Dr. Ginger Campbell just published a nice podcast interview with our co-founder and chief scientific advisor Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, whom we also interviewed some months ago on brain improvement research and ideas.
The first half of the 30-minute interview is a bit technical, including a nice introduction to the field of neuropsychology as the convergence of neurology and psychology. It starts focusing on the role of lifelong learning and cognitive exercise at minute 15 or so. Some of the take-aways from the second half:
- Given that the brain’s right hemisphere seems more focused on dealing with novelty than the left one (more focused on pattern recognition based on pre-wired neural networks due to previous experiences), and that the right hemisphere typically declines first as we age…we need to ensure a good supply of novel challenges to maintain our brain, including the right hemisphere, sharp.
- The field of Cognitive Fitness is now emerging because Baby Boomers are more educated, proactive and computer-savvy than previous generations (as a broad generalization), and there is a growing awareness and concern about Alzheimer’s disease.
- There is a growing number of “legitimate” brain fitness programs, with different levels of quality and which train different areas. Which is why websites like SharpBrains act as clearinghouse for information and products.
- It is never too late to learn something new. We may not be able to become Mozart if we start playing the piano in our 60s…but who cares. What matters is the mental exercise and challenge of learning something new, what matters is the process, itself, not the resulting product.
- Even if learning anything new is good for our brains, well-designed brain exercise software programs can provide a more diverse and complete workout than we can get in our daily lives. It is a complement.
Dr. Campbell also asked some other good questions where we can offer some additional background here:
- On the link between depression and dementia: Depression, Stress and Dementia
- On how mental exercise may be more critical for neuron survival than for neuron creation: Neurogenesis and How Learning Saves Your Neurons
- On a new understanding of left vs. right hemispheres: Brain exercise: how is this possible?
You can also check Dr. Campbell’s previous podcast, The Wisdom of the Aging Brain, where she reviews Dr. Goldberg’s last book, The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older.
PS: if you are interested in a less technical overview of what we can do to nurture our brains, you can check our article on Ten Important Truths About Aging: