Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Great book review by The New York Public Library

BrainFitnessLifecycle_webWhat Does a Brain Want? Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and the Sharp­Brains Team Put Brain Fit­ness to the Test (New York Pub­lic Library):

Many have referred to the 21st cen­tury as the cen­tury of the brain. In the 20th cen­tury the aver­age lifes­pan in the U.S. increased from 47 to 74, but research on the brain lagged behind. As lifes­pan increases this becomes more and more of a soci­etal, and per­sonal, concern…

May I rec­om­mend a book to cut through the chat­ter on the brain? The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance at Any Age…I dis­cov­ered Sharp­Brains when Read the rest of this entry »

Update: A Fresh Look at Enhancing Brain & Mental Health Across the Lifespan

kid brainTime for Sharp­Brains’ May 2013 e-newsletter, which fea­tures a vari­ety of arti­cles offer­ing a more opti­mistic and evidence-based approach to brain and men­tal health than cur­rent practices.

First of all, let us high­light that Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can just pub­lished an excel­lent review of our new book. The author sums it up by say­ing that “…I wish I had read this awe­some guide when I was much younger…I find the emerg­ing field of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity immensely excit­ing, and guides like this one are both hope­ful and rea­son­able.” As a reader points out, the word “awe­some” does not appear often in science-oriented publications…so we are espe­cially proud to see the book merit such treatment.

New think­ing:

New sci­ence:

New tools:

That’s it for now. Have a stim­u­lat­ing June!

Train your brain with targeted videogames, not with crossword puzzles

cognition-road-tour-combinedStudy shows men­tal agility game slows cog­ni­tive decline in older peo­ple (Iowa Now): “Wolin­sky and col­leagues sep­a­rated 681 gen­er­ally healthy med­ical patients in Iowa into four groups—each fur­ther sep­a­rated into those 50 to 64 years of age and those over age 65. One group was given com­put­er­ized cross­word puz­zles, while three other groups were exposed to a video game called Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Training & Brain Teasers Can Increase Openness Among Older Adults

Brain Teasers Make Seniors More Open to New Ven­tures (med­page today):

- ” A cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram that included Sudoku and cross­word puz­zles made older adults more open to new expe­ri­ences, accord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary study.”

- “Older adults undergo changes in per­son­al­ity, includ­ing shifts in open­ness or will­ing­ness to seek out new and cog­ni­tively chal­leng­ing expe­ri­ences. A num­ber of inter­ven­tions have been designed to enrich cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing in older adults, but lit­tle has been done to develop open­ness, the authors explained.” Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Alvaro Fernandez on Brain Health and Non-invasive Cognitive Enhancement

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yes­ter­day on life­long cog­ni­tive fit­ness, “men­tal cap­i­tal­ism”, and more,  with Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, co-author of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, mod­er­ated by Harry Moody, Direc­tor of Aca­d­e­mic Affairs at AARP.

Read the rest of this entry »

February Update: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century

Wel­come to the Feb­ru­ary edi­tion of Sharp­Brains monthly eNewslet­ter:

First Report of the Coun­cil on the Age­ing Soci­ety: Global Pol­icy jour­nal pub­lishes the full Pol­icy Prin­ci­ples and call to action out­lined by the Global Agenda Coun­cil on the Age­ing Soci­ety, an ini­tia­tive run by the World Eco­nomic Forum which our CEO Alvaro Fer­nan­dez was hon­ored to join in 2008.

Love Your Brain:  Did you remem­ber to love your brain on St. Valentine’s Day? Let Dr. Mar­ian Dia­mond show why we bet­ter do so –and how.


Who will Ben­e­fit From Train­ing?  New research shows that mea­sur­ing brain activ­ity pat­terns can pre­dict who may ben­e­fit most from tran­ing inter­ven­tions –and who may not. Please note that the Kramer lab involved in this research is now offer­ing a post­doc­toral fellowship.

A Quick Test to Detect Ath­letes’ Con­cus­sions:  This new test can be per­formed at the side­line of sport­ing events to help detect con­cus­sions by look­ing at dif­fer­ent types of eye movements.

The Best Way to Learn: Tak­ing a test in which you recall what you have read seems to be a much bet­ter strat­egy than either study­ing the mate­r­ial repeat­edly or draw­ing detailed dia­grams of what you are learning.


Brain Train­ing Games for Seniors: Donal O’Brien, from Queens Uni­ver­sity at Belfast, tells us about what moti­vates seniors to use a brain train­ing app.

Do Cross­word Puz­zles Help to Coun­ter­act the Aging Process? If so, Which Ones and How? Researcher Nick Almond com­pares the stim­u­la­tion poten­tial of two dif­fer­ent types of cross­words: gen­eral knowl­edge and cryptic.

Vit­a­min D and Cog­ni­tive Decline: This study sup­ports that patients with vit­a­min D defi­ciency show an increased risk of cog­ni­tive decline.

Baby Sleeps and Brain Devel­op­ment: How much sleep a 12 month old baby gets can influ­ence the devel­op­ment of his/her exec­u­tive functions.

PTSD: Can we Dis­rupt the Recon­sol­i­da­tion of Trau­matic Mem­o­ries? A dis­cus­sion of the dif­fer­ent tech­niques used/ under research that can help PTSD patients.


Books and Sum­mit Updates

Visual Illu­sions in Art and Sci­ence: These sur­pris­ing clas­sic illu­sions illus­trate how art and magic can help sci­ence in under­tans­ing how we per­ceive the world around us.

2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit Agenda: You can now view the lat­est Agenda for the whole Sum­mit and a 3-minute clip to learn how the Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit: Retool­ing Brain Health for the 21st Cen­tury (March 30th — April 1st) will work.


Brain Teaser

Mea­sure your Men­tal Speed and Flex­i­bil­ity: Finally, let us chal­lenge you to try this fun and inter­ac­tive ver­sion of the famous Stroop test.

Do Crossword Puzzles Help to Counteract the Aging Process? If so, Which Ones and How?

Recently there has been an ongo­ing debate as to whether attempt­ing cross­words reg­u­larly can stave off cog­ni­tive decline, which is the hall­mark of healthy aging and demen­tia. As with many areas of psy­chol­ogy the answer to this ques­tion may not be as clear-cut as one would hope. Before con­sid­er­ing the evi­dence for whether cross­word par­tic­i­pa­tion can reduce cog­ni­tive decline in later life, it is nec­es­sary to con­sider the dif­fer­ent types of cross­words avail­able and under­stand whether one or another type may be more cog­ni­tively stim­u­lat­ing than the other. Gen­er­ally, when we think of cross­words two kinds spring to mind, either gen­eral knowl­edge or cryp­tic crosswords.

A gen­eral knowl­edge cross­word typ­i­cally has clues which are sim­i­lar to answer­ing gen­eral knowl­edge quizzes, but the solver has the ben­e­fit of know­ing how many let­ters make up the solution.

For exam­ple: “the cap­i­tal of Peru (4)”… Read the rest of this entry »

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