Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study points to growing cognitive gap between high-volume TV watchers and infrequent watchers

watching tv adultToo Much TV And Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time (NPR):

“Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco checked in with 3,247 people for 25 years, starting when they were young adults…People who got little exercise or watched at least three hours of TV a day did worse Read the rest of this entry »

Study: To improve memory and thinking skills, try the Mediterranean diet with added olive oil and nuts

Mediterranean-Diet

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Mediterranean diet may help counteract age-related declines in memory and thinking skills (Harvard Health Blog):

“A new study in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that eating a Mediterranean-style diet enhanced with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts is good for your mind as well as your heart. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Cognitive Markers or Biomarkers to manage Cognitive Health across the Lifespan?

Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease More Accurate Through Cognitive Changes Than Biomarkers (Medical News):

  • “Measuring people’s changes in cognitive abilities is a better predictor of Alzheimer’s disease than changes in biomarkers, researchers from the Benito Menni Complex Assistencial en Salut Mental, Barcelona, Spain, reported in Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA journal.”
  • “The investigators used a range of tests to assess Read the rest of this entry »

Brain News: Lifelong Learning for Cognitive Health

Here you have the March edition of our monthly newsletter covering cognitive health Brain Fitnessand brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, using the box at the top of this page. I know I am biased – but do believe this Newsletter issue might well be our best so far. I hope you find the time to enjoy it!

Bird’s Eye View

Top Articles and Resources in March: Highlights – a) great articles in SciAm Mind and the Wall Street Journal, b) new resources (book and free DVD) by the Dana Foundation, c) research studies on how our cognitive abilities tend to evolve as we age, the impact of physical exercise on the brain, the lack of long-term effectiveness of ADHD drugs, and how working memory training may benefit math performance.

Brain Fitness Survey: Over 2,000 thoughtful responses to our January survey (Thank You!) reinforce the need for public awareness initiatives and quality information to help evaluate and navigate lifestyle and product claims, as well as the need for more research, an expanded healthcare culture, as more. Given this context, we are publishing The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness in May 2009, a book with 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, in addition to our annual market report for professionals and executives (to be published in April). If you have ideas to help us promote the book, please reply to this email and let us know!

Lifelong Learning

Elderhostel’s Marty Knowlton dies at 88: He helped launch Elderhostel, reinvented “aging”, “retirement” and “learning”, and contributed to the brain fitness of millions of individuals as a result.

MetLife Mature Market Institute Report: Gerontologist Fay Radding presents the findings of a recent MetLife report, concluding that “As individuals age, meaningful interactions and purposeful activity become even more valued and crucial to cognitive health- and cognitive health itself becomes more of a priority.”

Change Your Environment, Change Yourself: Dr. Brett Steenbarger explains in his recent book that, “The greatest enemy of change is routine. When we lapse into routine and operate on autopilot, we are no longer fully and actively conscious of what we’re doing and why. That is why some of the most fertile situations for personal growth those that occur within new environments are those that force us to exit our routines and actively master unfamiliar challenges.”

Food for Thought

Michael Merzenich: Brain Plasticity offers Hope for Everyone: Dr. Ginger Campbell recently interviewed Dr. Michael Merzenich. Podcast Quote: “Whatever you struggle with in a sense as it stems from your neurology, the inherent plasticity of the brain gives you a basis for improvement. This is a way underutilized and under-appreciated resource that well all have.”

Therapy vs. Medication, Conflicts of Interest, and Intimidation: What started as an academic dispute regarding disclosure of conflict of interest is now snowballing. Dr. Jonathan Leo criticized two important aspects of a recent a study published in JAMA that compared the efficacy of therapy vs. medication. JAMA editors then tried to intimidate Dr. Leo and his university. An investigation by the American Medical Association is under way.

ETech09 on Life Hacking and Brain Training: Here you have the presentation Alvaro Fernandez delivered at O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2009, a gathering of technology pioneers with a growing interest in science and biology topics.

Attention!

Distracted in the Workplace?: In a very-thoughtful 2-part interview (part 1 here, part 2 here), author Maggie Jackson challenges us to “First, question the values that venerate McThinking and undermine attention.”

New Study Supports Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD: Dr. David Rabiner reports the promising findings from the first well-designed controlled trial on the effect of neurofeedback treatment for ADHD.

Twitter

Finally, I wanted to let you know that you can follow quick SharpBrains updates and some of my thoughts via Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlvaroF

Have a great National Car Care Month in April! (now, wouldn’t you please pay at least equal attention to Brain Care than to Car Care?)

Therapy vs. Medication, Conflicts of Interest, and Intimidation

What started as an academic dispute regarding disclosure of conflict of interest is now snowballing into the mainstream media, due to the over-reaction by JAMA editors as reported in this Wall Street Journal blog post, JAMA editor calls Critic a “Nobody and a Nothing

In summary, Dr. Jonathan Leo, the “Critic”, dared to draw attention to 2 important points regarding a study comparing the efficacy of therapy vs. medication published in the Journal of the American Academy of Medicine (JAMA) – one of the most prestigious scientific publications:

1) The study results were presented and reported in a biased way, since they favored one specific intervention, a drug, while ignoring another one, therapy-based, that had equally statistically significant effects.

2) Both the lead author of the study and one of the main experts asked to comment on the study in several media outlets had undisclosed and unreported conflicts of interest. JAMA could have done a 5-minute Google search to identify and report the conflict of interest of the lead author (received a variety of revenues from the drugmaker).

Dr. Leo has summarized the continuing matter in several impressive letters. The 2 main ones, in chronological order:

Clinical Trials of Therapy vs. Medication: Even in a Tie, Medication Wins(BMJ)

– “Central to the idea of evidence-based medicine is that the choices made by patients and doctors to use a certain treatment should at least in part be based on scientific studies published in peer reviewed academic journals. For a patient diagnosed with Read the rest of this entry »

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