Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Darwin’s adult neuroplasticity

Charles Darwin 1880Charles Dar­win (1809–1882)‘s auto­bi­og­ra­phy (full text free online) includes some very insight­ful refec­tions on the evo­lu­tion of his own mind dur­ing his middle-age, show­cas­ing the power of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence (neu­ro­plas­tic­ity) dur­ing our whole lifetimes-not just when we are youngest.

He wrote these paragraphs at the age of 72 (I have bolded some key sen­tences for empha­sis, the whole text makes great reading):

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed dur­ing the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Mil­ton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shel­ley, gave me great plea­sure, and even as a school­boy I took intense delight in Shake­speare, espe­cially in the his­tor­i­cal plays. I have also said that for­merly pic­tures gave me con­sid­er­able, and music very great delight. But now for many years I can­not endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shake­speare, and found it so intol­er­a­bly dull that it nau­se­ated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pic­tures or music. Music gen­er­ally sets me think­ing too ener­get­i­cally on what I have been at work on, instead of giv­ing me plea­sure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquis­ite delight which it for­merly did. On the other hand, nov­els which are works of the imag­i­na­tion, though not of a very high order, have been for years a won­der­ful relief and plea­sure to me, and I often bless all nov­el­ists. A sur­pris­ing num­ber have been read aloud to me, and I like all if mod­er­ately good, and if they do not end unhap­pily– against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, accord­ing to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it con­tains some per­son whom one can thor­oughly love, and if a pretty woman all the better.

This curi­ous and lam­en­ta­ble loss of the higher aes­thetic tastes is all the odder, as books on his­tory, biogra­phies, and trav­els (inde­pen­dently of any sci­en­tific facts which they may con­tain), and essays on all sorts of sub­jects inter­est me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grind­ing gen­eral laws out of large col­lec­tions of facts, but why this should have caused the atro­phy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I can­not con­ceive. A man with Read the rest of this entry »

Trading psychology and Trader Performance

Pro­fes­sor, trader and author Brett Steen­barger, one of the main experts on Trad­ing psy­chol­ogy and Trader Per­for­mance (see our inter­view with him here), just announced he will speak at a Free Inter­ac­tive Webi­nar on Trader Performance

  • Dur­ing the Webi­nar, I will sum­ma­rize and elab­o­rate basic ideas from my book and also intro­duce new ideas devel­oped and applied since the book’s pub­li­ca­tion. A unique fea­ture of the ses­sion will be a par­tic­i­pant Q&A mod­er­ated by Steve.” (Steven Buss, a mem­ber of the NeoTicker forum)

He recently wrote a great post on My Favorite Tech­niques for Over­com­ing Per­for­mance Anx­i­ety in Trad­ing, includ­ing a won­der­ful tech­nique (see arti­cle to read the full description)

Reminder: sweepstakes with FREE brain training give-aways

This pro­mo­tion ends April 16th-so make sure you enter if you want to have the chance to win some nice mind and brain exer­cise for free.


Some weeks we were con­tacted by Sony Pic­tures to pro­vide the Grand Prize for one of their Sweep­stakes pro­grams, for just-released San­dra Bullock’s Pre­mo­ni­tion movie.

We were happy to put together a com­plete Brain Fit­ness Kit, some­thing like a boot camp for the brain (a “brain camp”?), which you can get FOR FREE. The kit is com­posed of:

- One (1) Com­plete Men­tal Work­out Soft­ware pro­gram (Mind­Fit) that helps train mem­ory and other skills (ARV: $149.00)
– One (1) Stress Man­age­ment Biofeed­back pro­gram (Freeze-Framer) (ARV: $320.00)
– One (1) Exer­cise Your Brain DVD (ARV: $20.00)
– One (1) Brain Fit­ness 101 eBook ($12.00)

- Five (5) pri­vate phone-based ses­sions with our Brain Coach (you will hear more about this soon) (ARV: $350.00)
If you want the chance to win this Prize, together with a $1,000 check, you can sim­ply visit Pre­mo­ni­tion Expect the Unex­pected Sweep­stakes pro­gram and fill in your details. There is no cost asso­ci­ated with this pro­mo­tion. This is why you are see­ing ban­ners in this site for the first time.

Good luck!

MindFit Corporate and Freeze-Framer for Memory and Brain Fitness

Cog­ni­tive train­ing and stress man­age­ment, Mind­Fit and Freeze-Framer (or emWave): two com­ple­men­tary sides of Brain Fitness.

