Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Next Frontier: Neuroscience, Business and the Arts

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Oh The Places You’ll Go, Dr.Seuss.

The space between creativity and entrepreneurship is one of the most exciting areas unfolding in our modern world right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: The Challenges of Gerontology

Here you have the twice-a-month newsletter with our most popular blog posts. Please brainremember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, simply by submitting your email at the top of this page.

First, I am pleased to report that have been invited to participate in a new initiative by the World Economic Forum. Described as “In a global environment marked by short-term orientation and silo-thinking, Global Agenda Councils will foster interdisciplinary and long-range thinking to address the prevailing challenges on the global agenda”, my specific Council will focus on the Challenges of Gerontology. More information on the Global Agenda Councils here. Will keep you updated via this blog.

In the News

Yes, It is Smart to Learn New Tricks: a recent Washington Post article presents a good overview of brain health trends, but framed around a highly artificial choice for consumers: either you a) do physical exercise, or b) take part in social interactions, or c) engage in mental exercise. What about switching off those TVs and having time for all a, b, c, and more?

Mind Games: the August issue of Venture Capital Journal brings a very good piece on the emerging brain fitness software category (subscription required), which we enhance by providing a quick overview of the field.

CogniFit raises USD 5 million: if 2007 was the year of brain fitness media coverage, 2008 seems to be the year of serious investments. This CogniFit round follows other recent venture investments: Dakim ($10.6m), Lumos Labs ($3m). We hear all these companies are devoting part of these resources to fund clinical trials…never too late.

Brain Science and Lifelong Learning

Schools as Brain Training Hubs?: in a recent post we asked for suggestions to refine our predictions for the 2007-2015 period. A good number of readers contributed, and the winner of this informal contest is… Scott Spears, retired public schools superintendent, for his thoughts on the future implications of cognitive research on schooling.

Neurogenesis and Brain Plasticity in Adult Brains: while “adults may have a tendency to get set in their ways I’ve been doing it this way for a long time and it works, so why change?”, change itself is an excellent practice for healthy brain aging, as Laurie Bartels explains.

A Farewell to Dementia?: a fascinating recent editorial in Archives of Neurology, titled Dementia: A Word to be Forgotten, calls for more constructive terminology. Dr. Joshua Steinerman weighs in.

Other Thought-Provoking Articles

To Think or to Blink?: should Hamlet be living with us now and reading bestsellers, he might be wondering: To Blink or not to Blink? To Think or not to Think? We are pleased to present an article by Madeleine Van Hecke, offering the “on the other hand” to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink argument.

The impact of web 2.0 on healthcare: we hosted Medicine 2.0, a bi-weekly collection of articles that analyze the current and potential impact of web 2.0 technologies on medicine and healthcare.

Brain Teasers

Brain Teasers: Spot the Difference: how many differences can you spot (and how many cognitive functions can you engage with this simple exercise?)

I hope you are having a great August!

Good blogs on health, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, education, business and more

Here you have a few recent great blog carnivals (collections of selected blog posts focused on specific topics):

Grand Rounds: health and medicine

Encephalon: neuroscience and psychology

COTC: business and entrepreneurship

Human Resources: articles for HR professionals

Education: articles for K12 teachers and staff

Tangled Bank: general science 

Books: good book reviews

 

We also just found a great overview of the brain fitness market in French, summarizing many of the topics we have written about:

Des logiciels qui boostent le cerveau… et son marché

Every man can, if he so desires, sculpt his own brain

Santiago Ramon y CajalA Spanish friend and neuroscientist just reminded me of a great quote by Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934): “todo hombre puede ser, si se lo propone, escultor de su propio cerebro“.

Which means: “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor his own brain“.

Which really means: “Each of us can literally refine the structure and function of our brains, the same way we can do so with the rest of our body muscles” (my 2 cents…).

Our daily thoughts and actions, learnings, meditation, cognitive therapy, the growing number of software-based programs, and more, are “sculpting” tools…no more no less than tools. Good for some goals and contexts, like improving concentration and memory, becoming “sharper”, helping protect our minds from decline, or manage stress better.

I just bought Cajal’s autobiography, titled Recollections of My Life (thanks, Mind Hacks). Will be writing about it in a month or so-I have too many books on the table now, and only one brain.

If you want to read some good neuroscience blog posts, you can find a nice collection in the latest edition of Encephalon, hosted by Dr Deborah Serani.

For general science ones, try Tangled Bank. For education, enjoy The Education Carnival.

Finally, I will be hosting the next edition of Carnival of the Capitalists (I don’t really love the name…but it is the oldest and best blog carnival for business and economics). If you have some good posts, please submit them here.

For some additional thoughts on sculpting brains, intelligence, and becoming smarter, you can check this post.

Are there specific brain fitness programs for kids? My kids have problems with math.

Here is question 22 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions.

Question:

Are there specific brain fitness programs for kids? My kids have problems with math-why should they do these things that may distract them?

Key Points:
  • Learning stress management skills can reduce test anxiety and improve learning readiness.
  • If stress levels are too high, concentration and focus are negatively impacted.
Answer:

Read the rest of this entry »

I am busy executive with a challenging job. How is brain fitness relevant to me?

Here is question 21 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions.

Question:

I am busy executive with a challenging job. How is brain fitness relevant to me?

Key Points:
  • Reduce your stress to improve concentration and learning readiness and reduce distractions.
  • Increase your mental stimulation to help maintain a healthy, flexible brain.
Answer:

Executives, or anyone involved in complex and rapidly evolving environments, need to make pressured decisions based on sound logic, instead of emotional impulses. It is not easy to deal with the frustration, for example, when Read the rest of this entry »

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