Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Teaser: how are Memory, Stress, Exercise, Brain Games, Stanford and Harvard connected?

Very inter­est­ing week for brain fit­ness-we have dif­fi­cul­ty in select­ing and adding val­ue to the superb arti­cles that fol­low, so let us sim­ply link to them and high­light 1–2 quotes for each:

Get Fit, Improve Mem­o­ry?

  • Three months of exer­cise was all it took for peo­ple with low lev­els of aer­o­bic fit­ness to increase blood flow to that part of their brain and improve their scores on mem­o­ry tests, the study shows. Addi­tion­al tests on mice show new brain cells grow­ing …

Stress ‘kills’ brain cells

  • If we can keep these new nerve cells alive, we might be able to fore­stall or pre­vent the types of depres­sive symp­toms that might nor­mal­ly occur,” he said in com­ments report­ed by the Reuters news agency.

BRAIN GAMES: Men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing activ­i­ties help seniors keep their minds sharp, in the Asbury Park Press, NJ

  • (quot­ing me) “We believe that the keys to suc­cess are pro­vid­ing nov­el­ty, vari­ety and and con­stant chal­lenge. It’s a fit­ness cen­ter for the brain. You can do Sudoku and cross­word puz­zles, of course. That’s help­ful. It’s like tak­ing a walk around the block. But a chal­leng­ing set of “brain exer­cis­es’ is like a work­out at a gym with a per­son­al train­er.”
  • Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg is the oth­er co-founder of Sharp­Brains. Elkhonon knows that Thomas Edi­son was fond of say­ing that most peo­ple will do any­thing to avoid the hard work of think­ing. He hopes to change that, he says.”

STANFORD Mag­a­zine: The Effort Effect. Accord­ing to Car­ol Dweck, a Stan­ford psy­chol­o­gist, you’ll reach new heights if you learn to embrace the occa­sion­al tum­ble.

  • The mas­tery-ori­ent­ed chil­dren are real­ly hell-bent on learn­ing some­thing,” Dweck says, and “learn­ing goals” inspire a dif­fer­ent chain of thoughts and behav­iors than “per­for­mance goals.”
  • Peo­ple with per­for­mance goals, she rea­soned, think intel­li­gence is fixed from birth. Peo­ple with learn­ing goals have a growth mind-set about intel­li­gence, believ­ing it can be devel­oped. (Among them­selves, psy­chol­o­gists call the growth mind-set an “incre­men­tal the­o­ry,” and use the term “enti­ty the­o­ry” for the fixed mind-set.) The mod­el was near­ly com­plete (see dia­gram).”

FT: Har­vard revamps cur­ricu­lum

  • We’re not try­ing to say that an edu­cat­ed man or woman needs to know this, that and the oth­er.
  • What we’re say­ing is that an edu­cat­ed per­son should have a cer­tain set of capac­i­ties: inter-pre­tive capac­i­ties, prob­lem-solv­ing capac­i­ties, reflec­tive capac­i­ties and crit­i­cal capac­i­ties to help them through the world,” she said.

In short: there is much that each of us can do to improve our brain fit­ness, no mat­ter our age, occu­pa­tion or start­ing point. There are some fun­da­men­tal capac­i­ties that we can train. And we have to care for good phys­i­cal exer­cise and stress man­age­ment on top of men­tal exer­cise.

Excit­ing times.

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3 Responses

  1. Nick says:

    So inter­est­ing! The mind is real­ly amaz­ing and nev­er ceas­es to amaze. With stress there are a lot of fresh ideas and new under­stand­ings on how it effects the mind and body. We just ran an issue-of-the-day on this so I thought I would leave the link for those inter­est­ed in “The Sci­ence of Stress,” could be help­ful! Thanks

    Cheers, Nick

  2. Susan says:

    Nice post. Per­son­al­ly I love brain teasers

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