Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


To Harness Neuroplasticity, Start with Enthusiasm

We are the archi­tects and builders of our own brains.

For mil­len­nia, how­ever, we were obliv­i­ous to our enor­mous cre­ative capa­bil­i­ties. We had no idea that our brains were chang­ing in response to our actions and atti­tudes, every day of our lives. So we uncon­sciously and ran­domly shaped our brains and our lat­ter years because we believed we had an immutable brain that was at the mercy of our genes.

Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

Childrens’ Self Control and Creativity: Two Seeds of Intelligence

Most par­ents want the best for their chil­dren and hope they will be healthy, happy and smart indi­vid­u­als. And most par­ents won­der what they should do to make sure this hap­pens. In Brain Rules for Baby, John Med­ina (author of Brain Rules), pro­vides a good sum­mary of cog­ni­tive sci­ence find­ings that shed light on how a baby’s brain grows from 0 to 5.  In this book you learn as much about fac­tors inher­ent to a child that par­ents can­not con­trol (the seeds) as about fac­tors that par­ents can con­trol (the soil). What fol­lows is an excerpt from the “Smart Baby: Seeds” chap­ter in which John Med­ina describes the many “ingre­di­ents that make up the human intel­li­gence stew”.

2. Self Control

A healthy, well­-adjusted preschooler sits down at a table in front of two giant, freshly baked choco­late chip cook­ies. It’s not a kitchen table—it’s Wal­ter Mischel’s Stan­ford lab dur­ing the late 1960s. The smell is heav­enly. “You see these cook­ies?” Mis­chel says. “You can eat just one of them right now if you want, but if you wait, you can eat both. I have to go away for five min­utes. If I return and you have not eaten any­thing, I will let you have both cook­ies. If you eat one while I’m gone, the bar­gain is off and you don’t get the sec­ond one. Do we have a deal?” The child nods. The researcher leaves.

What does the child do? Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Cognitive Health and Brain Fitness Books

Here you have The 10 Most Pop­u­lar Brain Fit­ness & Cog­ni­tive Health Books, based on book pur­chases by Sharp­Brains’ read­ers dur­ing 2008.


Brain Rules-John Medina
1. Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School (Pear Press, March 2008)
- Dr. John Med­ina, Direc­tor of the Brain Cen­ter for Applied Learn­ing Research at Seat­tle Pacific Uni­ver­sity, writes an engag­ing and com­pre­hen­sive intro­duc­tion to the many daily impli­ca­tions of recent brain research. He wrote the arti­cle Brain Rules: sci­ence and prac­tice for Sharp­Brains readers.
2. The Beck Diet Solu­tion: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son (Oxmoor House, March 2007)
- Dr. Judith Beck, Direc­tor of the Beck Insti­tute for Cog­ni­tive Ther­apy and Research, con­nects the world of research-based cog­ni­tive ther­apy with a main­stream appli­ca­tion: main­tain­ing weight-loss. Inter­view notes here.
3. The Brain That Changes Itself: Sto­ries of Per­sonal Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence (Viking, March 2007)
- Dr. Nor­man Doidge, psy­chi­a­trist and author of this New York Times best­seller, brings us “a com­pelling col­lec­tion of tales about the amaz­ing abil­i­ties of the brain to rewire, read­just and relearn”. Lau­rie Bar­tels reviews the book review here.
Spark John Ratey
4. Spark: The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary New Sci­ence of Exer­cise and the Brain(Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pany, Jan­u­ary 2008)
- Dr. John Ratey, an asso­ciate clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of psy­chi­a­try at Har­vard Med­ical School, sum­ma­rizes the grow­ing research on the brain ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal exer­cise. Lau­rie Bar­tels puts this research in per­spec­tive here.
5. The Art of Chang­ing the Brain: Enrich­ing the Prac­tice of Teach­ing by Explor­ing the Biol­ogy of Learn­ing (Sty­lus Pub­lish­ing, Octo­ber 2002)
- Dr. James Zull, Direc­tor Emer­i­tus of the Uni­ver­sity Cen­ter for Inno­va­tion in Teach­ing and Edu­ca­tion at Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­sity, writes a must-read for edu­ca­tors and life­long learn­ers. Inter­view notes here.
6. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Sci­ence Reveals Our Extra­or­di­nary Poten­tial to Trans­form Our­selves (Bal­lan­tine Books, Jan­u­ary 2007)
- Sharon Beg­ley, Newsweek’ excel­lent sci­ence writer, pro­vides an in-depth intro­duc­tion to the research on neu­ro­plas­tic­ity based on a Mind & Life Insti­tute event.
7. Thanks: How the New Sci­ence of Grat­i­tude Can Make You Hap­pier (Houghton Mif­flin, August 2007)
- Prof. Robert Emmons, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­ogy at UC Davis and Editor-In-Chief of the Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy, writes a solid book that com­bines a research-based syn­the­sis of the topic as well as prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions. Inter­view notes here.
8. The Exec­u­tive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civ­i­lized Mind (Oxford Uni­ver­sity Press, Jan­u­ary 2001)
- Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy at New York Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine, pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing per­spec­tive on the role of the frontal roles and exec­u­tive func­tions through the lifes­pan. Inter­view notes here.
Brain Trust Program 9. The Brain Trust Pro­gram: A Sci­en­tif­i­cally Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Mem­ory (Perigee Trade, Sep­tem­ber 2007)
- Dr. Larry McCleary, for­mer act­ing Chief of Pedi­atric Neu­ro­surgery at Den­ver Children’s Hos­pi­tal, cov­ers many lifestyle rec­om­men­da­tions for brain health in this prac­ti­cal book. He wrote the arti­cle Brain Evo­lu­tion and Health for SharpBrains.
10. A User’s Guide to the Brain: Per­cep­tion, Atten­tion, and the Four The­aters of the Brain (Pan­theon, Jan­u­ary 2001)
– In this book (pre­vi­ous to Spark), Dr. John Ratey pro­vides a stim­u­lat­ing descrip­tion of how the brain works. An excel­lent Brain 101 book to any­one new to the field.

