Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Why I Wrote The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

We have always thought that “our brain shapes us.” I wrote my new book, The Woman Who Changed Her Brain (May 2012; Free Press, Fore­word by Nor­man Doidge), to prove that the reverse is equally true. I wanted to demon­strate how “we can shape our brains.”

Imag­ine hav­ing a brain that is capa­ble and inca­pable at the same time. Grow­ing up, I had severe learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. I lived in a world that was con­fus­ing and incom­pre­hen­si­ble. As I was to later dis­cover, a crit­i­cal part of my brain was not work­ing prop­erly, the end result being that all lan­guage was expe­ri­enced as for­eign and my trans­la­tor was Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement: Building an Experience Corps

(Editor’s note: Path­ways respon­si­ble for higher-order think­ing in the pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC), or exec­u­tive cen­ter of the brain, remain vul­ner­a­ble through­out life—during crit­i­cal early-life devel­op­men­tal win­dows, when the PFC fully matures in the early 20s, and finally from declines asso­ci­ated with old age. At all ages, phys­i­cal activ­ity and PFC-navigated social con­nec­tions are essen­tial com­po­nents to main­tain­ing brain health. The Expe­ri­ence Corps, a community-based social-engagement pro­gram, part­ners seniors with local schools to pro­mote purpose-driven involve­ment. Par­tic­i­pat­ing seniors have exhib­ited imme­di­ate short-term gains in brain regions vul­ner­a­ble to aging, such as the PFC, indi­cat­ing that peo­ple with the most to lose have the most to gain from envi­ron­men­tal enrichment.)

Over the last decade, sci­en­tists made two key dis­cov­er­ies that reframed our under­stand­ing of the adult brain’s poten­tial to ben­e­fit from life­long envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment. First, they learned that the adult brain remains plas­tic; it can gen­er­ate new neu­rons in response to phys­i­cal activ­ity and new expe­ri­ences. Sec­ond, they con­firmed the impor­tance of social con­nect­ed­ness to late-life cog­ni­tive, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and phys­i­cal health. The inte­gra­tion of these find­ings with our under­stand­ing of indi­vid­u­als’ devel­op­men­tal needs through­out life under­scores the impor­tance of the “social brain.” The pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC) is par­tic­u­larly inte­gral to nav­i­gat­ing com­plex social behav­iors and hier­ar­chies over the life course. Read the rest of this entry »

Experience Corps: Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement

The cur­rent issue of Cere­brum –a great pub­li­ca­tion of the Dana Foun­da­tion– includes the excel­lent in-depth arti­cle Pro­mot­ing Healthy, Mean­ing­ful Aging Through Social Involve­ment: Build­ing an Expe­ri­ence Corps, writ­ten by researcher Michelle Carlson:

Over the last decade, sci­en­tists made two key dis­cov­er­ies that reframed our under­stand­ing of the adult brain’s poten­tial to ben­e­fit from life­long envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment. First, they learned that the adult brain remains plas­tic; it can gen­er­ate new neu­rons in response to phys­i­cal activ­ity and new expe­ri­ences. Sec­ond, they con­firmed the impor­tance of Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Ability: Brain Games or Drugs?

A recent sci­en­tific study is being wel­comed as a land­mark that shows how fluid intel­li­gence can be improved through train­ing. I inter­viewed one of the researchers recently (Can Intel­li­gence Be Trained? Mar­tin Buschkuehl shows how), and con­trib­u­tor Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon adds her own take with the great arti­cle that fol­lows. Enjoy!

Ref­er­ence: Jaeggi, S. M., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., & Per­rig, W. J. (2008). Improv­ing Fluid Intel­li­gence With Train­ing on Work­ing Mem­ory. Pro­ceed­ings of the National Acad­emy of Sci­ences of the United States of Amer­ica, 105(19), 6829–6833

——————

What is intelligence?

Intel­li­gence is a con­cept dif­fi­cult to define as it seems to cover many dif­fer­ent types of abilities.

One def­i­n­i­tion dis­so­ci­ates between crys­tal­lized intel­li­gence or abil­i­ties and fluid intel­li­gence. Crys­tal­lized intel­li­gence refers to the knowl­edge acquired through­out life such as vocab­u­lary. Fluid intel­li­gence is the abil­ity that allows us to adapt to new sit­u­a­tions or problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to SharpBrains.com

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour­nal, CNN and more, Sharp­Brains is an inde­pen­dent mar­ket research firm track­ing health and well­ness appli­ca­tions of brain science.
FIRST-TIME VISITOR? Dis­cover HERE the most pop­u­lar resources at SharpBrains.com

Follow us via

twitter_logo_header
Enter Your Email and Sub­scribe to our free Monthly eNewslet­ter:
Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.