Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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 »

Research: How Exercise Benefits the Brain

How Exer­cise Ben­e­fits the Brain (NewYork Times):

To learn more about how exer­cise affects the brain, sci­en­tists in Ire­land recently asked a group of seden­tary male col­lege stu­dents to take part in a mem­ory test fol­lowed by stren­u­ous exercise.

First, the young men watched a rapid-fire lineup of pho­tos with the faces and names of strangers. After a break, they tried to recall the names they had just seen as the pho­tos again zipped across a com­puter screen. Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yes­ter­day on holis­tic brain health with clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Paul Nuss­baum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement: Building an Experience Corps

(Editor’s note: Path­ways respon­si­ble for higher-order think­ing in the pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC), or exec­u­tive cen­ter of the brain, remain vul­ner­a­ble through­out life—during crit­i­cal early-life devel­op­men­tal win­dows, when the PFC fully matures in the early 20s, and finally from declines asso­ci­ated with old age. At all ages, phys­i­cal activ­ity and PFC-navigated social con­nec­tions are essen­tial com­po­nents to main­tain­ing brain health. The Expe­ri­ence Corps, a community-based social-engagement pro­gram, part­ners seniors with local schools to pro­mote purpose-driven involve­ment. Par­tic­i­pat­ing seniors have exhib­ited imme­di­ate short-term gains in brain regions vul­ner­a­ble to aging, such as the PFC, indi­cat­ing that peo­ple with the most to lose have the most to gain from envi­ron­men­tal enrichment.)

Over the last decade, sci­en­tists made two key dis­cov­er­ies that reframed our under­stand­ing of the adult brain’s poten­tial to ben­e­fit from life­long envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment. First, they learned that the adult brain remains plas­tic; it can gen­er­ate new neu­rons in response to phys­i­cal activ­ity and new expe­ri­ences. Sec­ond, they con­firmed the impor­tance of social con­nect­ed­ness to late-life cog­ni­tive, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and phys­i­cal health. The inte­gra­tion of these find­ings with our under­stand­ing of indi­vid­u­als’ devel­op­men­tal needs through­out life under­scores the impor­tance of the “social brain.” The pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC) is par­tic­u­larly inte­gral to nav­i­gat­ing com­plex social behav­iors and hier­ar­chies over the life course. Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Disease: New Survey and Research Study on Awareness, Testing and Prevention

Very inter­est­ing new data rein­forc­ing two main themes we have been ana­lyz­ing for a while:
1) We bet­ter start pay­ing seri­ous atten­tion (and R&D dol­lars) to lifestyle-based and non-invasive cog­ni­tive and emo­tional health inter­ven­tions, which are mostly ignored in favor of inva­sive, drug-based options
2) Inter­ven­tions will need to be per­son­al­ized. The study below ana­lyzes data at the coun­try level, but the same logic applies to the indi­vid­ual level

Many fear Alzheimer’s, want to be tested: sur­vey (Reuters):

- “The tele­phone sur­vey of 2,678 adults aged 18 and older in the United States, France, Ger­many, Spain and Poland was con­ducted by researchers at the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health and Read the rest of this entry »

Exercise as a Treatment for ADHD

Although I no longer main­tain a clin­i­cal prac­tice, for years I worked with chil­dren with ADHD and their fam­i­lies. One thing I heard from many par­ents was that their child responded well to phys­i­cal exer­cise, that it helped their chil­dren burn off excess energy and main­tain a calmer and more focused state.

Indeed, evi­dence from sev­eral large-scale exper­i­men­tal stud­ies sug­gests that phys­i­cal activ­ity train­ing can have a pos­i­tive influ­ence on children’s cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Innovation to Upgrade Brain Care

Here you have the July107px-gray1197thumbnail edi­tion of our monthly eNewslet ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this free Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter by email, using the box in the right column.

Tech­nol­ogy to upgrade brain care: In this exten­sive inter­view, Dr. John Docherty helps con­nect the dots on why new frame­works and tools are a must to put recent brain research to good use. A must read for all pro­fes­sion­als in the field.

Research

Find­ings from NIH Expert Panel: The Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging asked Alvaro Fer­nan­dez to com­ment on the find­ings from a major cog­ni­tive health research review by the National Insti­tutes of Health. Lifestyle still mat­ters, and pro­tec­tive fac­tors against cog­ni­tive decline are led by cog­ni­tive train­ing, phys­i­cal activ­ity and cog­ni­tive engagement.

Sci­en­tific cri­tique of BBC brain train­ing exper­i­ment: Dr. Eliz­a­beth Zelin­ski shares her con­cerns about the April 2010 BBC study, which included sub­stan­tial and unex­plained dropout rates, and ques­tion­able out­come mea­sure­ment and interpretation.

The value of being bilin­gual and build­ing a Cog­ni­tive Reserve to pre­serve learn­ing and mem­ory even in the face of brain dam­age are explored in recent studies.

San Fran­cisco Bay Area study seeks par­tic­i­pants: The Gaz­za­ley Lab at UCSF is look­ing for par­tic­i­pants aged 20–59 to explore the impact of dis­trac­tion and mul­ti­task­ing on per­for­mance across the lifespan.


Inno­va­tion

What impressed Inno­va­tion Awards Judg­ing Panel: Get some insight into what most impressed the Judg­ing Panel about each Win­ner and Final­ist of the 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards.

New — Sharp­Brains’ 2010 Mar­ket Report:  Sharp­Brains’ flag­ship, 207-page, third annual mar­ket report finds con­tin­ued growth for dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to assess, enhance and treat cognition.

To man­age brain fit­ness through life, we need to put puz­zle pieces together: inno­v­a­tive tools to help us bet­ter mon­i­tor our cog­ni­tive health and take informed action are badly needed.…and already emerging.

The inter­net will fry your brain. Sure: In his lat­est book, Nicholas Carr does a great job high­light­ing the impli­ca­tions of life­long neuro­plasticity, but picks the wrong enemy.

“Seri­ous Games”:  Can video games inspire peo­ple to per­form acts of altru­ism? Kyle Smith reports.

Teasers

Yahoo Opti­cal Illu­sions and teasers: Yahoo! has cre­ated an expanded sec­tion of illu­sions and teasers, and we were glad to con­tribute to it. Enjoy…and have a great summer!

Learn about the 2014 SharpBrains Summit in 2 minutes

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