The Executive Brain and How our Minds Can Grow Stronger

Last week I had the plea­sure to meet with our sci­en­tif­ic advi­sor Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, renowned neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist and author of The Exec­u­tive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civ­i­lized Mind and The Wis­dom Para­dox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older 

Let me sum­ma­rize some of the key over­all research find­ings out­lined in the books:

-  Our brains enjoy Life­long Brain Plas­tic­i­ty: until recent­ly, a pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tion was that  neu­rons die through life and do not get replen­ished. Now, neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, or the abil­i­ty of our brains to cre­ate new neu­rons until the very day we die, is proven.

- Intense men­tal chal­lenges pro­vide extra resis­tance to age­ing and improve pat­tern recog­ni­tion and brain “effi­cien­cy”, this is, the abil­i­ty to take on sim­i­lar chal­lenges with reduced meta­bol­i­cal demands

- Our men­tal activ­i­ty influ­ences the gen­er­a­tion of neu­rons and where they go. The func­tion­al capac­i­ty of our neur­al net­works depends on the num­ber of neu­rons and their con­nec­tions-both short and long

- Exer­cis­ing our brains is as impor­tant as exer­cis­ing our bod­ies. “Use it or lose it” came from ath­let­ics to brain sci­ence. Even bet­ter, now we know that“Use it and get more of it.

-  The path­ways that con­nect the frontal lobes with the rest of the brain are slow to mature, reach­ing full oper­a­tional state, and there­fore social matu­ri­ty, between the ages of 18 and 30.

- Inten­sive neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based pro­grams can pro­duce good results in as short as 3 months if well-targeted.

- The rate of devel­op­ment of new neu­rons can be influ­enced by phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive activities.


  1. Jesula Compere on September 23, 2006 at 1:17

    I would need to get a phone num­ber for more information.

  2. Alvaro on September 25, 2006 at 10:49

    Jesu­la, I will con­tact you. Thanks for reach­ing to us.

  3. mei on October 13, 2006 at 8:00

    just inter­est­ed to know what kind of brain exer­cis­es are being used.

  4. Alvaro on October 13, 2006 at 5:51

    Hi Mei,

    A com­bi­na­tion of best com­mer­cial­ly and clin­i­cal­ly avail­able pack­ages, with spe­cif­ic exer­cis­es select­ed for each patient accord­ing to his/ her needs and Dr. Gold­berg and team’s judgement.

  5. armand l martin OD on November 26, 2006 at 4:21

    do cur­rent stud­ies sup­port the idea that short term mem­o­ry can be improved? alm

  6. Alvaro on November 26, 2006 at 4:31

    Armand, the tech­ni­cal word these days is “work­ing mem­o­ry”, and, yes, there is evi­dence that it can be improved through well-tar­get­ed, inten­sive, com­put­er-based training. 

    See this inter­view with Dr. Torkel Klingberg

  7. Blogs, news and more! on January 10, 2007 at 6:48

    very nice blog!mary

  8. Caroline on January 10, 2007 at 6:57

    Thanks Mary!

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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