Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Ten Habits of a Sharp Brain

As our final article for 2011, let us repurpose one of SharpBrains’ most popular blog posts since 2006. It may give you a few pointers to sharpen those New Years Resolutions. Let’s summarize some lifestyle guidelines we can all follow to enhance and maintain a sharp brain through life...

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
  3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis.
  4. Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you Read the rest of this entry »

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains – Time for Brain Fitness Resolutions?

Given many of us are starting to prepare New Year Resolutions, let’s revisit one of SharpBrains’ most popular-ever articles that can help us all refine our Brain Fitness Resolutions

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training Market Talk, at MIT/ BoomerTech Series

We’ll have an exciting session in Palo Alto on October 6th, as part of the BoomerTech series organized by the MIT Club and SmartSilvers. Let me share the details now.

Fact or Fad: Who is Shaping the Brain Fitness Market?
Description: Lots of buzz … Perhaps you think that “Senior Moments” are an inevitable part of aging. MIT Club Northern CaliforniaBut research shows you may be able to keep your brain young and fit the same way you do your body, with exercise and training. With the success of Nintendo’s Brain Age, Posit Science and dozens of new software programs and games that promise “brain fitness”, the real question is: “Are we experiencing a fad, or an emerging new consumer market?”

Join our speaker, Alvaro Fernandez, author of the new book, The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness, and our expert panel to discuss:

* What are the top products on the market today?
* Can the emerging field of Brain fitness improve your job performance?
* How will consumers make informed decisions on what to buy and use?
* What are the emerging trends to leverage for entrepreneurs to jump into the marketplace?

Click Here to Register

Speaker, Panelist & Moderator

Alvaro Fernandez, SharpBrains — Alvaro is co-founder and CEO of SharpBrains, a leading market research firm that tracks the market and research for cognitive assessments, training, and games. A member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils, he has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and more, and recently co-authored the book, The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp. Alvaro received masters’ degrees in education and business from Stanford University, and teaches at UC-Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Panelists

Roger Quy, General Partner, Technology Partners — Roger has been responsible for the life science practice of Technology Partners since 1989. He specializes in neurotechnology, investing in both biopharma and medical device companies. Roger began his career at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London where he was a Research Fellow for the British Medical Research Council. He developed and commercialized techniques for monitoring the brains of ambulatory patients. He contributed to a textbook on epilepsy and holds eight patents. Roger earned a BA with honors in psychology and law and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Keele, England. He received an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jan Zivic, Founder, Vibrant Brains — Jan’s interest in Brain Fitness is very personal. She suffered a traumatic brain injury after an automobile accident several years ago, and experienced the concept of neuroplasticity first-hand as she rehabilitated from not being able to walk or think rationally to restoring much of her previous function.

Jan has served in a variety of leadership roles including: the Board of Directors of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where she currently serves as President of the Board, the Library Commission of SF, the California Executive Recruiters Association (its first female President), the Katherine Delmar Burke Independent School, and The Family Services Agency of SF – President of the Board. Jan was recognized as The SF Cable Car Awards “Woman of the Year,” and later as the recipient of the Maya Angelou Community Leadership Award, from the University of California, San Francisco Medical School’s Center Of Excellence.

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time:

* 6:00PM Registration, Hors d’oeuvres and Networking
* 7:00PM Presentation and Panel Discussion

Cost:

* $20.00 in advance on the website
* $25.00 Walk-ins at the door (cash or check please, no credit cards accepted at door)

Contact:

Michael Sarfatti
tel 415-885-2293
sarfatti@alum.mit.edu

Location:

Wilson Sonsini
950 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Click Here to Register

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

Brain5Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can all follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains.

  • 1. Learn more about the “It” in “Use It or Lose It“. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  • 2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumesgood brain food over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
  • 3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis, at any age!
  • 4. Practice positive, action-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you look forward to creating something beautiful every new day. Too much stress and anxiety–either induced by external events or by your own thoughts–actually kills neurons and prevent the creation of new ones. physical exercise for brain health
  • 5. Thrive on Learning and Mental Challenges. The point of having a brain is precisely to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Once new neurons appear in your brain, where they migrate and how long they survive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do crossword puzzle number 1,234,567”. It means, “challenge your brain, and often, with novel activities”.
  • 6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organisms in this planet. Aim high. Once you graduate from college, keep learning. Once you become too comfortable in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps developing ALWAYS, reflecting what you do with it.
  • 7. Explore, travel. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.
  • 8. Don’t Outsource Your Brain. Not to media personalities, not to politicians, not to your smart neighbour… Make your own decisions, and mistakes. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbour’s.
  • 9. Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. We are social animals, and need social interaction. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Einstein’ or all those educational apps have been shown not to be the panacea for children development.
  • 10. Laugh. Often. Especially to cognitively complex humor, full of twists and surprises. Better, try to become the next Jon Stewart

Now, remember that what counts is not reading this article–or any other– but practicing a bit every day until small steps snowball into unstoppable, internalized habits…”cells that fire together wire together”…so, start improving one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed your attention, and make a decision to try something different today and tomorrow.

SharpBrainsGuide_3D–> To learn more about what you can do, check out The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age.

Stress Management Workshop for International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day 2007.

Global consulting company Accenture organized a series of events, and I was fortunate to lead a fun workshop on The Neuroscience of Stress and Stress Management in their San Francisco office, helping over 125 accomplished women (and a few men) learn what stress is, its implications for our brain functioning, performance and health, and of course some tips and techniques to develop our “stress management” muscles. It was an honor to be able to wrap up a great event that included District Attorney Kamala D. Harris, two of the co-authors of This is Not the Life I Ordered, a video by Senator Dianne Feinstein, and some great Accenture women.

We discussed how stress is the emotional and physiological reaction to a threat, whether real or imagined, that results in a series of adaptations by our bodies. And how stress management can bring a variety of benefits: sustained peak performance, cognitive flexibility, memory, decision making, and even longevity.
You can see a very interesting example of the relationship between attention, memory and stress with this experiment: Attention and working memory

Let me share some key take-aways from the workshop, together with some exercises we used to illustrate key points:

1) Stress can be a major roadblock for peak performance and health
2) Some tips and techniques to better manage stress:
a) Pick your battles Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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