By: Dr. Evian Gordon
(Editor’s Note: this is Part 3 of the new 3-part series written by Dr. Evian Gordon drawing from his participation at the Personalized Medicine World Congress on January, 23, 2012 at Stanford University.)
Working with Health Care Industry Stakeholders: Clinicians, Pharma/Biotech, Payers, PBMs, Lawyers, Medicare, FDA
Clinicians seek clear validated “rules of thumb” that can be easily implemented and fit into their workflow and reimbursement regime. Many are exploring “Clinical Decision Support (CDS)” tools on the web and solutions linked to “Electronic Health Records” (EHR’s). CDC and EHR’s are seeding the ground for clinicians to adopt robust Biomarkers that are shown to be unambiguously clinically relevant.
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By: Dr. Jerome Schultz
(Editor’s note: below you have part 5 of the 6-part The Neurobiology of Stress series. If you are joining the series now, you can read the previous part Here.)
Understanding the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress
The Human Brain Likes to Be in Balance
Fortunately, the brain has some built — in safety systems. Too much cortisol in the blood signals the brain and adrenal glands to decrease cortisol production. And under normal conditions, when the stress is overcome or brought under control (by fighting, fleeing, or turning into an immobile statue, or by mastering the threat), the hypothalamus starts sending out the orders to stand down. Stop producing cortisol! Event over! Under continuous stress, however, this feedback system breaks down. The hypothalamus keeps reading the stress as a threat, furtively sending messages to the pituitary gland, which screams out to the adrenal glands to keep pumping out cortisol, which at this point begins to be neurotoxic — poison to the brain. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Dr. Pascale Michelon
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 »
Welcome to the February edition of SharpBrains monthly eNewsletter:
First Report of the Council on the Ageing Society: Global Policy journal publishes the full Policy Principles and call to action outlined by the Global Agenda Council on the Ageing Society, an initiative run by the World Economic Forum which our CEO Alvaro Fernandez was honored to join in 2008.
Love Your Brain: Did you remember to love your brain on St. Valentine’s Day? Let Dr. Marian Diamond show why we better do so –and how.
Who will Benefit From Training? New research shows that measuring brain activity patterns can predict who may benefit most from traning interventions –and who may not. Please note that the Kramer lab involved in this research is now offering a postdoctoral fellowship.
A Quick Test to Detect Athletes’ Concussions: This new test can be performed at the sideline of sporting events to help detect concussions by looking at different types of eye movements.
The Best Way to Learn: Taking a test in which you recall what you have read seems to be a much better strategy than either studying the material repeatedly or drawing detailed diagrams of what you are learning.
Brain Training Games for Seniors: Donal O’Brien, from Queens University at Belfast, tells us about what motivates seniors to use a brain training app.
Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline: This study supports that patients with vitamin D deficiency show an increased risk of cognitive decline.
Baby Sleeps and Brain Development: How much sleep a 12 month old baby gets can influence the development of his/her executive functions.
PTSD: Can we Disrupt the Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories? A discussion of the different techniques used/ under research that can help PTSD patients.
Books and Summit Updates
Visual Illusions in Art and Science: These surprising classic illusions illustrate how art and magic can help science in undertansing how we perceive the world around us.
2011 SharpBrains Summit Agenda: You can now view the latest Agenda for the whole Summit and a 3-minute clip to learn how the SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century (March 30th — April 1st) will work.
By: Dr. Pascale Michelon
Both children and adults need a good night sleep to function at their best. A recent study, summarized here, suggests that this is true for babies too: How much sleep a 12 month old baby gets can influence the development of his/her executive functions. Executive functions, supported by the frontal lobes of the brain, are often considered as indicators of children’s likelihood of succeeding in school. They involve decision-making, problem-solving, planning, inhibiting, as well as other high-level functions (social behavior, emotional control, working memory, etc.). Read the rest of this entry »
By: Scott Barry Kaufman
Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite pastime is napping. In College, I would come back to my dorm room, and like clockwork, would take a nap. My best friend in England, who got quite a kick out of my passion for napping, once tried to persuade me to drink a cup of tea after lunch instead of taking my customary nap. I really tried, but I soon gave in to my nap cravings. Sometimes I feel like I really need to re-charge my brain batteries.
Well, now science is on my side. I just love this new study, which was presented by Matthew Walker, assistant professor at UC Berkeley, at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in San Diego this past Sunday (Feb. 2010).
Walker and his colleagues Bryce A. Mander and Sangeetha Santhanam split up a batch of 39 healthy young adults into two groups. One group napped, the other did not.
At noon, both groups took a learning task thought to recruit the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain known to play an important role in the formation of new memories. Over the past few years, various researchers have found that fact-based memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before other regions of the brain can operate on the content, especially the regions of the brain responsible for higher-order reasoning and thinking. At this point in the experiment, both groups showed similar levels of performance.
Then, at 2pm, the nap group took a 90-minute nap while the no-nap group stayed awake, presumably watching the nap group enjoying their nap. After nap-time both groups then took more learning tests. The nappers did better on the tasks than those who stayed awake, demonstrating their higher capacity to learn. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Several months ago we came across an excellent resource for cognitive/ brain fitness aimed at helping companies offer quality brain health information to their employees.
While it is true that we often tend to believe all this “brain fitness” stuff is most relevant to our parents and/ or grandparents, trust me, if you are reading this, you need it. Everyone with a brain can benefit from learning about how his or her brain works and how to maintain it with proper care.
And, from a company’s point of view, aren’t “talent” and “human capital” really all about brain fitness and cognitive performance?
The Conference Board and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (descriptions below) published in 2008 a 44-page booklet to “teach simple, practical strategies for incorporating brain-friendly practices into day-to-day life”. Your Brain at work: Making the science of cognitive fitness to work for you is the first of three planned booklets on cognitive fitness.
The Conference Board and the Dana Alliance have allowed SharpBrains to share the following Action Plan with our readers, straight from Your Brain at work brochure. At the bottom of this post we also share instructions on how individuals and companies can get their own copies of this excellent brochure. Read the rest of this entry »