Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


FAQ about SharpBrains Council for Brain Fitness Innovation

We have received many good ques­tions about the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion — below you have some answers.

Ques­tion: We are based in Asia/ Australia/ Europe. Will time dif­fer­ences pre­vent us from par­tic­i­pat­ing in monthly brief­ings and ben­e­fit­ing from the Council?

Answer: We will do our best to facil­i­tate a truly global com­mu­nity and exchange. Please con­sider that…

  1. we will sched­ule monthly brief­ings at 2 sep­a­rate times, one at 9am US Pacific Time, the other at 4pm US Pacific Time, both cov­er­ing the same topic (but per­haps with dif­fer­ent guest speak­ers). And brief­ings will be recorded.
  2. most activ­i­ties and resources are asyn­chro­nous any­way. Our mar­ket intel­li­gence reports and other mate­ri­als are avail­able via this members-only online com­mu­nity 24/7, same as online dis­cus­sion forums, focused groups to track/ dis­cuss spe­cific top­ics, the abil­ity to ask ques­tions to and con­nect with other members…

Ques­tion: Will some­thing change regard­ing blog and monthly newslet­ter, which are great free resources?

Answer: We plan to  main­tain those free resources, focus­ing on con­tent of a gen­eral inter­est for every­one with a brain. The Council’s pur­pose is to cre­ate a new valu­able in-depth resource and com­mu­nity for pro­fes­sion­als and orga­ni­za­tions active with brain fit­ness ini­tia­tives, so we can all learn and share dur­ing the year, and help the field mature. That will include Read the rest of this entry »

Distracted in the Workplace? Meet Maggie Jackson’s Book (Part 2 of 2)

Today we con­tinue the con­ver­sa­tion with Mag­gie Jack­son, author of Dis­tracted: The Ero­sion of Atten­tion and the Com­ing Dark Age.

You can read part 1 here.

Q — In your Har­vard Man­age­ment Update inter­view, you said that “When what we pay atten­tion to is dri­ven by the last email we received, the triv­ial and the cru­cial occupy the same plane.” As well, it seems to be that a prob­lem is our culture’s over-idealization of “always on” and “road war­rior” habits, which dis­tract from the impor­tance of exec­u­tive func­tions such as pay­ing atten­tion to one’s envi­ron­ment, set­ting up goals and plans, exe­cut­ing on them, mea­sur­ing results, and inter­nal­iz­ing learn­ing. How can com­pa­nies bet­ter equip their employ­ees for future suc­cess? Can you offer some exam­ples of com­pa­nies who have pos­i­tive cul­tures that encour­age and reward employ­ees fully put their frontal lobes into good use?

A.  As I men­tioned above, we are work­ing and liv­ing in ways that under­mine our abil­ity to strate­gize, focus, reflect, inno­vate. Skim­ming, mul­ti­task­ing and speed all have a place in 21st-century life. But we can’t let go of deeper skills of focus and think­ing and relat­ing, or we’ll cre­ate a soci­ety of mis­un­der­stand­ing and shal­low thinking.

To cre­ate work­places that fos­ter strate­gic think­ing, deep social con­nec­tion and inno­va­tion, we need to take three steps:

First, ques­tion the val­ues that ven­er­ate McThink­ing and under­mine atten­tion. Recently, my morn­ing paper car­ried a front-page story about efforts in an age of impa­tience to cre­ate a quick-boot com­puter. It’s ridicu­lous to ask peo­ple to wait a cou­ple of min­utes to start up their com­puter, explained one tech exec­u­tive. The first hand up in the class­room, the hyper business-man or woman who can’t sit still, much less lis­ten  these are icons of suc­cess in Amer­i­can soci­ety. Still, many of us are begin­ning to ques­tion our ado­ra­tion of instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion and hyper-mobility.

Sec­ond, we need to set the stage for focus indi­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively by rewrit­ing our cli­mate of dis­trac­tion and inat­ten­tion. To help, some com­pa­nies and busi­ness lead­ers are exper­i­ment­ing with white space the cre­ation of phys­i­cal spaces or times on the cal­en­dar for unin­ter­rupted, unwired think­ing and Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Driving Skills and Brain Functioning– Interview with ACTIVE’s Jerri Edwards

Jerri Edwards- Active trialToday we are for­tu­nate to inter­view Dr. Jerri Edwards, an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at Uni­ver­sity of South Florida’s School of Aging Stud­ies and Co-Investigator of the influ­en­cial ACTIVE study. Dr. Edwards was trained by Dr. Kar­lene K. Ball, and her research is aimed toward dis­cov­er­ing how cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties can be main­tained and even enhanced with advanc­ing age.