Research shows that adults can and should take care of their brains, both for short-term and long-term ben­e­fits. Through brain exer­cise we can improve our over­all cog­ni­tive func­tion right now—making quick deci­sions, stay­ing calm and focused under pres­sure, and mul­ti­task­ing effec­tively. Over time, we may not reduce our brain age, but we can build up a cog­ni­tive reserve to buffer against age-related cog­ni­tive decline or other pro­gres­sive dis­eases. Short term and long term, we all want to lead pro­duc­tive, suc­cess­ful lives.

Any good brain fit­ness pro­gram must pro­vide you a vari­ety of new chal­lenges over time. While recre­ational activ­i­ties like bridge, sudoku, and cross­word puz­zles can work our brain, only a com­pre­hen­sive tool based in sci­en­tific research, like Mind­Fit, can work your men­tal mus­cles sys­tem­at­i­cally through a com­pletely indi­vid­u­al­ized train­ing reg­i­men for Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness News

Another great week full of inter­est­ing and rel­e­vant arti­cles. We will start a new tra­di­tion: we will end up the week (either on Fri­day or dur­ing the week­end) with a round-up of the arti­cles we haven’t been able to com­ment on dur­ing the week. Please feel free to send us your sug­ges­tions too!

(You can join our monthly newslet­ter by sub­scrib­ing at the top of this page).

Brave Heart: does will power reside in heart?

  • A recent study has looked into the issue of whether cog­ni­tive self –reg­u­la­tion (will power / moti­va­tion) is also asso­ci­ated with HRV. The study reported that higher base­line HRV was asso­ci­ated with more will-power and abil­ity to resist temptation.”

Book review: Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain by Sharon Begley

  • “Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain is as enter­tain­ing as it is edi­fy­ing. This unlikely page turner fas­ci­nates, and sug­gests opti­mism about your brain’s capac­i­ties.
    Con­sid­er­ing the aging baby boom gen­er­a­tion and the demands this group has cre­ated in every phase of life, if a cul­ture of men­tal fit­ness devel­ops, it won’t sur­prise me. Being a boomer myself, I’m all for it. I just hope I don’t have to become a bod­hisattva to reap the benefits.”

Newsweek: Clear link between exer­cise and improved cognition

Brain gyms’ tone minds and reduce stress

Fun arti­cle in the San Fran­cisco Exam­iner today on how High-tech ‘brain gyms’ tone minds, reduce stress. Quotes:

  • Sharp­Brains and Posit Sci­ence are just two of a grow­ing num­ber of start-up com­pa­nies lead­ing the way in the area of pack­ag­ing and devel­op­ing suites of soft­ware they call “brain gyms.”
  • Sharp­Brains offers a suite of prod­ucts that eval­u­ate buy­ers’ needs and tar­get their weak­ness, gen­tly push­ing for improve­ment, Fer­nan­dez said. One pro­gram helps improve mem­ory using a num­ber game (here); another pro­vides instant biofeed­back to users so they can prac­tice breath­ing and pos­i­tive think­ing to reduce stress (here), Fer­nan­dez said.”
  • I can start see­ing the changes in my stress level take place right in front of my eyes,” said Baba Shiv (pro­file here), a neu­ro­sci­en­tist and pro­fes­sor at Stanford’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness, who uses Freeze-Framer 2.0 (here), one of the pro­grams licensed by Sharp­Brains. By mon­i­tor­ing his stress level through heart mon­i­tors hooked to his per­sonal com­puter at work, he dis­cov­ered that con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing his e-mail inbox raised his stress level, Shiv said. Now he lim­its him­self to check­ing e-mail every two hours, Shiv said.

The reporter did a great job in under­stand­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing a new and some­times com­plex topic. Read the arti­cle: High-tech ‘brain gyms’ tone minds, reduce stress.

You can learn more about the research on self-control of our advi­sor Baba Shiv in The Frontal Cor­tex blog’s arti­cle Self-Control is a Mus­cle and in Mind Hacks: (un)emotional invest­ment.

Brain Health Newsletter, March Edition

We hope you are enjoy­ing Brain Aware­ness Week this week and hope­fully think­ing a lit­tle more about your brain and brain fit­ness! Below you have the Brain Fit­ness Newslet­ter we sent a few days ago. You can sub­scribe to this monthly email update in the box on the the top of this page.

We have had another busy month behind us, and we’re look­ing for­ward to Brain Aware­ness Week March 12–18. Keep read­ing for the details (includ­ing a spe­cial offer in honor of Brain Aware­ness Week) …

I. Press Cov­er­age
II. Events
III. Pro­gram Reviews
IV. New Offer­ings
V. Web­site and Blog Sum­mary, includ­ing brain teasers

Read the rest of this entry »