Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Sleep: A Memory Booster?

What’s going on in the brain while we sleep? A lot! Specif­i­cally, processes sup­port­ing the con­sol­i­da­tion of mem­o­ries. This Dana Foun­da­tion arti­cle reviews fas­ci­nat­ing stud­ies in which mem­o­ries are reac­ti­vated dur­ing sleep thanks to either an odor or an audi­tory cue. Results sug­gest that such reac­ti­va­tion leads to bet­ter memory:

reac­ti­va­tion dur­ing slow-wave sleep sup­ports the trans­fer of the mem­ory rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the hip­pocam­pus to long-term stor­age in the neo­cor­tex, and also strength­ens it

one pos­si­ble appli­ca­tion of such find­ings could be to over­write unwanted trau­matic memories

another appli­ca­tion would be to use the deep-sleep reac­ti­va­tion to enhance mem­o­ries in stu­dents, or in elderly peo­ple Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Science: “Brain Rules” Podcast

We are fans of the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast series hosted by Gin­ger Camp­bell, so are pleased to announce that Dr. Camp­bell will start offer­ing to Sharp­Brains read­ers, peri­od­i­cally, the high­lights of her most inter­est­ing pod­casts. Below, her first post. Enjoy!

- Alvaro


In a recent inter­view on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast, Dr. John Med­ina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School shared some of the prac­ti­cal impli­ca­tions of recent neu­ro­science research.

We talked about the impor­tance of exer­cise and sleep and we dis­cussed why appre­ci­at­ing how our mem­ory and atten­tion sys­tems really work could change how we run schools, busi­nesses, and even our daily lives.

For exam­ple, Read the rest of this entry »

Sleep, Tetris, Memory and the Brain

As part of our ongo­ing Author Speaks Series, we are hon­ored to present today this excel­lent arti­cle by Dr. Shan­non Mof­fett, based on her illu­mi­nat­ing and engag­ing book. Enjoy!

(and please go to sleep soon if you are read­ing this late Mon­day night).

Two years ago I fin­ished a book on the mind/brain, called The Three Pound Enigma: The Human Brain and the Quest to Unlock its Mys­ter­iesShannon Moffett-Three Pound Enigma . Each chap­ter pro­files a leader in a dif­fer­ent aspect of mind/brain research, from neu­ro­surgery to zen Bud­dhism, from cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science to phi­los­o­phy of mind. One of my sub­jects was Dr. Robert Stick­gold, a zany, hyper-intelligent men­sch of a Har­vard sleep researcher. When I met him, I was in med­ical school and hav­ing a grand old time—I’d exacted an exten­sion of my tenure beyond the cus­tom­ary four years, so I had enough time to write the book, do my course­work, and have a life. I was busy, but still got enough sleep, had time to exer­cise daily, and even went for din­ner and a movie some­times. Although I found Stickgold’s work inter­est­ing, there was a part of me that just didn’t get it.

Fast-forward to the present, when I am a res­i­dent in emer­gency med­i­cine at a busy inner-city trauma cen­ter; I have two-year-old twins and a hus­band with a 60-hour-a-week job of his own. I do not exer­cise. I do not eat unless I can do some­thing else pro­duc­tive at the same time, and even when I do get to sleep in my own bed, my slum­ber is frac­tured by the awak­en­ings of two cir­ca­di­anly dis­parate tod­dlers. It seems to take me twice as long to “get” new con­cepts as it used to, and I never feel like I’m func­tion­ing at top speed. In short, I am a mess. And NOW I get what Stickgold’s work is all about, and under­stand that he is both quan­ti­fy­ing and explain­ing exactly what I’m feeling.

Read the rest of this entry »

Random Learning? the 8 Random Facts Meme

Orli from Neu­ron­tic tagged me with a new meme –writ­ing about 8 Ran­dom Per­sonal Facts– that is cir­cu­lat­ing among sci­ence blog­gers.  Well, I will hap­pily write about 8 facts that appeared in unex­pected ways yet, seen with per­spec­tive, seem to be a type of non-random ran­dom­ness, if that makes sense…  

  1. As the old­est child, I was the most responsible/ serious/ with best grades…you get the pic­ture. One of my youngest sib­lings spe­cial­ized in teas­ing me and mak­ing my life dif­fi­cult (from my per­spec­tive then). At some point, I real­ized that my auto­matic men­tal reac­tion to any­thing sus­pi­cious that hap­pened in my life (my bike is not where I left it, there are 2 books miss­ing…) was an angry “this must have been my brother!” fol­lowed by intra-family con­flict and the need for UN peace­keep­ers. Let’s say he was respon­si­ble for only 40% of such events…so I real­ized my atti­tude made no sense and it was some­thing I needed to con­trol. So, at some point, I devel­oped the men­tal habit of mak­ing fun of my own stu­pid­ity when­ever that auto­matic reac­tion appeared, and pro­tect­ing a more ratio­nal approach to solv­ing the problem.
  2. Around the same time, at a rou­tine meet­ing between my mother, school staff and myself, some­one made a com­ment along “Alvaro has spec­tac­u­lar grades, but he must under­stand that suc­cess in life does not depend on grades alone”. Fas­ci­nat­ing, I remem­ber think­ing, how can that be pos­si­ble? What may that mean? Is it not “fair” and self-evident that if I have great grades every­thing good will fol­low in life? Maybe this opened my mind to under­stand­ing that “intel­li­gence” goes well beyond IQ…
  3. For many years I kept a journal-like doc­u­ment with brief “lessons learned” and “concepts/ say­ings / real­i­ties I don’t under­stand yet”. Some­thing like a “diary of learn­ing and things to be learned”. I don’t keep such a doc­u­ment anymore…and cer­tainly not because now I under­stand everything.
  4. My last 2 years in high school were extremely social, hav­ing relo­cated to a Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to

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. Explore our most popular resources HERE.

Haven’t you read this book yet?

Follow Us…


Newsletter Signup

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:
Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.

Subscribe RSS Feed

Subscribe to the RSS Feed