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Top 30 Highlights from the 2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: The latest on Brain Research, Health and Innovation

2013 SharpBrains SummitOver 30 speak­ers and 170 reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed the lat­est on brain research, health and inno­va­tion at the fourth annual Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit, held in Sep­tem­ber 2013. Here are some of the fas­ci­nat­ing high­lights* that can help iden­tify emerg­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and pre­pare for sig­nif­i­cant changes likely to occur in the next 3–5 years.

What surprised/ impressed us the most (in brack­ets, the Speaker who prompted the high­light):

  1. How the Human Brain Project is build­ing a com­pre­hen­sive brain sim­u­la­tion web por­tal for hun­dreds of neu­ro­sci­en­tists to find prin­ci­ples that can not only opti­mize brain health but also com­put­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and IT net­works. (Sean Hill)
  2. How dif­fer­ent Brain Health will look in 2020. i.e. we may well see a “self-administered annual brain health check-up” (Alvaro Fer­nan­dez) build­ing on cur­rent tablet-based cog­ni­tive base­line tests. (Joan Sev­er­son)
  3. Two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide suf­fer from brain based health and pro­duc­tiv­ity chal­lenges, and many could ben­e­fit from evidence-based inter­ven­tions deliv­ered over the web via computers/ mobile. (Alvaro Fer­nan­dez)
  4. The increas­ing role pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy is play­ing in lead­er­ship and well­ness ini­tia­tives of large orga­ni­za­tions. Many com­pa­nies are using med­i­ta­tion pro­grams at work, help­ing place the human brain at the cen­ter of the human resources equa­tion. (Hyong Un)
  5. How health providers can expand focus to include emo­tional and cog­ni­tive health. Kaiser Permanente’s sim­ple and pow­er­ful posters are beau­ti­ful and inspir­ing. (Alexan­dra More­house) Read the rest of this entry »

Three Insights from the Frontiers of Positive Psychology

future-300x225In late June, the third World Con­gress on Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy con­vened lead­ing sci­en­tists to explore the keys to a happy and mean­ing­ful life. Here are three of the most strik­ing and prac­ti­cal insights from the con­fer­ence. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do Words, such as Yes and No, Change Our Brains and Lives?

The neu­ro­science of lan­guage, con­scious­ness, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion raises many fun­da­men­tal ques­tions, the answers to which con­sis­tently defy def­i­n­i­tion. For exam­ple: when we speak, where do our words come from? Our brain, or our mind? And what do we mean by mind? Sim­i­lar dilem­mas arise when we try to study the nature of con­scious­ness. What is it, and where is it? Is it gen­er­ated solely by neural activ­ity, or is it a sep­a­rate force that influ­ences the activ­ity of the brain? Hypothe­ses abound, but nobody seems to know for certain.

How­ever, we do have a few clues that illu­mi­nate the rela­tion­ship between the brain, the mind, and Read the rest of this entry »

Update: On Brain Training, Positive Psychology and the FDA

Time for the Sep­tem­ber edi­tion of the monthly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter, start­ing with a good brief New Sci­en­tist arti­cle, Maker of cog­ni­tive train­ing game seeks FDA approval: Imag­ine walk­ing away from a doctor’s office with a pre­scrip­tion to play a video game. Brain Plas­tic­ity, the devel­oper of a cog­ni­tive train­ing game, has begun talks with the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) to mar­ket the game as a ther­a­peu­tic drug.

A Course Cor­rec­tion for Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy: A Review of Mar­tin Seligman’s Lat­est Book: As pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion in 1998, Mar­tin Selig­man chal­lenged the psy­cho­log­i­cal com­mu­nity to rad­i­cally change its approach. For too long, he charged, psy­chol­ogy had been pre­oc­cu­pied solely with reliev­ing symp­toms of men­tal ill­ness; instead, he believed it should explore how to thrive in life, not just sur­vive it.

