Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Books on neuroplasticity and memory training

Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty: the brain’s abil­i­ty to reor­ga­nize itself by form­ing new con­nec­tions through­out life. (see more con­cepts in our Glos­sary).

We coud­n’t be hap­pi­er about the grow­ing num­ber of books pop­u­lar­iz­ing the key lessons about brain train­ing that Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg has been research­ing and writ­ing about for years, and that moti­vat­ed us to embark our­selves in the Sharp­Brains adven­ture.

Dis­cov­er Mag­a­zine presents a great arti­cle, Rewiring the Brain, review­ing two recent books.

  • The sub­ti­tle is “Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty can allow for treat­ment of senil­i­ty, post-trau­mat­ic stress, ­obses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der, and depres­sion and Bud­dhists have been cap­i­tal­iz­ing on it for mil­lenia.” I would add that the strong val­ue of life­long learn­ing present in jesuit and jew­ish tra­di­tions reflects the same wis­dom. Some quotes:
  • Two new books, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain (Bal­lan­tine Books, $24.95) by sci­ence jour­nal­ist Sharon Beg­ley and The Brain That Changes Itself (Viking, $24.95) by psy­chi­a­trist Nor­man Doidge, offer mas­ter­ful­ly guid­ed tours through the bur­geon­ing field of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty research. Each has its own style and empha­sis; both are excel­lent.”
  • Final­ly, both authors con­clude that adult neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty is a vast­ly under­tapped resource, one with which West­ern med­i­cine and psy­chol­o­gy are just now com­ing to grips. An impor­tant emerg­ing research agen­da is to fig­ure out ways to direct and max­i­mize this brain repair and reor­ga­ni­za­tion.”
  • Brain scans reveal that the neur­al activ­i­ty of high­ly trained monks is off the charts, rel­a­tive to med­i­ta­tion novices, in cir­cuits that involve mater­nal love (cau­date), empa­thy (right insu­la), and feel­ings of joy and hap­pi­ness (left pre­frontal cor­tex). Even when these monks are not med­i­tat­ing, their brains bear the imprints of their psy­chic work­outs. The lat­ter two struc­tures, for instance, are anatom­i­cal­ly enlarged. Based on results like these, Beg­ley holds out hope that our emo­tion­al lives and per­son­al­i­ties, far from being carved in stone by our genes and ear­ly expe­ri­ences, will prove as sculpt­able through men­tal train­ing as our bod­ies are through phys­i­cal train­ing.”

It these con­cepts and research don’t kick­start a rein­ven­tion of what we under­stand for “edu­ca­tion” and “health”, I don’t know what will. “Phys­i­cal train­ing”, in fact, includes train­ing our brains!.

Anoth­er great book a col­league just rec­om­mend­ed (thanks Kate!):

Carved in Sand: When Atten­tion Fails and Mem­o­ry Fades in Midlife, a first-per­son sto­ry by Cathryn Jakob­son Ramin, a jour­nal­ist and aging baby boomer (who isn’t “aging”, by the way) on how she improved her con­fi­dence, con­cen­tra­tion and mem­o­ry, com­bined with good sci­en­tif­ic back­ground.

For more con­text on this new under­stand­ing of the brain, check Mar­i­an Dia­mond and the Brain Rev­o­lu­tion.

Here you can find more good Books and Arti­cles.

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5 Responses

  1. I have just fin­ished the two books you have list­ed and they are great. I am inter­est­ed in this top­ic because I am a physcial ther­a­pist and a Feldenkrais prac­ti­tion­er and thought you might want to know about this event. The speak­er is the for­mer wife of Paul Bach y Rita who will relate how Feldenkrais and neu­ro­plsatic­i­ty are relat­ed. Check out the web­site for more info. or email me if you have any ques­tions, Sta­cy

  2. Alvaro says:

    Sta­cy, great you enjoyed them. Thanks for shar­ing that info.

  3. UDEH DOMINIC says:

    I need more info­ma­tion on brain training.Thanks.

  4. Alvaro says:

    Udeh: you have come to the right place. Just spend some time read­ing our arti­cles!

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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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