Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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June 22nd talk @ Fundacion Edad y Vida (Barcelona) on Health in the XXI century

aa-225x300Last Novem­ber, talk­ing with some Japan­ese col­leagues at the World Eco­nomic Forum’s Coun­cil on the Aging Soci­ety, I dis­cov­ered that it is com­mon there to orga­nize research-driven consortia/ learn­ing labs among for-profit, non-profit and aca­d­e­mic orga­ni­za­tions inter­ested in the devel­op­ment of “sil­ver indus­tries”, this is, where com­pa­nies develop prod­uct and ser­vices spe­cific to the needs of older adults.

I just dis­cov­ered –hav­ing been invited to speak there, together with Prof. Shlomo Breznitz– that my native Spain counts with a sim­i­lar inno­v­a­tive plat­form. You can see below (in Span­ish) the details of my tak in Barcelona on June 22nd, and here you have how the Fun­da­cion Edad y Vida describes itself:

  • The Edad&Vida Foun­da­tion is a plat­form where all the dif­fer­ent agents involved in con­tribut­ing to the qual­ity of life of elderly peo­ple con­verge. Edad&Vida is an open space to com­pa­nies from dif­fer­ent eco­nomic sec­tors, social agents and aca­d­e­mic entities.
  • Edad&Vida is the result of the effort of more than 40 lead­ing com­pa­nies that belong to dif­fer­ent eco­nomic sec­tors. We can find Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Work as a Brain Fitness Program

Here you have the twice-a-month newslet­ter with our most pop­u­lar blog posts. Please brainremem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, sim­ply by sub­mit­ting your email at the top of this page.

There is one type of “brain fit­ness pro­gram” which is not only free but also pays you back. You guessed it, that pro­gram is your “job”. Our occu­pa­tions can pro­vide ben­e­fi­cial men­tal exer­cise if they incor­po­rate the key ingre­di­ents of nov­elty, vari­ety, and chal­lenge, and are not a source of chronic stress.

We start today’s newslet­ter with two arti­cles related to the brain value of hav­ing men­tally stim­u­lat­ing jobs.

Your Brain At Work

Your Brain At Work Brochure: Aren’t “tal­ent” and “human cap­i­tal” all about brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive per­for­mance, really? Indi­vid­u­als and Human Resources depart­ments can access excel­lent cog­ni­tive fit­ness tips, an action plan, and a great brochure pro­vided by the Dana Alliance for Brain Ini­tia­tives and the Con­fer­ence Board for our readers.

ABC Reporter Bob Woodruff’s Recov­ery from Trau­matic Brain Injury: For­mer US pres­i­den­tial con­tender and Sen­a­tor John Edwards recently granted an inter­view to reporter Bob Woodruff. The most remark­able aspect of the inter­view? Bob Woodruff’s spec­tac­u­lar recov­ery from the trau­matic brain injury he suf­fered in Iraq 2 years ago. You can’t miss this inter­view with his wife Lee, where we dis­cuss Bob’s recov­ery process (includ­ing mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary, co-writing a book and other projects at ABC), the Bob Woodruff Foun­da­tion, and the over­all chal­lenge of cog­ni­tive reha­bil­i­ta­tion fol­low­ing trau­matic brain injuries.

Research

San­ti­ago Ramon y Cajal’s “Rec­ol­lec­tions of My Life”: Remark­able and can­did views on neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, learn­ing, aging and life, straight from the auto­bi­og­ra­phy of one of the founders of mod­ern neu­ro­science, who once said “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculp­tor of his own brain.”

Can food improve brain health?: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon pro­vides an overview of the effects of food on the brain, build­ing on Fer­nando Gomez-Pinilla’s recent study in Nature Reviews Neu­ro­science. Can­di­dates for “brainy” foods con­tain: Omega-3 fatty acid, folic acid, flavonoids, anti-oxidant foods. Please note her warn­ing, though: most of the stud­ies show­ing pos­i­tive effects have been con­ducted in mice.

The biol­ogy of aging: A monthly vir­tual gath­er­ing of blog­gers to dis­cuss Biol­ogy of Aging top­ics includ­ing research, pol­icy, lifestyle guid­ance, and open ques­tions. We are aware that “aging” may not be the sex­i­est  of words in our vocab­u­lary… unless you con­sider the most com­mon alter­na­tive.

Tech­nol­ogy

Brain Fit­ness Cen­ters in Senior Hous­ing — A Field in the Mak­ing: The Amer­i­can Seniors Hous­ing Asso­ci­a­tion (ASHA) has released an Spe­cial Issue Brief pre­pared by Sharp­Brains to pro­vide qual­ity infor­ma­tion on mar­ket trends, best prac­tices by lead­ing seniors hous­ing and long-term care orga­ni­za­tions, lessons from pilot stud­ies, nav­i­ga­tional guid­ance, and more. If you are a pro­fes­sional or exec­u­tive in the sec­tor, please con­sider pur­chas­ing a copy.

