Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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 »

What Educators and Parents Should Know About Neuroplasticity, Learning and Dance

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— The Dance for Athletes class at Glen Burnie High School performs a swing piece

Dance. Is it merely art?  Is it just recreation?  Think again.

Dance is now being studied as a pathway to enhance learning.  And, scientists say, educators and parents should take note of the movement.

Recently at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, more than 6,800 attendees paid rapt attention to renowned choreographer Mark Morris as he answered questions about Read the rest of this entry »

Can you grow your hippocampus? Yes. Here’s how, and why it matters

hippocampus_brain.

A pair of thumb-sized structures deep in the center of the human brain are critical for our ability to learn and remember. Thanks to their shape, each of them is called hippocampus – which means seahorse in Greek. These brain areas have the unique capacity to generate new neurons every day. In fact, recent human studies have shown that Read the rest of this entry »

Non-invasive brain stimulation meets nanotechnology

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MIT Researchers Develop Wireless, Noninvasive Deep Brain Stimulation Approach (Med Device online):

“Scientists have introduced a novel method of administering brain stimulation that requires no implants or external connections. By injecting magnetic nanoparticles into the brain, researchers have found that they can manipulate neurons by applying external magnetic fields Read the rest of this entry »

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