Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Quiz: Do You Have a Brain?

Have you already read The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness?

Let’s see…brain health and brain fitness

1. Pick the only part of your body that does not con­tain fat:

a. Arm
b. Thigh
c. Brain
d. None

Answer: d) Fats are also present in the brain: in neu­rons’ mem­branes to keep them flex­i­ble. These fats are the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids mol­e­cules. (Page 32 of the book)

2. Pick the only food prod­uct that doesn’t con­tain Omega-3 fatty acids

a. Tuna
b. Wal­nut
c. Kiwi
d. Jelly Beans

Answer: d) Fatty acids can be found in cold-water fish (such as mack­erel, her­ring, salmon, and tuna), kiwi, and wal­nuts. (Page 33)

3. Pick the only food prod­uct that doesn’t con­tain antioxidants

a. Olive oil
b. Milk
c. Nuts
d. Berries

Answer: b) Antiox­i­dants can be found in veg­etable oils, nuts, green leafy veg­eta­bles (e.g., spinach), cit­rus fruit, and berries. (Page 33)

4. Chronic Stress cannot:

a. Pre­vent you from being cre­ative
b. Kill brain cells
c. Pre­vent you from sleep­ing
d. Kill liver cells

Answer: d) Pro­longed expo­sure to adrenal steroid hor­mones like cor­ti­sol, which is released into the blood stream when we are stressed, can lead to cell death and block the for­ma­tion of new neu­rons. (Page 35)

5. What type of phys­i­cal exer­cise is the best for your brain health?

a. Weight lift­ing
b. Aer­o­bic exer­cises
c. Flex­i­bil­ity exer­cises Read the rest of this entry »

Exercising the body is exercising the mind

I apol­o­gize for the long delay in get­ting back to this col­umn but I have a good excuse. We just recently had a baby, and boy, that takes care right there of the phys­i­cal exer­cise need. Between car­ry­ing the baby upstairs and down­stairs, run­ning to get the baby, get­ting out of the bed and pick­ing the baby up and putting the baby down a cou­ple of times a night no you need not worry about get­ting your daily exer­cise dose in…Now, the major­ity of the answers to my post on the brain virtues of phys­i­cal exer­cise sug­gests that most peo­ple think that the brain ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal exer­cise are mostly to be under­stood as com­ple­men­tary effects of a healthy life style.

Is this cor­rect? In my post today I will attempt to answer this question.

First, while gen­er­ally health­ier peo­ple seem to have health­ier brains, the phys­i­cal exer­cise effect on the brain seems to be inde­pen­dent of other things. One of the most impor­tant devel­op­ment in neu­ro­science was when the offi­cial dogma claim­ing that there was no neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis (pro­duc­tion of new brain cells) in the adult brain was top­pled. Now we know that the brain is “plas­tic” mean­ing that, under the right cir­cum­stances, the brain can change Read the rest of this entry »

Looking inside the Brain: is my Brain Fit?

MRI scanner neuroimaging

Today we have the plea­sure to have Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon, one of our new Expert Con­trib­u­tors, write her first arti­cle here. Enjoy, and please com­ment so we hear your thoughts and engage in a nice conversation.

(Btw, if you notice some sim­i­lar­ity between the col­ors in the fMRI scan below and the look & feel of this site…well, the rea­son is that those orange-grey fMRI col­ors were our inspi­ra­tion! the orange color denotes the most brain activation).

- Alvaro


You have prob­a­bly heard about CAT and MRI scans (pro­duced thanks to machines like the one to the top right). So you know that these are tech­niques that doc­tors and sci­en­tists use to look inside the brain.

You have prob­a­bly also heard about brain fit­ness and how impor­tant it is to keep a healthy brain to be pro­tected against age-related and disease-related brain damages.

The ques­tion we ask here is the fol­low­ing: Can we use brain scans to eval­u­ate how fit the brain is? Before we try to answer this ques­tion let’s start with the basics and try to under­stand how brain scans work.

Brain imag­ing, also called neu­roimag­ing, allows one to Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teaser to Exercise your Brain…Now

Try this quick game to test your periph­eral vision, visual short-term mem­ory and hand-eye coordination.

Instruc­tions: When all the num­bered red squares are vis­i­ble, try to get rid of them as fast as you can, in numer­i­cal order. You don’t have to click them… just touch them with the cursor.

To start: Click here


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