In a modern society we are confronted with a wide range of increasingly abstract and interconnected problems. Successfully dealing with such an environment requires a highly fit brain, capable of adapting to new situations and challenges throughout life. Consequently, we expect cross-training the brain to soon become as mainstream as cross-training the body is today, going beyond unstructured mental activity and Read the rest of this entry »
By: Hemal Pathak, PhD
Often in discussing health related findings with non-scientists, I’ve found that scientific literacy in the general population tends to be inadequate for evaluating scientific claims. A surprising number of people are reluctant to study science despite the potential to benefit from the vast amount of useful knowledge being accumulated by scientists. Neil DeGrasse Tyson discussed a similar issue with the New York Daily News several years ago (A Cry to Pass the Science Test, 2006). In a time when scientific information is constantly reshaping our understanding Read the rest of this entry »
By: Dr. Helena Popovic
We are the architects and builders of our own brains.
For millennia, however, we were oblivious to our enormous creative capabilities. We had no idea that our brains were changing in response to our actions and attitudes, every day of our lives. So we unconsciously and randomly shaped our brains and our latter years because we believed we had an immutable brain that was at the mercy of our genes.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Next Tuesday, November 3rd: I’ll be presenting the SharpBrains Guide to a business/ entrepreneurial audience at the San Francisco Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (you can register online).
Description: While most of us have heard the phrase “use it or lose it,” very few understand what “it” means, or how to properly “use it” in order to improve brain function and fitness. This talk will provide an overview of the most recent research, guidelines and resources to “Use It and Improve It”, summarizing the main findings and topics from the new book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. We will debunk 10 common brain fitness myths; discuss how the brain works and the 4 pillars of brain maintenance; explain the difference between mental exercise and mental activity and identify practical ways to integrate this research into our work and lives for maximum brain health and performance.
To order book: Here. (has been among Amazon.com’s Top 10 Preventive Medicine books basically since publication!)
Over the last few weeks I have given a couple of AARP-sponsored talks, both in English and in Spanish (this was my first Spanish presentation on a topic I mostly discuss in English, so I did get some extra brain points by trying to translate “neuroplasticity” and “hippocampus” on the fly), and had a great couple of meetings with AARP staff to explore collaborations. AARP can obviously play a major role in how rationally this whole category of “brain fitness” evolves.
Here you have a couple of my favorite recent media interviews:
4-minute Video interview on the Gilbert Guide:
Book Reveals Secrets Once Only Known to Scientists
30-minute radio interview on WMBR (MIT campus radio station):
Paradigm Shifts: Brain Fitness (mine is the second interview, starts around the middle)
Finally, a growing number of bloggers are reviewing the book. This is what they say:
You can order The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness here.
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Title: The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness — Practical Advice to Keep Your Brain Sharp
- Two community-based book talks hosted by New York Public Library and supported by the Einstein Aging Study at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Description: A fit brain? Can you exercise your brain and become mentally fit? Can you continue to learn and increase your brain’s capacity at any age? Alvaro Fernandez, CEO and Co-Founder of SharpBrains, says Yes!, and in this program he will show you how. Based on research compiled from leading scientists in fields of Neuroscience, Gerontology, and Cognitive Science, and presented in his book “The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness”, Alvaro Fernandez will provide ways to maintain and improve your cognitive health.
– Debunk 10 Myths of Brain Fitness
– Examine the 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance
– Discuss the difference between Mental Exercise and Mental Activity
– Evaluate Brain Training Software
– Explore emerging trends
Book and Bio: Alvaro Fernandez, CEO and Co-Founder of SharpBrains, teaches “Science of Brain Health and Brain Fitness” at UC-Berkeley and San Francisco State University. He is the co-author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness.
When and where:
> September 23rd, 10am, New York Public Library, Bronx Library Center. 310 East Kingsbridge Road. (718) 579‑4244. More information here.
> September 25rd, 1pm, New York Public Library, Stephen Schwarzman Building Auditorium. Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. 917-ASK-NYPL (917–275-6975). More information here.
By: Dr. David Rabiner
I wanted to alert you to a very interesting finding published in a recent issue of Science, one of the world’s leading scientific journals.
The study was led by Dr. Torkel Klingberg and his colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The goal was to learn whether Working Memory Training is associated with changes in brain biochemistry, thus suggesting a mechanism by which training may lead to enhanced working memory capacity and a reduction in attention problems. Thus, although Working Memory Training has previously shown promising results as a treatment for working memory and attention difficulties, this was a basic science study rather than a treatment study.
The major finding was that increased working memory capacity following training was associated with changes in brain biochemistry. Specifically, the researchers found changes in the density and binding potential of cortical D1 dopamine receptors in brain regions that are activated during working memory tasks.
Results from this study suggest a biological basis for the improvement in working memory capacity and reductions i Read the rest of this entry »
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Study Questions Effectiveness Of $80 Million Per Year ‘Brain Exercise Products Industry for Elderly (Science Daily)
- “There is much research on the benefits of cognitive rehabilitation strategies among elderly who already experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer’s disease, as well as on the positive impact of physical exercise. The researchers, however, wanted to evaluate current research that would focus on the impact of cognitive interventions in the healthy elderly population.”
- “…they concluded that there was no evidence indicating that structured cognitive intervention programs had an impact on the progression of dementia in the healthy elderly population”
Comment: we have not reviewed the analysis yet, so cannot comment in depth. However, just from the press release, we see a few potential problems in how the study was framed, reducing its practical value: Read the rest of this entry »