beach. It is sum­mer and noth­ing is wrong with some leisure. You care­fully cal­cu­late that even if you spend half of the remain­ing sum­mer vaca­tion in the library it should be enough to fin­ish the the­sis. You decide to spice up your sum­mer by Read the rest of this entry »

## Math Brain Teaser for Kids and Adults: Archimedes Grave

(Editor’s Note: every other Fri­day, start­ing today, we’ll pub­lish a brain teaser to exer­cise our brains a bit. Here you have one sub­mit­ted by new con­trib­u­tor Maria Lando. Enjoy!).
Archimedes made a plen­i­tude of sig­nif­i­cant sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies through­out his life. He designed machines capa­ble of lift­ing attack­ing ships out of the water as well as mir­ror arrays capa­ble of focus­ing sun rays and set­ting enemy ships on fire. He explained why and how bod­ies float in the water, help­ing the king ver­ify that his crown is indeed made out of pure gold. He was fas­ci­nated with infin­ity and found the way of approx­i­mat­ing the num­ber Pi as well as count­ing the num­ber of grains of sand that will fit inside the uni­verse. He died telling a Roman sol­dier that he is too busy to meet a gen­eral as he was con­tem­plat­ing yet another math­e­mat­i­cal dia­gram.  His tomb was dec­o­rated with his favorite dis­cov­ery .… What do you think it is?

## Debunking 10 Cognitive Health and Fitness Myths

As part of the research behind the book The Sharp­Brains Guide for Brain Fit­ness we inter­viewed dozens of lead­ing cog­ni­tive health and fit­ness sci­en­tists and experts world­wide to learn about their research and thoughts, and have a num­ber of take-aways to report.

What can we clearly say today that we couldn’t have said only 10 years ago? That what neu­ro­science pio­neer San­ti­ago Ramon y Cajal claimed in the XX cen­tury, “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculp­tor his own brain”, may well become real­ity in the XXI.

And trans­form Edu­ca­tion, Health, Train­ing, and Gam­ing in the process, since Read the rest of this entry »

## Michael Merzenich: Brain Plasticity offers Hope for Everyone

What­ever you strug­gle with in a sense as it stems from your neu­rol­ogy, the inher­ent plas­tic­ity of the brain gives you a basis for improve­ment. This is a way under­uti­lized and under-appreciated resource that well all have.” Dr. Michael Merzenich on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast #54, 2/13/09.

Recently there has been grow­ing con­tro­versy about the effec­tive­ness of computer-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams. As a co-founder of Posit Sci­ence, Inc. Dr. Michael Merzenich is a staunch defender of the meth­ods his com­pany uses to val­i­date the pro­grams that they have devel­oped. But for the pur­poses of this essay, I want to share some of the key ideas we dis­cussed dur­ing his recent inter­view on the Brain Sci­ence Podcast.

First of all, I asked him to dis­cuss some of the high­lights of his long career. Since he was one of the first neu­ro­sci­en­tists to embrace the con­cepts of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity I was curi­ous about how this came about. While he did have some expo­sure to the ani­mal evi­dence as a grad­u­ate stu­dent, it was actu­ally his expe­ri­ence with the inven­tion of the cochlear implant that con­vinced Dr. Merzenich of the real-world, prac­ti­cal impli­ca­tions of brain plas­tic­ity. The qual­ity of the Read the rest of this entry »

## Cognitive Fitness and Brain Improvement: 10 Debunked Myths

Over the last year we have inter­viewed a num­ber of lead­ing brain health and fit­ness sci­en­tists and prac­ti­tion­ers world­wide to learn about their research and thoughts, and have news to report.

What can we say today that we couldn’t have said only 10 years ago? That what neu­ro­science pio­neer San­ti­ago Ramon y Cajal claimed in the XX cen­tury, “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculp­tor his own brain”, may well become real­ity in the XXI. And influ­ence Edu­ca­tion, Health, Train­ing, and Gam­ing in the process.

