Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Brain Fitness Program DVD (Michael Merzenich)

The most pop­u­lar ques­tion we got when we announced that PBS had a great spe­cial on Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram and Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity in Decem­ber was, when will the DVD be available?

Well, finally here it comes. You can click on the image or the title to go over to PBS shop to learn more and buy it.

The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram DVD ($24.95, shipped by 02/01/08). “This pro­gram presents a work­out to help view­ers get their brains in bet­ter shape. The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram is based on neuro-plasticity, the abil­ity of the brain to change and adapt — even rewire itself. In the past two years, a team of sci­en­tists has devel­oped computer-based stim­u­lus sets that drive ben­e­fi­cial chem­i­cal, phys­i­cal and func­tional changes in the brain. Dr. Michael Merzenich of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia San Fran­cisco and his col­leagues around the world have been lead­ing this effort; he brings the research find­ings, along with a sci­en­tif­i­cally based set of brain exer­cises, to PBS view­ers in this inno­v­a­tive and life-altering pro­gram. Peter Coy­ote narrates. ”

To pur­chase: click Here.

You can watch a 3-minute trailer: click here.

———-

Note: How can any­one take care of his or her brain when every week brings a new bar­rage of arti­cles and stud­ies which seem to con­tra­dict each other?

Do sup­ple­ments improve mem­ory? Do you need both phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise –or is one of them enough? Why is man­ag­ing stress so impor­tant to atten­tion and mem­ory? Which brain train­ing approach, if any, is worth one’s time and money?

If you have these ques­tions, check out this new book, The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness:

“Finally, an insight­ful and com­plete overview of the sci­ence, prod­ucts and trends to debunk old myths and help us all main­tain our brains in top shape. A must-read”
Glo­ria Cavanaugh, for­mer Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging and found­ing Board mem­ber of the National Alliance for Caregiving

Kudos for an excel­lent resource! This Sharp­Brains Guide is full of top notch infor­ma­tion, pro­vides prac­ti­cal tips and helps sep­a­rate hype from hope in the brain health arena.“
Eliz­a­beth Edgerly, Ph.D., Chief Pro­gram Offi­cer, Alzheimer’s Association

A mas­ter­ful guide to the brain train­ing rev­o­lu­tion. Promises to stim­u­late a much needed con­ver­sa­tion that will nudge soci­ety to build a new brain fit­ness cul­ture on solid, research-based, foun­da­tions.“
P. Murali Doraiswamy MD, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try, Duke Uni­ver­sity and Co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan

Order Book at Amazon.com
SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. The Book Click

Here

to order at Amazon.com.
Print Edi­tion, $24.95

Order Kin­dle Edi­tion
SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. The Book Click

Here

to order at Amazon.com,
Kin­dle Edi­tion, $9.99

Brain Fitness Program and Neuroplasticity @ PBS

Update (11/10/10): Have you seen PBS great spe­cials on Brain Fit­ness and Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity ?

The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram DVD ($24.95)

The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram is based on the brain’s abil­ity to change and adapt, even rewire itself. In the past two years, a team of sci­en­tists has devel­oped computer-based stim­u­lus sets that drive ben­e­fi­cial chem­i­cal, phys­i­cal and func­tional changes in the Peter Coyote Brain Fitness Programbrain. Dr. Michael Merzenich of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia and his col­leagues share their sci­en­tif­i­cally based set of brain exer­cises in this life-altering pro­gram. Peter Coy­ote (pic­tured) narrates. ”

PBS aired in Decem­ber 2007 a spe­cial pro­gram on neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, brain fit­ness, aging and the brain titled “Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram”. To watch the 3-minute trailer: click here.

In 2008, PBS released a sec­ond DVD:

Brain Fit­ness 2: Sight and Sound DVD ($24.95)

This pro­gram, specif­i­cally designed to help peo­ple get the most from their vision and hear­ing as they age, con­sid­ers how these senses change through­out life and what peo­ple can do to keep them healthy and fully functional.”

.

If you do not have time to watch these great doc­u­men­taries, here are a few points one needs to under­stand about neuroplasticity:

1.  The human brain is now con­sid­ered to be a highly dynamic and con­stantly reor­ga­niz­ing sys­tem capa­ble of being shaped and reshaped across an entire lifes­pan. It is believed that every expe­ri­ence alters the brain’s orga­ni­za­tion at some level. The key words in this new approach to the brain are neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis. Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity refers to the life­long capac­ity of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stim­u­la­tion of learn­ing and expe­ri­ence. Neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis is the abil­ity to cre­ate new neu­rons and con­nec­tions between neu­rons through­out a life­time. The lat­ter process is also referred to as synap­to­ge­n­e­sis. This new par­a­digm con­trasts with tra­di­tional ideas of the human brain being a fixed and essen­tially lim­ited sys­tem that only degrades with age.

2. As we age, the rate of change in the brain, or neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, declines but does not come to a halt. In addi­tion, we now know that new neu­rons can appear in cer­tain parts of the brain up until the day we die.

3. Brain plas­tic­ity is cru­cial fol­low­ing head injury. It is the one brain’s abil­ity that allows recov­ery. Brain plas­tic­ity is also the abil­ity that brain train­ing takes advan­tages of to try to slow down the aging process.

To read about evi­dence of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity in the human brain take a look at Brain plas­tic­ity: How learn­ing changes you brain

———-

Note: How can any­one take care of his or her brain when every week brings a new bar­rage of arti­cles and stud­ies which seem to con­tra­dict each other?

