Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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.

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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 »

Learn more & Register today at early-bird rates

2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health in the Digital Age

About SharpBrains

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