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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 »

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