The Future of Computer-assisted Cog­ni­tive Ther­apy: Cog­ni­tive ther­apy is one of the most researched types of brain train­ing, espe­cially in deal­ing with depres­sion and anx­i­ety. Why don’t more peo­ple ben­e­fit today from it? The lack of a scal­able dis­tri­b­u­tion model may per­haps explain that. We pre­dict that tech­nol­ogy will help com­ple­ment the role of ther­a­pists, help­ing more peo­ple bet­ter cope with change, life, anx­i­ety, and a range of cog­ni­tive and emo­tional chal­lenges. With­out any stigma. Just as nat­u­rally as one trains abdom­i­nal mus­cles today.

Brain Teaser
Games for the Brain: Quick, can you iden­tify what is going on in these photographs?

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We hope you enjoyed this edi­tion. As always, you are wel­come to share these arti­cles with friends, and to give us feed­back, for extra brain workout.

Hourglass #3: the biology of aging

Wel­come to the third edi­tion of Hour­glass, the monthly vir­tual gath­er­ing of blog­gers to Hourglassdis­cuss the Biol­ogy of Aging.

For today’s edi­tion, let’s imag­ine all par­tic­i­pants sit­ting around a table lead­ing a lively Ques­tions & Answers ses­sion, dis­cussing as a group, lis­ten­ing, talk­ing. (And, well, aging.)

Q: What is aging?
Ms. Wikipedia: “Age­ing or aging (Amer­i­can Eng­lish) is the accu­mu­la­tion of changes in an organ­ism or object over time. Age­ing in humans refers to a mul­ti­di­men­sional process of phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and social change. Some dimen­sions of age­ing grow and expand over time, while oth­ers decline. Reac­tion time, for exam­ple, may slow with age, while knowl­edge of world events and wis­dom may expand.”

Aging may not be the sex­i­est  of words in our vocab­u­lary. Unless, of course (as I heard some­where recently but can’t prop­erly credit), you con­sider the most com­mon alternative.

Q: If the objec­tive of anti-aging research is to extend lifes­pan, isn’t there a risk that we may neglect qual­ity of life. After all, would peo­ple really like to spend more years afflicted by the dis­eases and the decline that often come with age?
Ed (dragged to the dis­cus­sion by Chris and Alvaro): I have rel­a­tively good news to share. A recent Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Den­mark found that the pro­por­tion of elderly Danes who man­age to remain inde­pen­dent holds steady at Read the rest of this entry »

New Neurons: Good News, Bad News

Over the last year we have gladly seen an avalanche of news on adult neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis (the cre­ation of new neu­rons in adult brains), fol­low­ing recent research reports. Fur­ther, we have seen how the news that phys­i­cal exer­cise can enhance neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis is becom­ing com­mon knowl­edge among many health sys­tems we work with.

Now, the obvi­ous ques­tion that doesn’t always get asked is, “What good are new neu­rons if they don’t sur­vive?”. And that’s where learn­ing, enrich­ment, men­tal exer­cise, are critical.

We are glad to intro­duce a new Expert Con­trib­u­tor, Dr. Bill Klemm, a pro­fes­sor of Neu­ro­science at Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity, who sum­ma­rizes much research on how new neu­rons are born-and what they need to live long happy lives.

- Alvaro

New Neu­rons: Good News, Bad News

– By Dr. Bill Klemm

In the last few years, researchers have dis­cov­ered that new nerve cells (neu­rons) are born, pre­sum­ably from resid­ual stem cells that exist even in adults. That should be good news for all of us as we get older and fear men­tal decline. The bad news is that these new neu­rons die, unless our minds are active enough.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trader Peak Performance and biofeedback programs

Brett Steen­barger, the renowned expert in Trader Per­for­mance and author of the blog Trader­Feed: Exploit­ing the edge from his­tor­i­cal mar­ket pat­terns, among many things, just posted a kind note on our Peak Performance/ emo­tional man­age­ment solu­tion for traders.

He says: “This is the first biofeed­back appli­ca­tion that I’m aware of that is uniquely mar­keted to traders. I’ve used biofeed­back to mon­i­tor my body’s level of arousal dur­ing trad­ing and have found it to be quite useful.”

How does this work?

Frustration vs The Zone

Traders, or any­one involved in very com­plex and rapidly evolv­ing envi­ron­ments, need to make split sec­ond deci­sions based on sound logic, instead of emo­tional impulses. It is not easy to deal with frus­tra­tion, for exam­ple, when a trade doesn’t go the way we antic­i­pate. Stress can also cause us to miss new pat­terns in the mar­ket, thereby pre­vent­ing us from adapt­ing to, and suc­ceed­ing in, new circumstances.

A biofeedback-based Peak Performance/Stress Man­age­ment pro­gram may be use­ful, because a tool such as The Freeze-Framer biofeed­back sys­tem pro­vides real-time visual feed­back on our “inter­nal per­for­mance” and helps us iden­tify and learn how to man­age the emo­tional arousal that can dis­rupt exec­u­tive func­tions: judg­ment, plan­ning, ana­lyz­ing, and rea­son­ing. The graphs above show the dif­fer­ence in our body rhythms between frus­tra­tion and the smooth tar­get pat­tern of “The Zone” in an opti­mal learn­ing process and peak performance.

For more infor­ma­tion on Trader Per­for­mance, an inter­view with Brett Steen­barger, or to buy this this pro­gram, click on Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram for Traders. You may also want to learn more about find­ing your trad­ing niche.

Enjoy,

Alvaro

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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.
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