Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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.


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 »


Welcome to

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN,, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and wellness applications of brain science.

FIRST-TIME VISITOR? Discover HERE the most popular resources at

New market report on Pervasive Neurotechnology & Intellectual Property

Haven’t you read this book yet?

Newsletter Signup

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:
Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.

Follow Us…


Subscribe RSS Feed

Subscribe to the RSS Feed