Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Understand your connectome, understand yourself

connectome—–

NO ROAD, NO trail can penetrate this forest. The long and delicate branches of its trees lie everywhere, choking space with their exuberant growth. No sunbeam can fly a path tortuous enough to navigate the narrow spaces between these entangled branches. All the trees of this dark forest grew from 100 billion seeds planted together. And, all in one day, every tree is destined to die.

This forest is majestic, but also comic and even tragic. It is all of these things. Indeed, sometimes I think it is everything. Every novel and every symphony, every cruel murder and every act of mercy, every love affair and every quarrel, every joke and every sorrow — all these things come from the forest. Read the rest of this entry »

7 ways in which the Human Connectome Project is moving the brain research needle

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The Human Connectome Project: Progress and Prospects (Cerebrum):

“Understanding the human brain in health and disease represents a grand scientific challenge for the 21st century and beyond. How does a collection of 90 billion neurons interconnected by 150 trillion synapses give rise to the extraordinary capabilities of human behavior and the amazing diversity of talents among the billions of people populating our earth?” Keep reading The Human Connectome Project: Progress and Prospects over at the Dana Foundation website.

To learn more:

Landmark study on neural circuits shows that “cells that fire together wire together,” refining the popular “Use it or lose it”

— A network of neurons reconstructed with large-scale electron microscopy. Credit: Clay Reid, Allen Institute; Wei-Chung Lee, Harvard Medical School; Sam Ingersoll, graphic artist.

Research on largest network of cortical neurons to date profiled (Medical Xpress):

“Even the simplest networks of neurons in the brain are composed of millions of connections, and examining these vast networks is critical to understanding how the brain works. An international team of researchers Read the rest of this entry »

DARPA launches Targeted Neuroplasticity Training program to accelerate cognitive skills training

--TNT technology will be designed to safely and precisely modulate peripheral nerves to control synaptic plasticity during cognitive skill training.

— TNT technology will be designed to safely and precisely modulate peripheral nerves to control synaptic plasticity during cognitive skill training.

Boosting Synaptic Plasticity to Accelerate Learning (DARPA news):

“The body’s branching network of peripheral nerves connects neurons in the brain and spinal cord to organs, skin, and muscles, regulating a host of biological functions from digestion to sensation to locomotion. But the peripheral nervous system can do even more than that…pushing those limits further, DARPA aims to enlist the body’s peripheral nerves to achieve something that has long been considered the brain’s domain alone: facilitating learning. Read the rest of this entry »

What Everyone Should Know About Stress, Brain Health, and Dance

-- Dancing to the clapping of bands. Egyptian, from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, about 3300 B.C. (British Museum.)

— Dancing to the clapping of bands. Egyptian, from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, 6th Dynasty, about 3300 B.C. (British Museum)

Everyone experiences stress at some point in our lives. It is important to know that stress can harm the brain, and also that dance can be a great avenue for a person resist, reduce, or escape it.

Stress can change the physical structure and function of the brain, affecting wiring and thus performance of one’s activities. Read the rest of this entry »

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