Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Busy schedules linked to better memory and cognition among middle-aged and older adults

busyness

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Being Super Busy May* Be Good For Your Brain (Smithsonian Magazine):

“There hasn’t been much scientific research on busyness itself, although it’s something that we talk about so often,” explains Sara Festini, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Vital Longevity, a co-author of the new research published this week Read the rest of this entry »

On “ethical placebos,” Medicine, and Mind/ Body interactions: A book review

Cure_bookWhen I was 10 years old, I hated doing the dishes. In an attempt to talk my parents out of making me do this hated chore, I pretended to be ill by hanging my head, sighing, sniffling, and walking lethargically to my bedroom, all to no avail—I still had to do those dishes.

But, the next day, I woke up with the flu —a 104-degree fever and stomach pains to match. Boy, were my parents surprised! And, so was I. But, how many of us have had similar experiences, where our minds seemed to somehow impact our bodies in weird, unexplainable ways? How many of us have made doctors’ appointments only to watch our fevers drop or held our children close and stopped their coughing fits? Clearly, something is going on, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

To build a healthier future, let’s empower and equip individuals to be in control of their well-being

health and fitness

How we can all build a healthier future (World Economic Forum blog):

“Just 40 years ago life expectancy in Asia was slightly above age 50. In 2000, the continent’s 210 million people aged over 65 could expect to live just another five years, to 70 on average. By 2050, Read the rest of this entry »

A Course Correction for Positive Psychology: A Review of Martin Seligman’s Latest Book

(Editor’s Note: we are pleased to bring you this arti­cle thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Science Center).

A Course Correction for Positive Psychology

A review of Martin Seligman’s latest book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being.

– By Jill Suttie

As president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, Martin Seligman challenged the psychological community to radically change its approach. For too long, he charged, psychology had been preoccupied solely with relieving symptoms of mental illness; instead, he believed it should explore how to thrive in life, not just survive it. He called for a psychology that would uncover what makes people creative, resilient, optimistic, and, ultimately, happy. The “positive psychology” movement was born.

Yet in his latest book, Flourish, Seligman tries to provide something of a course correction for positive psychology. Read the rest of this entry »

March/ April Update: Brain Health Status Quo No Longer An Option

The 2011 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (March 30th – April 1st) gath­ered more than 260 research and indus­try lead­ers from 16 countries for 3 days to dis­cuss the chang­ing land­scape of Brain Health and Cognitive Fitness. It was a great success! Find the key lessons and take-home points from the Summit in these 2 articles by Drs. Jamie Wilson and Luc Beaudoin, respectively: 10 Emerging Themes:  Why Brain Health Status Quo is Not an Option and 7 Key Lessons from the SharpBrains Summit.

Consider this: “Col­lab­o­ra­tion is emerg­ing in ways that were unthink­able only a few years ago. Researchers are open­ing up their data and method­olo­gies to gain insights from one another. Com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions are part­ner­ing via dig­i­tal chan­nels, con­tent syn­di­ca­tion and other areas of best prac­tice. Social entre­pre­neurs and local prac­ti­tion­ers are shar­ing  moti­va­tional tips and edu­ca­tional resources in their efforts to build pro­grams from the bot­tom up.  Open inno­va­tion is dri­ving a bet­ter mar­ket­place for con­sumers. All these col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts are the seeds of suc­cess­ful inno­va­tion, and despite still being in the foothills, it would seem bet­ter to go hand in hand, than tak­ing a lonely road.”

We hope the articles of this free newsletter will help you think about the future and your own role in shaping it as a professional and/ or a lifelong learner.

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Brain and Neuroplasticity

Meditation and the Brain: This article by Greater Good Magazine discusses how med­i­tat­ing can increase the den­sity of gray mat­ter in brain regions asso­ci­ated with mem­ory, stress, and empa­thy. 

The Benefits of a One-Time Cognitive Training Program: They last but wane over time as shown in the 3-month follow-up results of the IMPACT study.