Brain Science: “Brain Rules” Podcast

We are fans of the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast series hosted by Gin­ger Camp­bell, so are pleased to announce that Dr. Camp­bell will start offer­ing to Sharp­Brains read­ers, peri­od­i­cally, the high­lights of her most inter­est­ing pod­casts. Below, her first post. Enjoy!

- Alvaro


In a recent inter­view on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast, Dr. John Med­ina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School shared some of the prac­ti­cal impli­ca­tions of recent neu­ro­science research.

We talked about the impor­tance of exer­cise and sleep and we dis­cussed why appre­ci­at­ing how our mem­ory and atten­tion sys­tems really work could change how we run schools, busi­nesses, and even our daily lives.

For exam­ple, Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training/ Fitness Seminars

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in our first Brain Fit­ness Webi­nar Series, and are glad how the exper­i­ment well. We are already think­ing of top­ics and speak­ers for a sec­ond one, so stay tuned!

In case you couldn’t attend them, we are shar­ing the slides we used (we did not record the webi­nar ses­sions). Here you go:

1) Webi­nar #1: Pre­sen­ta­tion Slides Here.

In “The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket, 2008, I pro­videdBrain Fitness Market Report an overview of the sci­ence, mar­ket, and ven­dor land­scape of the emerg­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket, based on our recent mar­ket report.
– Tar­get audi­ence: Exec­u­tives, pro­fes­sion­als, investors, reporters and blog­gers inter­ested in learn­ing more about the brain fit­ness mar­ket.
– More infor­ma­tion: Mar­ket Report.

2) Webi­nar #2: Pre­sen­ta­tion Slides Here.

In “Brain Rules for Think­ing Smarter, John Med­ina, devel­op­men­tal Brain Rules-John Medinamol­e­c­u­lar biologist

Read the rest of this entry »

The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness

A few quick updates: Lecture

1)  Yes­ter­day we had a fun webi­nar with John Med­ina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School.

You may enjoy check­ing out the slides we dis­cussed.

2) Please remem­ber that there is another webi­nar com­ing, next Tues­day. I hope you can join us!

Webi­nar: In “The Sci­ence and Prac­tice of Brain Fit­ness, I will pro­vide an overview of the Brain 101, lat­est research find­ings and impli­ca­tions for how to improve brain health and per­for­mance based on my class at UC-Berkeley Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute and speak­ing engage­ments.
– Tar­get audi­ence: Any­one who wants to learn more about brain health and per­for­mance. This is designed to be not a tech­ni­cal ses­sion, but a fun, stim­u­lat­ing hour.
– Date and time: Tues­day June 10th, 2pm EDT/ 11am PDT
Reg­is­ter: Here

Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training Presentation and Seminars

We had an infor­ma­tive webi­nar this Tues­day, dis­cussing the State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Brain Fitness Market Reportmar­ket today, based on the find­ings in our Mar­ket Report. In case you missed it, you can find below a link to check out and down­load the Pow­er­Point slides I pre­sented (just the visu­als, with­out audio) to cover these areas:

1– The Four Pil­lars for Brain Health

2– Cog­ni­tive Abil­i­ties can Be Ass­esed and Trained

3– An emerg­ing field, and poised to grow

4– A con­fus­ing player land­scape. Think “What For”, not “Best”.

Link: State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008

Please remem­ber that we have 2 upcom­ing webi­nars, and you can still register!:

Read the rest of this entry »

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