Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Book discount to honor Mental Health Awareness Month

BrainFitnessTrajectoryMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we would like to contribute to worldwide educational efforts.

SharpBrainsGuide_3DWe are offering the Kindle edition of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness at an 80% discount, from today until May 31st. If you still don’t have your copy, or know of someone else who would enjoy the book, please take a minute or two to learn more…

Wishing lifelong Brain and Mental Health to everyone,

The SharpBrains Team Read the rest of this entry »

Learning & Brain Conference in Boston

The next Learning & the Brain conference edition is April 26-29, 2008, in Cambridge, MA. We recommend it highly for educators interested in learning more about latest brain research findings and implications for teaching. See Detailed program.

Description: Cognitive neuroscience has discovered that the brain is not ‘hardwired’ from birth, but holds a remarkable lifelong power to change—a phenomenon called ‘plasticity.’ Positive or negative environments, exercise, nurturance, learning, and other experiences continue to change the brain throughout life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning & The Brain Conference: discount for SharpBrains readers

San Francisco Golden Gate BridgeContext: Last February we had the chance to attend a great conference on how brain research is influencing education. Highly recommended. Caroline wrote our impressions, summarized as “It was a fascinating mix of neuroscientists and educators talking with and listening to each other. Some topics were meant to be applied today, but many were food for thought – insight on where science and education are headed and how they influence each other”. See some of our take-aways below.

Announcement: the 2008 edition of this conference, titled Using Brain Research to Enhance Learning, Attention & Memory For Educators, Parents and Clinicians, will take place in San Francisco, on February 7-9th, 2008. The organizers have kindly invited me to deliver a lecture on Interventions to Sharpen Minds, as part of the Brain Plasticity & Attention track. I will provide an overview of the science behind computer-based cognitive training interventions and discuss a number of research-based programs that are being used today. Let me know if you are planning to attend!

Registration fees: the general registration fees are $495 per person, if you register before January 25th, 2008.

Special Discount for SharpBrains readers: you can register for $450 before that date,  making sure to write
SharpBrains1 in the comments section of How did you hear about the conference? in this Registration Page.

To learn more about the conference: Read the rest of this entry »

Build Your Cognitive Reserve: An Interview with Dr. Yaakov Stern

Yaakov SternDr. Yaakov Stern is the Division Leader of the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Sergievsky Center, and Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York. Alvaro Fernandez interviews him here as part of our research for The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness book.

Dr. Stern is one of the leading proponents of the Cognitive reserve theory, which aims to explain why some individuals with full Alzheimer’s pathology (accumulation of plaques and tangles in their brains) can keep normal lives until they die, while others -with the same amount of plaques and tangles- display the severe symptoms we associate with Alzheimer’s Disease. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers on the subject.

The concept of a Cognitive Reserve has been around since 1989, when a post mortem analysis of 137 people with Alzheimer’s Disease showed that some patients exhibited fewer clinical symptoms than their actual pathology suggested. These patients also showed higher brain weights and greater number of neurons when compared to age-matched controls. The investigators hypothesized that the patients had a larger “reserve” of neurons and abilities that enable them to offset the losses caused by Alzheimer’s. Since then, the concept of Cognitive Reserve has been defined as the ability of an individual to tolerate progressive brain pathology without demonstrating clinical cognitive symptoms. (You can check at the end of this interview a great clip on this).

———————————

Key take-aways

– Lifetime experiences, like education, engaging occupation, and leisure activities, have been shown to have a major influence on how we age, specifically on whether we will develop Alzheimer’s symptoms or not.

– This is so because stimulating activities, ideally combining physical exercise, learning and social interaction, help us build a Cognitive Reserve to protect us.

– The earlier we start building our Reserve, the better; but it is never too late to start. And, the more activities, the better: the effect is cumulative.

———————————

The Cognitive Reserve

Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Dear Dr. Stern, it is a pleasure to have you here. Let me first ask you this: the implications of your research are pretty broad, presenting major implications across sectors and age groups. What has been the most unexpected reaction so far?

YS: well…I was pretty surprised when Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Health and Fitness Workshops

Today I have an announcement to make. You probably are seeing all the articles about Brain Fitness in the press and wondering, “What is this all about?”, “Can someone help me navigate through all the programs out there?”, “How is Brain Fitness relevant to me in my personal life or at work?”. Well…we are delivering a series of workshops to companies and organizations combining modules -including scientific overview, the industry trends and key players, fun team-building exercises- that can be tailored to each organization’s specific needs. Sessions last from 1 to 6 hours, depending on the group’s composition and agenda and are delivered either in person or via web conference.

We want to be able to reach more organizations, so please let us know of any ideas!

Some recent examples

1. Managing Stress for Peak Performance (we mentioned some notes on an Accenture session)

New and challenging situations – such as taking on new responsibilities– can trigger reactions in our brain and body that limit or even block our decision-making abilities. These reactions may also harm our long-term brain power and health. Although we cannot avoid change and stressful situations, we can learn how to manage our stress levels to ensure peak performance-even in tough moments. The latest neuroscience research proves that stress management is a trainable “mental muscle.” This is true for any high pressure profession, be it trading, sports, or simply modern life.

2. The Science of Brain Health and Brain Fitness (similar to what I will teach at UC Berkeley OLLI)

Neuroscientists have shown how the human brain retains neuroplasticity (the ability to rewire itself) and neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons) during its full lifetime, leading to a new understanding of Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking applied brain science. Explore our most popular resources HERE.

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

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

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.