Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain training works: Study finds 10-year benefit from 10-hour training

Brain TrainingBrain train­ing helped older adults stay sharp for years –study (Reuters):

  • A brief course of brain exer­cises helped older adults hold on to improve­ments in rea­son­ing skills and pro­cess­ing speed for 10 years after the course ended, accord­ing to results from the largest study ever done on cog­ni­tive train­ing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Monitoring cognition via mobile applications: iPad app analyzed

We recently came across a fas­ci­nat­ing sci­en­tific study, titled Exam­in­ing cog­ni­tive func­tion across the lifes­pan using a mobile appli­ca­tion (Com­put­ers in Human Behav­ior), which stud­ied the value and lim­i­ta­tions of using an iPad app called “brain­base­line.”

Abstract: “Many stud­ies con­ducted in a lab­o­ra­tory or uni­ver­sity set­ting are lim­ited by fund­ing, per­son­nel, space, and time con­straints. In the present study, Read the rest of this entry »

Research: Does Nintendo Brain Age work as a brain training game?

A new study tries to, but unfor­tu­nately doesn’t, answer that ques­tion. Study: Brain Train­ing Game Improves Exec­u­tive Func­tions and Pro­cess­ing Speed in the Elderly: A Ran­dom­ized Con­trolled Trial (PLoS ONE).

Con­clu­sions: Our results showed that play­ing Brain Age for 4 weeks could lead to improve cog­ni­tive func­tions (exec­u­tive func­tions and pro­cess­ing speed) in the elderly. This result indi­cated that there is a pos­si­bil­ity which the elderly could improve exec­u­tive func­tions and pro­cess­ing speed in short term train­ing. The results need repli­ca­tion in large sam­ples. Long-term effects and rel­e­vance for every-day func­tion­ing remain uncer­tain as yet.” Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Cognitive Training in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

We just came across a new sci­en­tific study on the value and lim­i­ta­tions of cog­ni­tive train­ing in Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment (MCI), based on a pro­gram of cog­ni­tive exer­cises pro­vided by Lumos Labs (devel­op­ers of lumosity.com).

Study: Com­put­erised Cog­ni­tive Train­ing for Older Per­sons With Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment: A Pilot Study Using a Ran­domised Con­trolled Trial Design (Brain Impair­ment): Read the rest of this entry »

New Interview Series (Part 1 of 10): Why Care About Brain Fitness Innovation?

Every Mon­day dur­ing the next 10 weeks we’ll dis­cuss here what lead­ing indus­try, sci­ence and pol­icy experts –all of whom will speak at the upcom­ing 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st, 2011)– have to say about emerg­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges to address, over the next 10 years, the grow­ing brain-related soci­etal demands.

With­out fur­ther ado, here you have what four Sum­mit Speak­ers say…

Alvaro Pascual-Leone is the Direc­tor of the Berenson-Allen Cen­ter for Non-Invasive Brain Stim­u­la­tion at Har­vard Med­ical School.

1. How would you define “brain fit­ness” vs. “phys­i­cal fit­ness”?

Phys­i­cal fit­ness can refer to an over­all or gen­eral state of health and well-being. How­ever, it is also often used more specif­i­cally to refer to the abil­ity to per­form a given activ­ity, occu­pa­tion, or sport.

Sim­i­larly brain fit­ness might be used to refer to a gen­eral state of healthy, opti­mized brain func­tion, or a more spe­cific brain-based abil­ity to process cer­tain, spe­cific infor­ma­tion, enable cer­tain motor actions, or sup­port cer­tain cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties. Impor­tantly though, I would argue Read the rest of this entry »

Physical and mental exercise to prevent cognitive decline

We offered some Brain Fit­ness Pre­dic­tions in our Mar­ket Report , including…

7. Doc­tors and phar­ma­cists will help patients nav­i­gate through the over­whelm­ing range of avail­able prod­ucts and inter­pret the results of cog­ni­tive assess­ments. This will require sig­nif­i­cant pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment efforts, given that most doc­tors today were trained under a very dif­fer­ent under­stand­ing of the brain than the one we have today.”

The Amer­i­can Med­ical News, a weekly news­pa­per for physi­cians pub­lished by the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, just pub­lished an excel­lent arti­cle along those lines:

Steps to a nim­ble mind: Phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise help keep the brain fit
– Neu­ro­science is uncov­er­ing tech­niques to pre­vent cog­ni­tive decline.

A few quotes:

- It’s an exam­ple that high­lights a wave of new think­ing about the impor­tance of brain fitness.

- Until recently, con­ven­tional wis­dom held that our brains were intractable, hard-wired com­put­ers. What we were born with was all we got. Age wore down mem­ory and the abil­ity to under­stand, and few inter­ven­tions could reverse this process. But increas­ingly, evi­dence sug­gests that phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise can alter spe­cific brain regions, mak­ing rad­i­cal improve­ments in cog­ni­tive function.

- With nearly 72 mil­lion Amer­i­cans turn­ing 65 over the next two decades, physi­cians need the tools to han­dle grow­ing patient con­cerns about how to best main­tain brain health. Armed with this new brand of sci­ence, front­line physi­cians will be bet­ter equipped to address the needs of aging baby boomers, already in the throes of the brain fit­ness revolution.

- “Encour­age them to exer­cise the brain in novel and com­plex ways,” he says.

Full arti­cle: here

One of the physi­cians quoted in the arti­cle is Gary J. Kennedy, MD, Direc­tor of the Divi­sion of Geri­atric Psy­chi­a­try at Mon­te­fiore Med­ical Cen­ter in NYC and a pro­fes­sor in the Dept. of Psy­chi­a­try and Behav­ioral Sci­ences at Albert Ein­stein Col­lege of Medicine.

To put the AMA arti­cle in bet­ter per­spec­tive for Sharp­Brains read­ers, we asked Dr. Kennedy a few follow-up ques­tions. Below you have his questions.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez (AF): Can you sum­ma­rize how cog­ni­tive func­tions tend to evolve as we age?

Gary Kennedy (GK): As we age cog­ni­tive func­tions that rely on Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Global Consortium for Neurocognitive Fitness Innovation

As men­tioned before, the World Eco­nomic Forum asked me to write “an 800 words sum­mary of your most com­pelling action­able idea on the chal­lenges of geron­tol­ogy”, in prepa­ra­tion for the Inau­gural Sum­mit of the Global Agenda that will take place Novem­ber 7 to 9th in Dubai.A good num­ber of Sharp­Brains read­ers and clients offered their insights — and expressed an inter­est in read­ing the draft. So below you have — a pro­posal to cre­ate a Global Con­sor­tium for Neu­rocog­ni­tive Fit­ness Inno­va­tion, build­ing on our exist­ing mar­ket research and advi­sory ser­vices work. Your thoughts?

—–

The Con­text

Grow­ing Demands on Our Brains: Pic­ture 6.7 bil­lion Prim­i­tive Brains inhab­it­ing a Knowl­edge Soci­ety where life­long learn­ing and mas­ter­ing con­stant change in com­plex envi­ron­ments are crit­i­cal for pro­duc­tive work, health and per­sonal fulfillment.

Wel­come to Planet Earth, 2008.

Fur­ther stretched by increased longevity: Now pic­ture close to 1 bil­lion of those brains over the age of 60 – and please remem­ber that, less than 100 years ago, life expectancy was between 30 to 40 years. The rapidly evolv­ing Knowl­edge Soci­ety is plac­ing new and enor­mous demands on our “prim­i­tive” human brains. And the longer our lifes­pans, the more obvi­ous the “cog­ni­tive gap”. Hence, from a health point of view, the grow­ing 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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