Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Smart Brains, Sharp Brain… new research on maintaining one

There has been a lot of recent buzz about brain fit­ness. A New York Times edi­to­r­i­al print­ed today states:

When test­ed five years lat­er, these par­tic­i­pants [in a cog­ni­tive train­ing study] had less of a decline in the skill they were trained in than did a con­trol group that received no cog­ni­tive train­ing. The pay­off from men­tal exer­cise seemed far greater than we are accus­tomed to get­ting for phys­i­cal exer­cise — as if 10 work­outs at the gym were enough to keep you fit five years lat­er.


If fur­ther stud­ies show that men­tal exer­cis­es can improve every­day func­tion­ing, doc­tors may need to pre­scribe such train­ing, senior cen­ters may want to set up “brain gyms,” and aging Amer­i­cans would be wise to do brain-stretch­ing activ­i­ties. For this pur­pose, even the Medicare pre­scrip­tion drug pro­gram, which crit­ics deem too con­fus­ing for many old­er peo­ple to nav­i­gate, could prove an unex­pect­ed bless­ing. Spend 10 hours mas­ter­ing its intri­ca­cies today and you could be a lot sharp­er than your com­pa­tri­ots five years from now.

To read the com­plete, orig­i­nal study pub­lished in JAMA, read The Ben­e­fits of Brain Exercises/Brain Fit­ness.

IHRSA, the Inter­na­tion­al Health, Rac­quet & Sports­club Asso­ci­a­tion, print­ed this arti­cle on men­tal mus­cles with sug­ges­tions on how to add brain work­outs to your tra­di­tion­al phys­i­cal work­outs. Essen­tial­ly, humans need both phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise for good brain health.

Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can also wrote an arti­cle on Brain Gain: Men­tal Exer­cise Makes Elder­ly Minds More Fit. One of the study co-authors is quot­ed as say­ing

To dri­ve this effect, you have to prac­tice things that you don’t like or things you don’t reg­u­lar­ly prac­tice,” Mar­siske says. “We hope to find ways of mak­ing these train­ing pro­grams more wide­ly avail­able to peo­ple and begin to encour­age some­thing more like men­tal exer­cise.”

As we have men­tioned before when talk­ing about key ingre­di­ents for a brain fit­ness pro­gram, you need: nov­el­ty, vari­ety, and stretch­ing prac­tice (increas­ing chal­lenge over time). Com­put­er­ized pro­grams do the best job of reli­ably meet­ing these cri­te­ria, but doing any­thing is bet­ter than doing noth­ing!

If you are still uncer­tain as to what is Brain Fit­ness, then feel free to down­load a com­pli­men­ta­ry copy of our new­ly released Brain Fit­ness for Sharp Brains: Your New New Year Res­o­lu­tion. We wrote this guide as a plain Eng­lish intro­duc­tion to the con­cept, sci­ence, and prac­tice of brain fit­ness by answer­ing 25 ques­tions we have received over the last four months.

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  1. bala says:

    it is a very good arti­cle ‑thanks

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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