Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


To delay dementia, try challenging (vs. routine) brain stimulation…up to a point

brain__skeletonBrain games that could pay off in retire­ment (MarketWatch):

Cog­ni­tive aging is the biggest health cri­sis in our coun­try,” said Denise C. Park…the mon­e­tary cost of demen­tia in the U.S. tops $157 bil­lion annu­ally, accord­ing to esti­mates by the Rand Corp.—and that num­ber could more than Read the rest of this entry »

Calisthenics and Brain Games for a Child’s Mind

calisthenics-for-a-childs-mind_1Brain Games Aim to Make Kids Smarter (SciAm Mind, requires sub­scrip­tion):
“Sci­en­tists have con­cocted men­tal fit­ness reg­i­mens to strengthen weak think­ing skills in students—in effect, mak­ing kids smarter…Psychologists have long believed that think­ing capac­i­ties such as atten­tion, mem­ory and rea­son­ing were fixed, but Read the rest of this entry »

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

brain fitness eventWe 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 »

Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning — Learning & The Brain Conference

Alvaro and I had the good for­tune to attend a great con­fer­ence last week called Learn­ing & The Brain: Enhanc­ing Cog­ni­tion and Emo­tions for Learn­ing. It was a fas­ci­nat­ing mix of neu­ro­sci­en­tists and edu­ca­tors talk­ing with and lis­ten­ing to each other. Some top­ics were meant to be applied today, but many were food for thought — insight on where sci­ence and edu­ca­tion are headed and how they influ­ence each other.

Using dra­matic new imag­ing tech­niques, such as fMRIs, PET, and SPECT, neu­ro­sci­en­tists are gain­ing valu­able infor­ma­tion about learn­ing. This pio­neer­ing knowl­edge is lead­ing not only to new ped­a­go­gies, but also to new med­ica­tions, brain enhance­ment tech­nolo­gies, and ther­a­pies.… The Con­fer­ence cre­ates an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary forum — a meet­ing place for neu­ro­sci­en­tists, edu­ca­tors, psy­chol­o­gists, clin­i­cians, and par­ents — to exam­ine these new research find­ings with respect to their applic­a­bil­ity in the class­room and clin­i­cal practice.


  • Humans are a mix­ture of cog­ni­tion and emo­tion, and both ele­ments are essen­tial to func­tion and learn properly
  • Edu­ca­tors and pub­lic pol­icy mak­ers need to learn more about the brain, how it grows, and how to cul­ti­vate it
  • Stu­dents of all ages need to be both chal­lenged and nur­tured in order to succeed
  • Peo­ple learn dif­fer­ently — try to teach and learn through as many dif­fer­ent modal­i­ties as pos­si­ble (engage lan­guage, motor skills, artis­tic cre­ation, social inter­ac­tion, sen­sory input, etc.)
  • While short-term stress can heighten your cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, long term stress kills you — you need to find bal­ance and release
  • Test anx­i­ety and sub­se­quent poor test results can be improved with behav­ioral train­ing with feed­back based on heart rate variability
  • Dr. Robert Sapol­sky is a very very enlight­en­ing and fun speaker
  • Allow time for rest and con­sol­i­da­tion of learned material
  • Emo­tional mem­o­ries are eas­ier to remember
  • Con­fer­ences like these per­form a real ser­vice in fos­ter­ing dia­logues between sci­en­tists and educators

Read the rest of this entry »

Are yoga and meditation good for my brain?

Here is ques­tion 16 of 25 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions.

Are yoga and med­i­ta­tion good for my brain?

Key Points:

  • Yoga, med­i­ta­tion, and visu­al­iza­tion are all excel­lent ways to learn to man­age your stress levels.
  • Reduc­ing stress, and the stress hor­mones, in your sys­tem is crit­i­cal to your brain and over­all fitness.

Yes. It’s clear that our soci­ety has changed faster than our genes. Instead of being faced with phys­i­cal, imme­di­ately life-threatening crises that demand instant action, these days we deal with events and ill­nesses that gnaw away at us slowly, with­out any stress release.
Read the rest of this entry »




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