Can Direct Brain Stimulation Boost Performance? The answer seems to be yes, according to three studies using different types of electrical/magnetic brain stimulation.

How the Brain of a Blind Person Rewires Itself: The brain areas devoted to vision in peo­ple with eye sight turn out to be respond­ing to speech in blind people.

How are Young Brains Affected by Stress? An interesting article from the Dana Foundation on the consequences of early life stress.

Can weight loss boost memory? The mem­ory of obese patients undergoing gastric-bypass surgery is shown to improve 12 weeks after surgery.

The Inner Savant In All of Us: Scott Kaufman interviews Dr. Treffert, expect on savantism and autism, tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant to the award-winning movie Rain Man, to discuss the hidden brain potentials that may lie dormant in all of us.

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Assessments and Remediation

Driving Safely after a Stroke: Scores for 3 sim­ple cog­ni­tive tests were found to pre­dict the actual dri­ving eval­u­a­tion out­come of many people after a stroke.

Schizophrenia Research is Leading the Way: An interesting review of the dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion tech­niques used with peo­ple suf­fer­ing from schiz­o­phre­nia.

Virtual Reality Games for Stroke Patients: Promising results show that vir­tual real­ity and other video games involv­ing motion can enhance motor improve­ment after a stroke.

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Books

Children’s Self Control and Creativity: Two Seeds of Intelligence: An excerpt from the book Brain Rules for Baby, by John Med­ina, that pro­vides a good sum­mary of the cog­ni­tive sci­ence find­ings shedding light on how a baby’s brain grows from 0 to 5.

Integrative Neuroscience, Personalized Medicine: This book takes an in depth and hard look at the cur­rent sta­tus and future direc­tion of treat­ment pre­dic­tive mark­ers in Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine for the brain.

The Longevity Project: UC-Riverside researchers Howard Fried­man and Leslie Mar­tin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity Ter­man study of 1,500 people.

Exploiting Technology and Collaboration to Enable Quality Aging. In this essay, extracted from the book Longevity Rules, Joseph Cough­lin explores the role that tech­nol­ogy can play in aging well.

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Brain Teaser

Brain Games to Test Your Memory: Discover how well you can remem­ber ran­dom words and names.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the SharpBrains eNewsletter. Please do feel free to share this with friends and colleagues. The more, the merrier!

Longevity, Conscientiousness and Work

There’s an excellent article in the New York Times (Eighty Years Along, a Longevity Study Still Has Ground to Cover) about a very worthy new book based on a fascinating series of research studies: The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study is the book where UC-Riverside researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stanford University Terman study of 1,500 people.

Quotes from the article:

– Many assume biology is the critical factor in longevity. If your parents lived to be 85, you probably will, too. Not so, Dr. Friedman said. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploiting Technology and Collaboration to Enable Quality Aging

Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from Longevity Rules: How to Age Well Into the Future,  a compendium 0f 34 excellent essays where leading longevity experts help policymakers and the public better understand the aging experience. In the essay below, Joseph Coughlin, the Director of MIT AgeLab, explores the role that technology can play in aging well. Copyright 2010, Eskaton.

Aging is not for wimps. While living longer has become remarkably commonplace, living well takes a lot of work. Longevity is creating new and expanded “jobs” for individuals, families, formal caregivers and public agencies. During the past decade many have argued that technology is the answer to aging — without really asking what the question is. This definition of the “aging and technology opportunity” is driven by those who are wildly passionate about invention, but not fluent in the art of innovation — that is, putting ideas to practical use. The questions that should be asked by policymakers, business and the aging community are:

  • What are the jobs of aging services that we are trying to achieve?
  • How might technology and collaborative partnerships accomplish these tasks or produce superior outcomes?
  • Where should policymakers and business direct their limited resources to creatively exploit technology to enable individuals and families to live better — not just longer?

Read the rest of this entry »

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2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health

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