Main focus of research

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Please explain to our read­ers your main research areas

Jerri Edwards: I am par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in how cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions may help older adults to avoid or at least delay func­tional dif­fi­cul­ties and thereby main­tain their inde­pen­dence longer. Much of my work has focused on the func­tional abil­ity of dri­ving includ­ing assess­ing dri­ving fit­ness among older adults and reme­di­a­tion of cog­ni­tive decline that results in dri­ving difficulties.

Some research ques­tions that inter­est me include, how can we main­tain health­ier lives longer? How can train­ing improve cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, both to improve those abil­i­ties and also to slow-down, or delay, cog­ni­tive decline? The spe­cific cog­ni­tive abil­ity that I have stud­ied the most is pro­cess­ing speed, which is one of the cog­ni­tive skills that decline early on as we age.

ACTIVE results

Can you explain what cog­ni­tive pro­cess­ing speed is, and why it is rel­e­vant to our daily lives?

Pro­cess­ing speed is men­tal quick­ness. Just like a com­puter with a 486 proces­sor can do a lot of the same things as a com­puter with a Pen­tium 4 proces­sor, but it takes much longer, our minds tend to slow down with age as com­pared to when we were younger. We can do the same tasks, but it takes more time. Quick speed of pro­cess­ing is impor­tant for Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Software Trends

Some very inter­est­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket news:

1) Sci­en­tific Learn­ing To Buy Out Soliloquy

- “Sci­en­tific Learn­ing Corp. has announced that it will acquire Solil­o­quy Learn­ing from JTT Hold­ings. Both Sci­en­tific Learn­ing and Solil­o­quy pro­vide tech­nol­ogy solu­tions for edu­ca­tion. The acqui­si­tion will cost SLC about $11 mil­lion and is expected to be com­pleted this month.”

- “Sci­en­tific Learn­ing is the devel­oper of Fast For­Word, a fam­ily of read­ing inter­ven­tion tools tar­geted toward stu­dents who are char­ac­ter­ized as strug­gling learn­ers and designed to develop the required “neu­rocog­ni­tive skills” for read­ing and learn­ing in gen­eral. Solil­o­quy is also a read­ing inter­ven­tion developer.”

Com­ment: this acqui­si­tion con­sol­i­dates Sci­en­tific Learn­ing (NSDQ: SCIL) as the lead­ing com­pany in the edu­ca­tion seg­ment of the brain fit­ness mar­ket. It will be inter­est­ing to track what research gets done on the neural and cog­ni­tive effects of Solil­o­quy, since Sci­en­tific Learning’s Fast For­word is backed by exten­sive literature.

2) Tech­no­me­dia Part­ners With SBT to Accel­er­ate Its Inter­na­tional Expansion

- “Tech­no­me­dia, a Cana­dian provider of tal­ent man­age­ment and human cap­i­tal devel­op­ment solu­tions, announced its part­ner­ship with the SBT (Sci­en­tific Brain Train­ing) group, a Euro­pean provider of train­ing and eval­u­a­tion of cog­ni­tive func­tions.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Fitness, The Future of Work, and Concept Maps

Some weeks ago we explained how use­ful Con­cept Maps can be to quickly visu­al­ize the key ideas in a field, and their relationships.

Let me show you this fan­tas­tic exam­ple. A few weeks ago I was inter­viewed by David Pescovitz of the Insti­tute for the Future (blog) to dis­cuss The Future of Work and Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness trends. They had an artist who drew the graph below IN REAL TIME, AS WE SPOKE. Very impressive.

Please open the full image by click­ing on it, and spend a few min­utes read­ing around, top-down, left-to right.

You will learn much about what the future may bring (will Human Resources staff become “Cog­ni­tive Resources Man­agers”?), and also how to dis­play com­plex infor­ma­tion in beau­ti­ful visual form.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Kudos to the Insti­tute for the Future, an inde­pen­dent non­profit research group,  for a fas­ci­nat­ing event on The Future of Work.

Credit for the Map: Anthony Weeks, from Grove Con­sul­tants.

(Dear RSS read­ers: I’d really appre­ci­ate if you could Digg this post. You can find the Digg but­ton if you visit this post in our blog. Thanks!)

Brain Exercise and Fitness: September Monthly Digest

Crossword PuzzleFol­low­ing our July and August edi­tions, here you have our Monthly Digest of the Most Pop­u­lar Blog Posts. Today, Octo­ber 2nd, we will list the most pop­u­lar Sep­tem­ber 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).

Mar­ket News

Edu­ca­tion, Train­ing, Health events: some events I will blog about/ speak at over the next 2-weeks.

Brain Fit­ness and in the Press: includ­ing a great Wash­ing­ton Post article.

