Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Musical training as mental exercise for cognitive performance

We often hear (gladly!) how teach­ers use our blog arti­cles and brain teasers in their classes. We also hear how many psy­chol­ogy and biol­ogy teach­ers are get­ting their stu­dents excited about brain research, and, to con­tribute to their efforts, we like to rec­og­nize some great initiatives.

Last year, Jef­frey Gonce, a Psy­chol­ogy teacher at Red Land High School (West Shore School Dis­trict, PA) asked his stu­dents to “com­plete a project describ­ing a recent brain (or genetic) study that affects behav­ior.” The stu­dents could opt to post their arti­cles online, and Jef­frey was kind enough to send us a link to read the results. We enjoyed read­ing them all, and pub­lished in our blog this beau­ti­ful essay, titled “Tis bet­ter to give than receive”, writ­ten by Alexan­dra, which Piano musical training was sub­se­quently included in a num­ber of neu­ro­science an psy­chol­ogy blogs.

This year, Jef­frey also sent us his stu­dents’ essays, and we are going to rec­og­nize and pub­lish this great essay by high school stu­dent Megan. Enjoy!

It has long been the source of sci­en­tific debate as to whether music can improve the cog­ni­tive processes in chil­dren. Referred to by some as “The Mozart Effect,” a strong Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Clinton on health care and wellness

We read a good arti­cle on med­ical salaries recently, and are happy to see an increased empha­sis pre­ven­tion and well­ness rather than on sickness.

Along these lines, we were for­tu­nate to attend Heal­thetc yes­ter­day, a day-long health event in San Fran­cisco co-organized by KCBS and CPMC that had Bill Clin­ton as keynote speaker. You can read an arti­cle on his great inter­ven­tion here.

Some of the speech highlights:

1) Clinton’s great overview of key data:

  • 16 vs 10–11: % GDP spent on health care in the US vs. other indus­tri­al­ized coun­tries. This per­cent­age dif­fer­ence equals around $800 bil­lion annually
  • 84 vs 100: % pop­u­la­tion with some form of health insur­ance in the US vs. other countries
  • 34 and 37: rank­ing of the US sys­tem as mea­sured by health out­comes and life expectancy, respectively
  • 34 vs 19: % health care costs spent on admin­is­tra­tion in the US vs. other countries

2) He out­lined the 3 main prob­lems with US Health­care as follows-and empathized that any seri­ous, long-term solu­tion needs to Read the rest of this entry »


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