We have only scratched the sur­face of what science-based struc­tured cog­ni­tive (i.e., men­tal) exer­cise can do for brain health and pro­duc­tiv­ity. We are now wit­ness­ing the birth of a new indus­try that crosses tra­di­tional sec­tor bound­aries and that may help us under­stand, assess and train our brains, har­ness­ing the grow­ing research about neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis (the cre­ation of new neu­rons), neu­ro­plas­tic­ity (the abil­ity of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence), cog­ni­tive train­ing and emo­tional regulation.

Let’s now debunk 10 myths, still too preva­lent, that may pre­vent us from see­ing the full poten­tial of this emerg­ing field:

Myth 1: It’s all in our genes.

Real­ity: A big com­po­nent of our life­long brain health and devel­op­ment depends on what we do with our brains. Our own actions, not only our genes, influ­ence our lives to a large extent. Genes pre­dis­pose us, not deter­mine our fates.

Indi­vid­u­als who lead men­tally stim­u­lat­ing lives, through edu­ca­tion, occu­pa­tion and leisure activ­i­ties, have reduced risk of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s. Stud­ies sug­gest that they have 35–40% less risk of man­i­fest­ing the dis­ease” — Dr. Yaakov Stern, Divi­sion Leader of the Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Divi­sion of the Sergievsky Cen­ter at Colum­bia University.

Myth 2: The field of Cognitive/ Brain Fit­ness is too new to be credible.

Real­ity: The field rests on solid foun­da­tions dat­ing back more decades — what is new is the num­ber and range of tools that are now start­ing to be avail­able for healthy individuals.

Rig­or­ous and tar­geted cog­ni­tive train­ing has been used in clin­i­cal prac­tice for many years. Exer­cis­ing our brains sys­tem­at­i­cally is as impor­tant as exer­cis­ing our bod­ies.” — Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy at New York Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine, and dis­ci­ple of Alexan­der Luria.

Today, thanks to fMRI and other neu­roimag­ing tech­niques, we are start­ing to under­stand the impact our actions can have on spe­cific parts of the brain.” — Dr. Judith Beck, Direc­tor of the Beck Insti­tute for Cog­ni­tive Ther­apy and Research.

Myth 3: Med­ica­tion is and will remain the only evidence-based inter­ven­tion for a num­ber of brain-related problems.

Real­ity: Cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams are start­ing to Read the rest of this entry »

## Cognitive Development and Brain Research: Articles, Books, Papers (ASA)

We had a very fun ses­sion titled Teach­ing Brain Fit­ness in Your Com­mu­nity at an Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging (ASA) con­fer­ence for health pro­fes­sion­als a cou­ple of weeks ago. Full house, with over 60 atten­dants and very good par­tic­i­pa­tion, show­ing great inter­est in the topic. I can’t wait to see the evaluations.

These are some of the resources I promised as a follow-up, which can be use­ful to every­one inter­ested in our field:

Good gen­eral arti­cles in the busi­ness and gen­eral media:

Change or Die

Want a sharp mind for your golden years? Start now

You’re Wiser Now

On how new neu­rons are born and grow in the adult brain:

Salk Sci­en­tists Demon­strate For The First Time That Newly Born Brain Cells Are Func­tional In The Adult Brain

Old Brains, New Tricks

On the sur­pris­ing plas­tic­ity and devel­op­ment poten­tial through­out life:

Brain Plas­tic­ity, Lan­guage Pro­cess­ing and Reading

Jug­gling Jug­gles the Brain

Suc­cess­ful Aging of the Healthy Brain

Other impor­tant aspects:

Stress and the Brain

Exer­cise and the Brain

Humor, Laugh­ter and The Brain

On the impor­tance and impact of men­tal stim­u­la­tion and train­ing: Read the rest of this entry »

