Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Hermann grid optical illusion, explained

In this image, do you see something other than black and white? Does it matter if you look directly at one of the black blocks, vs. at one of the intersections?

Hermann Grid

While there are really only black blocks and white spaces in the grid, the high contrast black and white areas fool the eyes into perceiving a gray circle at each intersection. The illusion results from Read the rest of this entry »

Tease your mind with visual illusions


This is one of the Winners of the 2014 Best Illusion of The Year Contest. Enjoy!

Explanation: Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Games and Optical Illusions @ National Geographic

optical illusion gamesSeveral SharpBrains friends recommend the recent 3-part National Geographic TV mini-series Brain Games focused on Perception, Attention and Memory. You can learn about the series and experiment a good number of visual illusions Here.

You may also enjoy this article on Visual Illusions in Art and Science, and these classic illusions from our own brain teaser library:
– The Muller-Lyer Illusion.
– Don’t try this with your partner, or you may fight.
– How many colors do you see in The Hermann Grid?
– This is less obvious than it may appear.
– Is this a circle or what?
– Are these 2 rows parallel?
– What do you see?

Update: Let’s move, slow down, innovate, think and play

You have heard that physical exercise is good for the brain. How much exercise are we talking about? Can the benefits be seen both for children and adults? In Fitter bodies = fitter brains. True at all ages? Dr. Pascale Michelon answers these questions for you, based on latest scientific studies.

We need fun ways to get out the couch more and exercise both physically and cognitively. What about setting up community-based adult playgrounds, such as this one in Beijing?

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New Brain Health Series

People of all ages read SharpBrains.com and this monthly update, so we are preparing a series of articles on Brain Health across the Lifespan. The series will include 4 parts:

  • The Child Brain, published in November 2010
  • The Adolescent Brain, in December 2010
  • The Adult Brain, in January 2011
  • The Aging Brain, in February 2011
  • Each part will include surprising facts on how the brain works, debunk commons myths about cognition and brain health, and link to resources such as books and documentaries. If you want to read these articles as we publish them via SharpBrains.com, you can follow us in Facebook and Twitter. Tell your friends and colleagues about the series!

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    Let’s Move

    Walking increases Brain Volume: A recent neuro-imaging study shows that walk­ing reg­u­larly can increase brain vol­ume and reduce the risks of devel­op­ing cog­ni­tive impairment.

    Move to another Country, to another Occupation: A couple recent studies reinforce the Cognitive Reserve framework that suggests we can protect our brains by speaking more than one language and by not retiring early.

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    Let’s Slow Down

    Take that Nap – It May Boost Your Learning Capacity: Scott Barry Kaufman tells us why sleep is good for the brain. It turns out that sleep is tied to a bet­ter immune sys­tem, meta­bolic con­trol, mem­ory, learn­ing, creativity and emo­tional func­tion­ing.

    Boost your Attention with Meditation: Another way to slow down is to meditate. Through summaries of studies and an interview with Dr. Newberg, we discuss how meditation can improve your concentration skills.

    Train your Brain to Focus on Positive Experiences: In this article by the Greater Good Magazine, Rick Hanson explains the “negativity bias” of the brain and what steps we can take to rewire our brains for last­ing hap­pi­ness.

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    Let’s Innovate

    If much health care is actually evidence-free, what type of evidence and tools do we need to make real-world progress?: building on a recent OpEd by Peter Orszag, Alvaro Fernandez asks us to assess the value and limitations of innovative brain health tools based on how they seem to perform compared to existing alternatives- not compared to Platonic research ideals. This basic concept serves as the foundation of the new SharpBrains Council for Brain Fitness Innovation.

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    Let’s Think

    Cognitive stimulation helps Alzheimer’s patients: Another scientific review shows that pro­grams focus­ing on global cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease by 5 years. The authors conclude that efforts to develop and imple­ment cognitive-based inter­ven­tion for the treat­ment of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease must be pur­sued.

    The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: In his new book, Dr. Gary Small describes how the onset of brain health problems may resemble a brain fog, making the role of the physician and the caregiver particularly important.

    Have you read The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg?: if so, please take 5 minutes to answer this brief survey. Your feedback will ensure that future editions are even more relevant and valuable. If you haven’t read it yet, you can learn more and order here.

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    Let’s Play: Top 10 Illusions

    Are you ready to experience our selection of Visual Illusions? See if you can trust your brain…enjoy these Top 10 Visual Illusions..

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    Top 10 Brain Teasers and Games, with a neuroscience angle

    No matter what we are reading or doing, there is always the need to take a little break and challenge our minds (and to learn a bit about how our brains work). Here you have a selection of the 10 Brain Teasers that people have enjoyed most in this site.

    1. Do you think you know the colors?: the Stroop Test

    2. Can you count?: Basketball attention experiment

    3. Planning is not that easy: Towers of Hanoi

    4. Interactive visual illusion: the Muller-Lyer Illusion

    5. Who is this?: A very important little guy

    5. How many…: Train your Frontal and Parietal lobes

    6. What’s the missing number: Pattern Recognition Brain Teaser

    7. Who’s the eldest?: Reasoning Skills Brain Teaser

    8. Brain Puzzle for the Whole Brain: The Blind Beggar

    9. Is a circle a circle?: Visual Perception Brain Teaser

    10. How is this possible?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    2007 New Year Resolution: Carnival of Brain Fitness

    Happy 2007 to everyone!

    We have just formulated our New Year Resolution: make 2007 the year when brain plasticity and Brain Fitness became mainstream concepts.

    How do we start? well, let’s announce the launch of the Carnival of Brain Fitness (a Blog Carnival is basically the vehicle that blogs use to share posts around specific topics).

    Goal: to facilitate a dialogue about this emerging field across multiple perspectives, from scientists and health professionals, to education and training ones, to basically everyone who has conducted an experiment on his on her brain and mind, and has news to report.

    Context: The scientific foundations lie in neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, cognitive training and stress management. Medical and health applications range from stroke and TBI rehabilitation to ADD/ADHD and early Alzheimer’s to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and cognitive therapy. Educational and training applications go from helping kids improve reading abilities to helping manage stress and anxiety – including work with the “mental game” in sports and high-demand activities pr professions. Each of us may also have experiences to report, where we saw first hand, no matter our age, our innate ability to refine and transform ourselves (and our brains).

    Mechanics: If you’d like to contribute, Read the rest of this entry »

    The Hermann Grid Visual Illusion

    How many colors do you see in this image?

    Hermann Grid

    Read the rest of this entry »

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