Do sup­ple­ments improve mem­ory? Do you need both phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise –or is one of them enough? Why is man­ag­ing stress so impor­tant to atten­tion and mem­ory? Which brain train­ing approach, if any, is worth one’s time and money?

If you have these ques­tions, check out this new book, The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness:

“Finally, an insight­ful and com­plete overview of the sci­ence, prod­ucts and trends to debunk old myths and help us all main­tain our brains in top shape. A must-read”
Glo­ria Cavanaugh, for­mer Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging and found­ing Board mem­ber of the National Alliance for Caregiving
“Kudos for an excel­lent resource! This Sharp­Brains Guide is full of top notch infor­ma­tion, pro­vides prac­ti­cal tips and helps sep­a­rate hype from hope in the brain health arena.“
Eliz­a­beth Edgerly, Ph.D., Chief Pro­gram Offi­cer, Alzheimer’s Association

A mas­ter­ful guide to the brain train­ing rev­o­lu­tion. Promises to stim­u­late a much needed con­ver­sa­tion that will nudge soci­ety to build a new brain fit­ness cul­ture on solid, research-based, foun­da­tions.“
P. Murali Doraiswamy MD, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try, Duke Uni­ver­sity and Co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan

The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness
SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. The Book Click

Here

to order at Amazon.com.
Print Edi­tion, $24.95


SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. The Book Click

Here

to order at Amazon.com,
Kin­dle Edi­tion, $9.99

Customer Satisfaction Survey/ Tech Museum Awards

We usu­ally spend more time in this blog talk­ing about brain fit­ness sci­ence, pro­grams and trends than talk­ing about peo­ple. Today we are going to change that, since we have been receiv­ing great feed­back from a num­ber of sources. While we still need to improve a lot, we can start to see the results of what we do in our “brain fit­ness cen­ter”. And we couldn’t be hap­pier about the nom­i­na­tion this week of Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg and myself, as Sharp­Brains cofounders, for The Tech Museum Awards — Tech­nol­ogy Ben­e­fit­ing Human­ity, in the Health category.

I. Anony­mous Feed­back from an online sur­vey of our online store cus­tomers

  • 58% respon­dents are Very Sat­is­fied, and 42% Sat­is­fied, with the prod­ucts and ser­vices they chose. I promise that there were more options (Dis­sat­is­fied, Very Dissatisfied)
  • As a trader, I really need to sus­tain atten­tion for long peri­ods. Your pro­gram (here) has been eye-opening and very helpful.”
  • I LOVE the pro­gram! It is fun, chal­lenges me and gives me hope for improv­ing in the areas where I have lim­i­ta­tions. Staff sup­port & edu­ca­tional infor­ma­tion has been great. It is very impor­tant to be able to talk to some­one about the ques­tions or process prob­lems that we experience…your mem­ber on-line site gives us the oppor­tu­nity to get answers & needed sup­port. Thanks for all you are doing. My hus­band and I love get­ting feed­back about our progress…it is a very pos­i­tive experience!”
  • Keep devel­op­ing pro­grams so when we fin­ish doing the Mind­Fit (here) pro­gram there will be another one to build upon the first! I am impressed at how well your pro­grams are indi­vid­u­al­ized. Good Job to all involved!”
  • Good, I enjoy the games (here) and I can tell a dif­fer­ence in my mem­ory and over­all awareness.”

II. Feed­back about our Stress Man­age­ment for Peak Per­for­mance work­shop (here)

  • Accen­ture: 46 per­cent of sur­vey respon­dents Strongly Agreed that they “gained prac­ti­cal skills and knowl­edge they could start using imme­di­ately.” 69 per­cent Strongly Agreed Read the rest of this entry »

Stress Management Workshop for International Women’s Day

Today is Inter­na­tional Women’s Day 2007.

Global con­sult­ing com­pany Accen­ture orga­nized a series of events, and I was for­tu­nate to lead a fun work­shop on The Neu­ro­science of Stress and Stress Man­age­ment in their San Fran­cisco office, help­ing over 125 accom­plished women (and a few men) learn what stress is, its impli­ca­tions for our brain func­tion­ing, per­for­mance and health, and of course some tips and tech­niques to develop our “stress man­age­ment” mus­cles. It was an honor to be able to wrap up a great event that included Dis­trict Attor­ney Kamala D. Har­ris, two of the co-authors of This is Not the Life I Ordered, a video by Sen­a­tor Dianne Fein­stein, and some great Accen­ture women.

We dis­cussed how stress is the emo­tional and phys­i­o­log­i­cal reac­tion to a threat, whether real or imag­ined, that results in a series of adap­ta­tions by our bod­ies. And how stress man­age­ment can bring a vari­ety of ben­e­fits: sus­tained peak per­for­mance, cog­ni­tive flex­i­bil­ity, mem­ory, deci­sion mak­ing, and even longevity.
You can see a very inter­est­ing exam­ple of the rela­tion­ship between atten­tion, mem­ory and stress with this exper­i­ment: Atten­tion and work­ing memory

Let me share some key take-aways from the work­shop, together with some exer­cises we used to illus­trate key points:

1) Stress can be a major road­block for peak per­for­mance and health
2) Some tips and tech­niques to bet­ter man­age stress:
a) Pick your bat­tles Read the rest of this entry »

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