Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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To boost brainpower, ignore “smart drugs” and focus on experiences that harness neuroplasticity the right way

brain_scans

Traditional scientific ideas cast the human brain as a fixed and essentially limited system that only degrades with age. This view saw the brain as a rigid machine in many ways, pretty much set after childhood. By contrast, we have now come to appreciate that the human brain is actually a highly dynamic and constantly reorganizing system, capable of Read the rest of this entry »

Top insights on neuroplasticity, emotion and cognition (book highlights via Amazon Kindle)

brain circuitsInterested  in modern brain science and what it has to offer to improve education, health and quality of life? Here you have some of the most popular highlights of the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, courtesy of the thousands of readers enjoying and annotating the Kindle edition of the book. Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Q&A with Alvaro Fernandez about The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness

Alvaro Fernandez

Alvaro Fernandez

You can now read the full transcript of yesterday’s Q&A session on a variety of brain health and fitness topics, from memory improvement to heart rate monitors, exercise, meditation, “Grain Brain,” brain training, and more. A couple of good exchanges:

Question by Stephen Jepson
What specific physical activities contribute to the greatest changes in the brain in the shortest period of time? Once the neurogenesis and neuroplasticity that results from those changes has occurred what must one do to maintain that growth? Read the rest of this entry »

Newborn neurons in the adult brain are critical for learning and memory

Newborn Neurons — Even in the Adult Aging Brain — Are Critical for Memory (Science Daily):

“Newly generated, or newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus are critical for memory retrieval, according to a study led by Stony Brook University researchers…Previous research… has demonstrated that newborn neurons form connections with existing neurons Read the rest of this entry »

Aerobic Exercise or Weight Training to Boost Brain Function?

Aerobic exercise is the kind of exercise that has been consistently shown to trigger the growth of both brain cells and new connections between them, boosting cognitive functions. It has also been associated with lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Is it the case that other types of physical exercise can also benefit the brain? Evidence is more limited, but a new study suggests that weight training may be a likely candidate to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A with Yaakov Stern on Brain Reserve, Exercise, Cognitive Training, Angry Birds, YMCA and more

I just had the chance to discuss latest neuroscientific research and thinking with Dr. Yaakov Stern, one of the leading scientists studying how to build a neuroprotective cognitive reserve across the lifespan. Dr. Stern leads the Cognitive Neuroscience Division at the Columbia University Sergievsky Cen­ter. What follows is a Q&A session conducted via email over the last week.

Alvaro Fernandez: What do you make of the recent study “Association of Lifetime Cognitive Engagement and Low ?-Amyloid Deposition“? 

Yaakov Stern: I find these results very intriguing. The concept of cognitive reserve posits that Read the rest of this entry »

The Ten Habits of a Sharp Brain

As our final article for 2011, let us repurpose one of SharpBrains’ most popular blog posts since 2006. It may give you a few pointers to sharpen those New Years Resolutions. Let’s summarize some lifestyle guidelines we can all follow to enhance and maintain a sharp brain through life...

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
  3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis.
  4. Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you Read the rest of this entry »

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