### Top Articles on Brain, Cognition and Neuroplasticity

1. Do you believe these neu­romyths?, by SharpBrains
2. Brain Plas­tic­ity: How learn­ing changes your brain, by Pas­cale Michelon
3. In the Age of Google, Should Schools Teach Mem­o­riza­tion Skills?, by Bill Klemm
4. Does cog­ni­tive train­ing work? (For Whom? For What?), by Pas­cale Michelon
5. The Emo­tional Life of Your Brain, by by Richard David­son, Sharon Begley
6. Cur­rent State of the Sci­ence behind Neu­ro­feed­back Treat­ment for ADHD, by David Rabiner
7. To Be (Your Con­nec­tome), or Not to Be (Your Genome), by Sebas­t­ian Seung
8. Top 10 Brain Fit­ness Future Trends, by Alvaro Fernandez
9. Biofeed­back now a “Level 1 — Best Sup­port” Inter­ven­tion for ADHD, by SharpBrains
10. When 1 + 1 = 5: Dyscal­cu­lia and Work­ing Mem­ory, by Tracy Alloway
11. Train­ing Atten­tion and Emo­tional Self-Regulation — Inter­view with Michael Pos­ner, by Alvaro Fernandez
12. The Ten Habits of Highly Effec­tive Brains, by Alvaro Fernandez
13. Why do You Turn Down the Radio When You’re Lost?, by Car­o­line Latham
14. Brain fit­ness Q&A: Mem­ory, stress, emo­tions, by Alvaro Fernandez
15. Cog­ni­tive ther­apy or med­ica­tion? Brain scans may help per­son­al­ize treat­ments, by SharpBrains
16. New Study shows Teens with ADHD helped by Cog­ni­tive Behav­ioral Ther­apy, by David Rabiner
17. How Do Words Change Our Brains and Lives?, by Andrew New­berg, Mark Waldman
18. BBC “Brain Train­ing” Exper­i­ment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, by Alvaro Fernandez
19. Sci­en­tific cri­tique of BBC/ Nature Brain Train­ing Exper­i­ment, by Liz Zelinski
20. From Anti-Alzheimer’s “Magic Bul­lets” to True Brain Health, by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, Peter Whitehouse
21. Why Agile Minds Deploy Both Ratio­nal and Intu­itive Problem-Solving, by Judith Tingley
22. Why I Wrote The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, by Bar­bara Arrowsmith-Young
23. The Busi­ness and Ethics of the Brain Fit­ness Boom, by Alvaro Fernandez
24. Break­ing Down the Cog­ni­tion & Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Alpha­bet Soup, by Dharma Singh Khalsa
25. Top 10 Quotes on Life­long Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, by Alvaro Fernandez
27. Q&A with Yaakov Stern on Brain Reserve, Exer­cise, Cog­ni­tive Train­ing, Angry Birds, by Alvaro Fernandez
28. It is Not Only Cars That Deserve Good Main­te­nance: Brain Care 101, by Alvaro Fernandez
29. Eval­u­a­tion Check­list for Brain Fit­ness prod­ucts and games, by Alvaro Fernandez
30. Mind­ful­ness and Med­i­ta­tion in Schools for Stress Man­age­ment, by Jill Sutie
31. Stress and Neural Wreck­age: Part of the Brain Plas­tic­ity Puz­zle, by Gre­gory Kellet
32. Cog­ni­tive and Emo­tional Devel­op­ment Through Play, by David Elkind
33. AARP’s Brain Fit­ness Best Books List, by SharpBrains
34. Judith Beck: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son, by Alvaro Fernandez
35. Improve Mem­ory with Sleep, Prac­tice, and Test­ing, by Bill Klemm
36. 10 Brain Tips To Teach and Learn, by Lau­rie Bartels
37. Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg on Cog­ni­tive Train­ing and Brain Fit­ness, by Alvaro Fernandez
38. Mind­ful­ness Med­i­ta­tion for Adults & Teens with ADHD, by David Rabiner
39. Phys­i­cal Exer­cise and Brain Health, by Pas­cale Michelon
40. Sleep, Tetris, Mem­ory and the Brain, by Shan­non Moffet

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