Study: Cog­ni­tive Mark­ers or Bio­mark­ers to man­age Cog­ni­tive Health across the Lifes­pan? Mea­sur­ing people’s changes in cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties is a bet­ter pre­dic­tor of Alzheimer’s dis­ease than changes in bio­mark­ers, researchers from the Ben­ito Menni Com­plex Assis­ten­cial en Salut Men­tal, Barcelona, Spain, reported in Archives of Gen­eral Psy­chi­a­try, a JAMA journal.

Brain Train­ing for Babies: Hope, Hype, Both? We should expect that the brain of a baby could be eas­ily trained. This is what Wass and his col­leagues recently demon­strated in a new study with 11-month-old babies.

Brain Devel­op­ment Through Bilin­gual Edu­ca­tion and Activ­i­ties Requir­ing Self-Control: Kids who learn two lan­guages young are bet­ter able to learn abstract rules and to reverse rules that they’ve already learned.

Who Says This is The Class­room of the Future? What if we ques­tioned the very premise behind nam­ing some class­rooms the “class­rooms of the future” sim­ply because they have been adding tech­nol­ogy in lit­er­ally mind­less ways?

AARP’s Best Brain Fit­ness Books: We are hon­ored to announce that AARP has included our very own book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness (182 pages; $14.95) in its new List of Best Books on Brain Fitness.

Inter­ac­tive Human Brain in 3D: Here’s a cool inter­ac­tive Human Brain in 3D you can play with.

Have a great month of Octo­ber and, as always, feel free to share this enewslet­ter with friends and colleagues.

PS: Did you miss the 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit: Retool­ing Brain Health for the 21st Cen­tury (Mar 30 — Apr 1, 2011)? Here you can learn more about how to access the recordings.

A Course Correction for Positive Psychology: A Review of Martin Seligman’s Latest Book

(Editor’s Note: we are pleased to bring you this arti­cle thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter).

A Course Cor­rec­tion for Pos­i­tive Psychology

A review of Mar­tin Seligman’s lat­est book, Flour­ish: A Vision­ary New Under­stand­ing of Hap­pi­ness and Well-Being.

- By Jill Suttie

As pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion in 1998, Mar­tin Selig­man chal­lenged the psy­cho­log­i­cal com­mu­nity to rad­i­cally change its approach. For too long, he charged, psy­chol­ogy had been pre­oc­cu­pied solely with reliev­ing symp­toms of men­tal ill­ness; instead, he believed it should explore how to thrive in life, not just sur­vive it. He called for a psy­chol­ogy that would uncover what makes peo­ple cre­ative, resilient, opti­mistic, and, ulti­mately, happy. The “pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy” move­ment was born.

Yet in his lat­est book, Flour­ish, Selig­man tries to pro­vide some­thing of a course cor­rec­tion for pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Cognitive Health and Brain Fitness Books

Here you have The 10 Most Pop­u­lar Brain Fit­ness & Cog­ni­tive Health Books, based on book pur­chases by Sharp­Brains’ read­ers dur­ing 2008.

Enjoy!

