Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Barcelona, 2 de Julio: Mejora tu salud usando la mente, el cuerpo y las redes sociales

BCN_ASICS2_webASICS es el principal impulsor de la conferencia que el próximo 2 de julio tendrá lugar en Barcelona bajo el título “Mejora tu salud usando la mente, el cuerpo y las redes sociales”. Read the rest of this entry »

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.


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.


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?


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 »

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