Brains Way Smarter Than Ours (and yours, prob­a­bly): roundup of rel­e­vant news, includ­ing some Awards.

News you can use

10 (Sur­pris­ing) Mem­ory Improve­ment Tips: on the rela­tion­ship between stress and memory.

Judith Beck: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son: a cog­ni­tive ther­apy pio­neer tells us about the lat­est appli­ca­tion of brain train­ing: diets.

Brain Well­ness: Train Your Brain to Be Hap­pier: our essay to par­tic­i­pate in LifeTwo’s Hap­pi­ness week.


11 Neu­ro­sci­en­tists Debunk a Com­mon Myth about Brain Train­ing: sum­mary of our 11 orig­i­nal inter­views with lead­ing neu­ro­sci­en­tists and cog­ni­tive psychologists.

Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity 101 and Brain Health Glos­sary: no one is born know­ing it all…check this sum­mary of con­cepts and key­words that can help nav­i­gate through the brain fit­ness field.

Work­ing Mem­ory: an image that says much: bad and good news.

Best of the Brain from Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can: review of this great book.

An online appli­ca­tion sys­tem is now open for the AAAS Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Pol­icy Fellowships.

Cor­po­rate Train­ing & Leadership

Car­ni­val of the cap­i­tal­ists with a brain: we hosted this busi­ness blog car­ni­val with a brain spice.

Exec­u­tive Func­tions and Google/ Microsoft Brain Teasers: exam­ples of what our exec­u­tive func­tions are.

Soft­ware Prod­uct News

Mind­Fit by Cog­niFit, and Baroness Susan Green­field: a brain fit­ness pro­gram start­ing to get trac­tion in Europe.

Penn Treaty First To Offer Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram: today’s press release on another brain train­ing soft­ware (Posit Science)‘s deal with an insur­ance provider.

Visu­al­iza­tion Soft­ware of IBM for the Future of Med­i­cine: Inter­view: “It’s like Google Earth for the body”. Hope­fully it will include the brain.

Brain Teasers

Brain Teasers with a Neu­ro­science angle: enjoy.

Sharp­Brains Announcements

Ser­vices: we will for­mally announce soon how we “help com­pa­nies, health providers, investors, and pol­i­cy­mak­ers under­stand and profit from the emerg­ing brain fit­ness field.” But now you know.

Speak­ing: if your orga­ni­za­tion needs a good speaker and brain fit­ness expert, please con­tact us.

Finally, we are start­ing to look for qual­i­fied guest blog­gers to add their per­spec­tive. If you are inter­ested, please con­tact us and let us know about what you would like to write about, and include a brief bio or links to sam­ples. Thank you.

Brain Exercise and Fitness: August Monthly Digest

Crossword PuzzleAs we announced last month, we have started to offer a Monthly Digest of the Most Pop­u­lar Blog Posts. Today, Sep­tem­ber 2nd, we will list the most pop­u­lar August posts. 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).

News You Can Use

The Ten Habits of Highly Effec­tive Brains: our most suc­cess­ful post so far, on how to main­tain fit brains, with over 70,000 read­ers in a few days!

Phys­i­cal Exer­cise Boosts Mem­ory: “It is impor­tant for peo­ple of all ages to do 20 to 30 min­utes of aer­o­bic exer­cise sev­eral times a week.”

Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket News

Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram 2.0, Mind­Fit, and more: overview and com­men­tary on recent New York Times and The Times articles.

Brain Train­ing Games and “Games”: 10-questions to help eval­u­ate pro­grams mak­ing brain train­ing claims.

Neu­rotech­nol­ogy, Health and Brain Fit­ness News: a few announcements.

Cor­po­rate Well­ness and Training

Train­ing the Aging Work­force: an overview of demo­graphic trends and impli­ca­tions, rel­e­vant to every HR and Train­ing pro­fes­sional and boomer.

On Learn­ing and “Being Smart”

Feed Your Brain with Fun Neu­ro­science: some of my favorite quotes from our Neu­ro­science Inter­view Series.

Smart Brains, Becom­ing Smarter, and Intel­li­gence: an essay by David Gamon on what being “smart” means and what hap­pens as we age.


Cog­ni­tive train­ing research: Mind­Fit, Lumos­ity, Posit Sci­ence, Cogmed: overview of some recently pub­lished and ongo­ing stud­ies.: overview of some recently pub­lished and ongo­ing studies.

Cog­ni­tive Enhance­ment and Exer­cise, by Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg: a nice pod­cast inter­view with our co-founder, neu­ro­sci­en­tist Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg.

I hope you enjoy these arti­cles and find them use­ful. And stim­u­lat­ing!. Please feel free to sug­gest top­ics you would like me to cover in the future.

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