Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Want to train your brain? Work as a physician, air traffic controller, financial analyst (or similar)

Brain Firing NeuronsMen­tally stim­u­lat­ing jobs keep your mind sharp post-retirement (Tech Times):

If you want to stay sharp in your golden years, it’s best to get the hard yards in early — a new study has found that peo­ple with men­tally demand­ing jobs fare bet­ter in the years after retirement.…Mental acu­ity and mem­ory reten­tion was found to be higher in retirees who had spent their careers in men­tally stim­u­lat­ing roles, such as Read the rest of this entry »

Brain fitness class’ monthly Q&A: Memory, stress, emotions, and more

Reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants in the new e-course How to Be Your Own Brain Fit­ness Coach can take part in a monthly online Q&A ses­sion to dis­cuss progress and open ques­tions with the course fac­ulty and with fel­low par­tic­i­pants. Below is the tran­script of the Octo­ber 30th Q&A ses­sion, lightly edited and anonymized.

Course Fac­ulty (or F): OK, we are ready to start. You can start writ­ing and sub­mit­ting any ques­tions and com­ments!  Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Mental Agility through Cognitive Control and Mental Representation

The words, The Agile Mind cap­tured my atten­tion imme­di­ately. The title con­veyed energy, inno­va­tion, change, bounc­ing on a tram­po­line in my head. I knew that inves­ti­gat­ing the book would be an adventure.

As soon as the book The Agile Mind by Wilma Kout­staal was in my hands, I explored the 24-page index, look­ing for my favorite topic, problem-solving think­ing. On page 29 I accessed a brand new take on the intu­itive ver­sus ratio­nal prob­lem solv­ing chal­lenge. A cen­tral aspect of men­tal agility Read the rest of this entry »

Is There a Formula for Smart Thinking?

One day, one of my kids was star­ing at a sim­ple cir­cuit dia­gram. It showed a bat­tery con­nected to a resis­tor and a light bulb. He was doing a home­work prob­lem. The par­tic­u­lar ques­tion that had him stumped asked what would hap­pen to the cur­rent in the cir­cuit if the resis­tor was replaced with another that had more resis­tance. He hadn’t been in class that day and had never stud­ied elec­tric­ity, and so he stared at the dia­gram for a few min­utes with­out comprehension.

My son had reached what psy­chol­o­gists call an impasse, which is really just a fancy way of say­ing that he was stuck. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Agile Minds Deploy Both Rational and Intuitive Problem-Solving

A rare aha moment in 2011 set me chas­ing new problem-solving research. The study Ratio­nal Ver­sus Intu­itive Problem-Solving: How Think­ing ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Can Stim­u­late Cre­ativ­ity pub­lished in Psy­chol­ogy of Aes­thet­ics, Cre­ativ­ity, and the Arts stung me out of a spot of intel­lec­tual arro­gance. From my per­spec­tive, John Dewey’s 19th cen­tury step-wise Read the rest of this entry »

New WHO Report: Global dementia cases expected to exceed 115 million by 2050

Descrip­tion: “The report “Demen­tia: a pub­lic health pri­or­ity” has been jointly devel­oped by WHO and Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Inter­na­tional. The pur­pose of this report is to raise aware­ness of demen­tia as a pub­lic health pri­or­ity, to artic­u­late a pub­lic health approach and to advo­cate for action at inter­na­tional and national levels.

Demen­tia is a syn­drome that affects mem­ory, think­ing, behav­iour and abil­ity to per­form every­day activ­i­ties. The num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing with demen­tia world­wide is cur­rently esti­mated at Read the rest of this entry »

Enhance Metacognition and Problem-Solving by Talking Out Loud to Yourself

The MC at the Uni­ver­sity of Michigan’s reunion din­ner encour­aged audi­ence mem­bers to reveal the most sig­nif­i­cant take-away from their under­grad­u­ate nurs­ing edu­ca­tion. The great­est ben­e­fit was quickly clear to me — problem-solving think­ing. Mem­ory pro­duced a mind video: a short, dark-haired, nurs­ing instruc­tor lec­tur­ing a small group of first year stu­dents in an empty patient room. “Don’t mem­o­rize the steps of ster­ile tech­nique. Use a problem-solving think­ing process.” She described the sequen­tial, cycli­cal process: define the prob­lem, gather infor­ma­tion, develop a solu­tion strat­egy, allo­cate resources, mon­i­tor progress, and eval­u­ate the solu­tion. Read the rest of this entry »

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