Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Exercise your brain at these events

Here are the dates and locations of some upcoming events where I will be presenting. Please introduce yourself if you are attending!

>> September 4-5th, San Francisco, CA: several Brain Health Promotion sessions, at the American Society on Aging conference.

>> October 9th, Vancouver, Canada: Exercising Our Brains 101 and Navigating The Brain Fitness Maze, at the British Columbia Seniors Living Association annual conference.

>> October 11th, San Jose, CA: The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness, at San Jose State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. (Information here).

>> October 23rd, Pocatello, Idaho: Cognitive and Emotional Training for Healthy Aging, at the Idaho Conference on Health Care. (Information here).

>> November 1st, Berkeley, CA: The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness, at UC-Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. (Information here).

>> November 7-9th, Dubai: Global Agenda Councils Inaugural Summit in Dubai, organized by the World Economic Forum. (Information here).

>> November 17th, New York City: The Emerging Brain Fitness Field: Research and Implications, at New York Public Library.

>> December 5th, San Antonio, Texas: The Emerging Brain Fitness Field: Overview of Research and Tools, at the International Council on Active Aging conference. (Information here).

As always, I will share the main take-aways via this blog. I hope to meet some of you down the road!

Brain Fitness Newsletter: October Edition

Brain exercise, brain exercisesFollowing our September edition, here you are have our Monthly Digest of the Most Popular Blog Posts. You can consider it your monthly Brain Exercise Magazine.

(Also, remember that you can subscribe to receive our RSS feed, check our Topics section, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter at the top of this page if you want to receive this Digest by email).

Brain Fitness Market News

Cognitive Fitness as a New Frontier of Fitness: excellent Los Angeles Times article, covering the cognitive exercise angle of healthy aging and leading science-based players.

A Brain Fitness Vacation: what does this mean? Well, read this fun article to discover.

Rethinking the Brain Fitness Business: thought-provoking article on the future of the sector from a business point of view.

Cognitive Fitness @ Harvard Business Review: HBR makes a first attempt to bring neuroscience research into helping leaders perform at peak levels and maintain sharp brains.

News You Can Use

Train Your Brain to Be Happier: implications of neuroscience and positive psychology research for our daily lives-and our happiness. Please keep tuned if you are interested in this topic: we will publish soon a great interview with Dr. Robert Emmons, leading researcher in the field of gratitude.

Cognitive Fitness: 10 Debunked Myths: what are some misconceptions that prevent many people from seeing the tremendous potential from this emerging research?. Read this post to discover and discuss.

10 (Surprising) Memory Improvement Tips: and why stress management is important for memory and our brain.


Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games with a neuroscience angle: a list of the most popular mind games in our blog.


10 Highlights from the 2007 Aspen Health Forum: a summary of impressions from this great event, including what can happen when you have scientists and politicians in the same room.

Brain Fitness @ Education, Training, Health events: an overview of a number of conferences and university classes with a brain fitness angle.

Thought-provoking posts

Darwin’s adult neuroplasticity: reflections of a beautiful mind that -as self-reported at the age of 72- could have been even more beautiful.The Gene Delusion: IQ and the environment: do genes determine our fates? They don’t. They why do we seem to believe so so often?.

Discounts for SharpBrains readers

Learning & The Brain Conference: the best conference bringing neuroscience research to educators’ minds, February 7-9th in San Francisco. Register before January 25th, 2008, for a discounted price and to make sure you can attend and see our workshop!

MindFit 10% special discount: a 10% discount on one of the most popular brain fitness programs, that combines both an in-depth assessment of cognitive skills with personalized training.

Books and Resources

Best of the Brain from Scientific American: a superb collection of essays for the curious among us.

Selected Resources: Articles, Books, Papers: numerous links to media articles, scientific papers, and recommended books.


Executive Functions and Google/ Microsoft Brain Teasers

Interesting article: Want a job at Google? Try these brainteasers first (CNN)

Quote: “Seemingly random questions like these have become commonplace in Silicon Valley and other tech outposts, where companies aren’t as interested in the correct answer to a tough question as they are in how a prospective employee might try to solve it. Since businesses today have to be able to react quickly to shifting market dynamics, they want more than engineers with high IQs and good college transcripts. They want people who can think on their feet.”

Comment: What are those companies (Google, Microsoft, Amazon) after? Employees with good Executive Functions. You can try some of the fun teasers in the article:

1) How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

  • About 500,000, assuming the bus is 50 balls high, 50 balls wide, and 200 balls long

2) You’re shrunk and trapped in a blender that will turn on in 60 seconds. What do you do?

