Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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, 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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