Brain Rules-John Medina
1. Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School (Pear Press, March 2008)
- Dr. John Med­ina, Direc­tor of the Brain Cen­ter for Applied Learn­ing Research at Seat­tle Pacific Uni­ver­sity, writes an engag­ing and com­pre­hen­sive intro­duc­tion to the many daily impli­ca­tions of recent brain research. He wrote the arti­cle Brain Rules: sci­ence and prac­tice for Sharp­Brains readers.
2. The Beck Diet Solu­tion: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son (Oxmoor House, March 2007)
- Dr. Judith Beck, Direc­tor of the Beck Insti­tute for Cog­ni­tive Ther­apy and Research, con­nects the world of research-based cog­ni­tive ther­apy with a main­stream appli­ca­tion: main­tain­ing weight-loss. Inter­view notes here.
3. The Brain That Changes Itself: Sto­ries of Per­sonal Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence (Viking, March 2007)
- Dr. Nor­man Doidge, psy­chi­a­trist and author of this New York Times best­seller, brings us “a com­pelling col­lec­tion of tales about the amaz­ing abil­i­ties of the brain to rewire, read­just and relearn”. Lau­rie Bar­tels reviews the book review here.
Spark John Ratey
4. Spark: The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary New Sci­ence of Exer­cise and the Brain(Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pany, Jan­u­ary 2008)
- Dr. John Ratey, an asso­ciate clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of psy­chi­a­try at Har­vard Med­ical School, sum­ma­rizes the grow­ing research on the brain ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal exer­cise. Lau­rie Bar­tels puts this research in per­spec­tive here.
5. The Art of Chang­ing the Brain: Enrich­ing the Prac­tice of Teach­ing by Explor­ing the Biol­ogy of Learn­ing (Sty­lus Pub­lish­ing, Octo­ber 2002)
- Dr. James Zull, Direc­tor Emer­i­tus of the Uni­ver­sity Cen­ter for Inno­va­tion in Teach­ing and Edu­ca­tion at Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­sity, writes a must-read for edu­ca­tors and life­long learn­ers. Inter­view notes here.
6. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Sci­ence Reveals Our Extra­or­di­nary Poten­tial to Trans­form Our­selves (Bal­lan­tine Books, Jan­u­ary 2007)
- Sharon Beg­ley, Newsweek’ excel­lent sci­ence writer, pro­vides an in-depth intro­duc­tion to the research on neu­ro­plas­tic­ity based on a Mind & Life Insti­tute event.
7. Thanks: How the New Sci­ence of Grat­i­tude Can Make You Hap­pier (Houghton Mif­flin, August 2007)
- Prof. Robert Emmons, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­ogy at UC Davis and Editor-In-Chief of the Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy, writes a solid book that com­bines a research-based syn­the­sis of the topic as well as prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions. Inter­view notes here.
8. The Exec­u­tive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civ­i­lized Mind (Oxford Uni­ver­sity Press, Jan­u­ary 2001)
- Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy at New York Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine, pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing per­spec­tive on the role of the frontal roles and exec­u­tive func­tions through the lifes­pan. Inter­view notes here.
Brain Trust Program 9. The Brain Trust Pro­gram: A Sci­en­tif­i­cally Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Mem­ory (Perigee Trade, Sep­tem­ber 2007)
- Dr. Larry McCleary, for­mer act­ing Chief of Pedi­atric Neu­ro­surgery at Den­ver Children’s Hos­pi­tal, cov­ers many lifestyle rec­om­men­da­tions for brain health in this prac­ti­cal book. He wrote the arti­cle Brain Evo­lu­tion and Health for SharpBrains.
10. A User’s Guide to the Brain: Per­cep­tion, Atten­tion, and the Four The­aters of the Brain (Pan­theon, Jan­u­ary 2001)
– In this book (pre­vi­ous to Spark), Dr. John Ratey pro­vides a stim­u­lat­ing descrip­tion of how the brain works. An excel­lent Brain 101 book to any­one new to the field.

Encephalon #50 Edition: Brain & Mind Research

Wel­come to Encephalon 50th edi­tion, where you will find another superb col­lec­tion of blog posts on all things Brain and Mind.Encephalon brain and mind blog carnival

Enjoy these contributions:

Sci­ence & Technology

Mind Hacks reports that Face­book ate my psy­chi­a­trist. We can learn about the ben­e­fits of social net­work­ing sites like Face­book, bring­ing great per­spec­tive to recent and mis­guided media spec­u­la­tion (fuelled by a recent talk at the Royal Col­lege of Psy­chi­a­trists). Vaughan, will you please report on the ben­e­fits of par­tic­i­pat­ing (and, bet­ter, host­ing) Encephalon?.

Dun­geons And Drag­ons — Or Mazes And Mon­sters?: Pod­Black Cat offers a thought-provoking review of the ther­apy (includ­ing self-therapy) appli­ca­tions of role-playing games such as the clas­sic Dun­geons And Drag­ons and the more recent mas­sively mul­ti­player online games.

Cog­ni­tive Daily cov­ers another type of game. Read the rest of this entry »

Learn about the 2014 SharpBrains Summit in 2 minutes

Watch Larry King’s interview

» Click HERE in the USA, or HERE else­where (opens 28-min program)

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