Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Can biofeedback-based videogames help kids regulate anger and emotions?

Video Game With Biofeedback Teaches Children to Curb Their Anger (Science Daily):

“Children with serious anger problems can be helped by a simple video game that hones their ability to regulate their emotions, finds a pilot study at Boston Children’s Hospital. Results were published online October 24 in the journal Adolescent Psychiatry Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Sheryl Flynn on Getting Evidence-Based Rehab Video Games Into the Hands of Users

Dr. Flynn will discuss her entrepreneurial journey to get Evidence-Based Rehab Video Games Into the Hands of Users, at the upcoming 2012 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (June 7-14th, 2012).

Dr. Sheryl Flynn is the founder and CEO of Blue Mar­ble Game Co, a seri­ous games com­pany that focuses design and devel­op­ment of video games to enhance Read the rest of this entry »

Gaming and Neuroscience: Opportunities and Challenges

A couple weeks ago I attended the Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Conference, ESCoNS, at the University of California San Francisco. The speakers’ talks were insightful, surprising, and inspiring in many regards. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together great minds in a variety of fields from neuroscience to game design and to come up with some ideas how to make game based cognitive training a reality as an effective therapy for many of today’s most challenging disorders and deficits. Many of the scientists also thought that game based therapies for cognitive deficits could be used as enhancement tools for healthy individuals as well. Read the rest of this entry »

June Update: High-Quality Summer Brain Reading

Let’s explore some  high-quality new resources, announcements and studies in this June edi­tion of the monthly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter. The field is clearly on the move!

Portraits of the Mind: Several sharp brains (Rick, Karen, John, thanks!) strongly rec­om­mend the recent book  “Por­traits of the Mind: Visu­al­iz­ing the Brain from Antiq­uity to the 21st Cen­tury” (which includes the image on the left) as great read­ing and as a beau­ti­ful cof­fee table book.

Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement: The cur­rent issue of Cere­brum includes the excel­lent in-depth arti­cle on the value of volunteering program Experience Corps to promote healthy and meaningful aging through social involvement.

Working memory training can improve fluid intelligence: Finally, a powerful voice of common sense. A new scientific study con­cludes that “cog­ni­tive train­ing can be effec­tive and long-lasting, but there are lim­it­ing fac­tors that must be con­sid­ered to eval­u­ate the effects of this train­ing, one of which is indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in train­ing per­for­mance. We pro­pose that future research should not inves­ti­gate whether cog­ni­tive train­ing works, but rather should deter­mine what train­ing reg­i­mens and what train­ing con­di­tions result in the best trans­fer effects, inves­ti­gate the under­ly­ing neural and cog­ni­tive mech­a­nisms, and finally, inves­ti­gate for whom cog­ni­tive train­ing is most useful.”

Lumos Labs raises $32.5m: Lumos Labs, the com­pany behind lumosity.com, has just raised the single largest amount of funding in the space.

Developing a Research Agenda for Serious Games: The recent trade book Com­puter Games and Instruc­tion brings together the lead­ing edge per­spec­tives of over a dozen sci­en­tists in the area of videogames and learn­ing, includ­ing this very insight­ful analy­sis by Harvard’s Chris Dede.

In the News: Brief arti­cles in the New York Times and a very pow­er­ful analy­sis in The New York Review of Books pro­vide use­ful clues about Brain Cal­is­then­ics, Bilin­gual Brains, and Debunk­ing Myths on Men­tal Ill­ness.

Emerging Military Applications: 2 recent announce­ments show, in a mil­i­tary con­text, innovative ways to enhance brain functioning and performance both to help “nor­mal” and “clin­i­cal” (post-TBI) pop­u­la­tions.

We hope you enjoyed this newslet­ter. Please do feel free to share this with friends and col­leagues via Face­book, Twit­ter and LinkedIn, and have a great weekend and month of July!

Serious Games: Developing a Research Agenda for Educational Games and Simulations

(Editor’s Note: the recent trade book Computer Games and Instruction brings together the leading edge perspectives of over a dozen scientists in the area of videogames and learning, including a very insightful analysis -excerpted below- by Harvard’s Chris Dede. Please pay attention to his thoughts on scalability below, and enjoy!)

The research overview provided by Tobias, Fletcher, and Dai (this volume) is very helpful in summarizing studies to date on various dimensions of educational games and simulations. The next challenge for the field is to move beyond isolated research in which each group of investigators uses an idiosyncratic set of definitions, conceptual frameworks, and methods. Instead, to make further progress, we as scholars should adopt common research strategies and models—not only to ensure a higher standard of rigor, but also to enable studies that complement each other in what they explore.   Read the rest of this entry »

Debunking 10 Cognitive Health and Fitness Myths

As part of the research behind the book The SharpBrains Guide for Brain Fitness we interviewed dozens of leading cognitive health and fitness scientists and experts worldwide to learn about their research and thoughts, and have a number of take-aways to report.

What Santiago Ramon y Cajal can we clearly say today that we couldn’t have said only 10 years ago? That what neuroscience pioneer Santiago Ramon y Cajal claimed in the XX century, “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor his own brain”, may well become reality in the XXI.

And transform Education, Health, Training, and Gaming in the process, since Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teaser: Test your mental rotation skills

Are you familiar with mental rotation? It refers to moving things around in your head. It is one of the numerous visuospatial skills that we all have.

Let’s take an exam­ple. Can you pic­ture in your head an arrow point­ing to the right? Now, turn this arrow so it points to the left. Done? You have just per­formed a men­tal rota­tion. Although it is rare to consciously imagine objects moving, peo­ple automatically use this abil­ity when they read maps, use tools, play chess, arrange fur­ni­ture, drive in traf­fic, etc.

Men­tal rota­tion relies mostly on the pari­etal areas of your brain (yellow sec­tion in the brain image above).

Here is a brain exer­cise to stim­u­late your men­tal rota­tion skills.

  • The top shape is your model.
  • Among the 3 shapes below the model, only one matches the model. To figure out which one does you will probably have to move the shapes around in your head.
  • Move the shapes from left to right or right to left but DO NOT FLIP them around.

First set

Second set

Third Set

To see the correct answers click here: Read the rest of this entry »

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