Some options:

1. Use the measurement marks to climb out

2. Try to unscrew the glass

3. Risk riding out the air current

3) How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

  • Assuming 10,000 city blocks, 600 windows per block, five minutes per window, and a rate of $20 per hour, about $10 million


PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers to test your cognitive ability. Free, and fun for adults of any age!


Neurotechnology, Health and Brain Fitness News

Today we have a number of industry announcements:

1) New editions of these Blog Carnivals (collections of blog posts around specific topics)

2) The Neurotechnology Industry Organization has launched a Neurotech Job Board dedicated to commercial neuroscience (mostly focused on clinical applications, like drugs and devices, not so much on prevention, health & wellness). And the Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center is looking for a Research Project Manager.

3) The American Association for the Advancement of Science has finally released a report of the human enhancement workshop that took place in June 2006. Read more about it at Zack’s blog.

4) Stephanie West Allen and Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz announce the Schedule of Events for their Brains On Purpose™ Seminars (“looking at conflict and the process of conflict resolution through the lens of neuroscience”): Colorado in October and Portland in November.

5) Registration is now open for my class on The Science of Brain Health and Brain Fitness (more here), October 9 30, at UC Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

6) A couple of great Read the rest of this entry »

Brain class at UC-Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

If you are based in North California, you may be interested in the classes just announced by the UC Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. “Berkeley OLLI is an inquiring and stimulating community of adults, age 50 and above, exploring new areas of knowledge and traditional disciplines, challenging and fascinating subjects.” If you are not in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can check the closest Lifelong Learning Center to you in either the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute network or the Elderhostel one.

You can see a listing of their classes for the Fall 2007 session, on a fascinating variety of topics. Keeping our educational activities since 2005 (first delivered in SFSU), I will be teaching the following class

The Science of Brain Health and Brain Fitness (more here)

October 9-30th, 4 classes, 6.30-8.30pm

Location: University Hall, UC Berkeley

Description: Neuroscientists have shown how the human brain retains neuroplasticity (the ability to rewire itself) and neurogenesis (creation of new neurons) during its full lifetime, leading to a new understanding of what aging means. In this class, we will review the science behind some of key concepts in this field and explore their implications on our lifestyles: neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, the Cognitive Reserve theory for healthy aging, computer-based cognitive training programs, emotional self-regulation, and the 4 pillars for lifelong Brain Health. We have all heard “Use it or lose it”. Latest research suggests, “Use it and improve it”.

If you are interested in learning more about the classes, you can attend the open House on Tuesday, September 18, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley. I can only say that the SFSU classes were a lot of fun and I am sure the Berkeley ones will be as compelling.

Lifelong Learning and Brain Health Event in San Francisco on May 16

If you are in the Bay Area, we hope to see you at this event! Feel free to forward the invitation below to anyone you know who may be interested.

The growing movement for improving brain health has brought many interested professionals and interested community members to the table. Sharing our information, activities, and planned events to promote brain health increases the power of our reach.

Please join us on May 16, 2007 from noon to 1:30pm for a complimentary gathering co-sponsored by:

Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, well-known neuroscientist and author of The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger as Your Brain Grows Older and Alvaro Fernandez, CEO and Co-Founder of SharpBrains and instructor of the Exercising Our Brains class, will provide an overview of the science and trends behind the emerging brain fitness field.

Please bring information on your work and events to share with others interested in brain health.

Where: SFSU OLLI (835 Market Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, Room 675)
When: Wednesday, May 16, 12-1:30 pm
What: A chance for networking with Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Health Newsletter, February Edition, and Brain Awareness Week

We hope you are enjoying the growing coverage of Brain Fitness as much as we are. 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 right hand side.

In this post, we will briefly cover:

I. Press: see what CBS and Time Magazine are talking about. SharpBrains was introduced in the Birmingham News, Chicago Tribune and in a quick note carried by the American Psychological Association news service.

II. Events: we are outreach partners for the Learning & the Brain conference, which will gather neuroscientists and educators, and for the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week.

III. Program Reviews: The Wall Street Journal reviewed six different programs for brain exercise and aging, and the one we offer is one of the two winners. A college-level counseling center starts offering our stress management one. And we interview a Notre Dame scientist who has conducted a replication study for the working memory training program for kids with ADD/ ADHD.

IV. New Offerings: we have started to offer two information packages that can be very useful for people who want to better understand this field before they commit to any particular program: learn more about our Brain Fitness 101 guide and Exercise Your Brain DVD.

V. Website and Blog Summary: we revamped our home page and have had a very busy month writing many good articles. We also hosted two “Blog Carnivals”- don’t you want to know what that means?
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

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