Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Health/ Brain Training News

Brain Health NewsRoundup of interesting news in this emerging field:

1) Brain Health Leaders Team Up to Prevent Crashes.

2) Adults Improve Critical Professional and Personal Skills Through New Cognitive Training Program.

3) Nature Neuroscience Podcast and London Taxi Drivers.

4) What Have You Changed Your Mind About, lately?.

5) The 2008 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute starts accepting applications.

6) The Mind & Life Institute has announced the 2007 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients.

1) Brain Health Leaders Team Up to Prevent Crashes. Quotes:

– Posit Science “has acquired Visual Awareness, Inc., developer of the UFOV(R) assessment and cognitive speed of processing programs.” (Note: Visual Awareness’ program was one of the cognitive interventions used in the ACTIVE trial.)

– “UFOV(R) speed of processing training will become a key component of Posit Science’s visual training program that will be released in early 2008.”

Comment: Given that Posit Science has spent over a year developing a visual processing speed program to complement its existing auditory one, it will be interesting to see how they will integrate 2 separate visual training programs. Please keep tuned: we will soon be publishing an interview with Dr. Karlene Ball, co-Founder of Visual Awareness, and Dr. Jerri Edwards, a collaborator in several published studies.

2) Adults Improve Critical Professional and Personal Skills Through New Cognitive Training Program

– Cogmed “has launched Cogmed QM, a new working memory training program designed especially for adults struggling with inattention due to impaired working memory.”

– “Cogmed’s programs are based on peer reviewed research conducted at Sweden’s renowned Karolinska Institute, which proved that working memory–the ability to keep information in mind for brief periods of time–could be improved through intense, focused training.”

Comment: The program will only be offered through a network of clinical providers, not directly to the consumer, which probably means the cost will be a major obstacle to wider adoption.

3) Nature Neuroscience Podcast and London Taxi Drivers

– “The study found that the size of the hippocampus correlated with the length of time being a taxi driver, suggesting that the extensive training and navigational experience may change and develop the hippocampus.”

Comment: great post and podcast outlining the famous research done on London cab drivers.

4) What Have You Changed Your Mind About, lately?

– “Online chin-scratching club Edge have asked their annual question. This year’s it’s “What have you changed your mind about?” and the respondents include a number of cognitive scientists or people thinking about mind and brain issues.”

– “We’ve listed the psychology and neuroscience-related answers below if you want to cut to the chase (and fixed a few broken links from the original website along the way).”

Comment: enjoy Mind Hacks’ selection and, more importantly, ask yourself: “What Have You Changed Your Mind About, lately?”

5) The 2008 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute starts accepting applications.

– “The purpose of the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute is to advance collaborative research among behavioral scientists, neuroscientists, and biomedical researchers based on a process of inquiry, dialogue, and in some cases, collaboration, with Buddhist contemplative practitioners and scholars and those in other contemplative traditions.”

– “The 2008 Summer Research Institute will be devoted to the theme of attention and emotion regulation. It will bring together researchers in basic science, clinical science, contemplative scholarship and philosophy, and contemplative practice to investigate the relation between attentional processes and emotional self-regulation.” – “In recent years, emotional self-regulation and attention have emerged as central themes in psychology (clinical and developmental) and neuroscience (affective and cognitive), yet little work has been done to link findings about attention in cognitive psychology and neuroscience to findings about emotional self-regulation in clinical and developmental psychology and affective neuroscience. This gap reflects a longstanding separation of cognition and emotion in the brain and cognitive sciences — one that has become increasingly untenable.”

Comment: the more research-based tools for brain health and training, the better. The Mind & Life Institute is doing a great job at building bridges between neuroscientists and meditators, and we are happy to see the focus on 2 critical areas: the training of attention and emotional self-regulation.

6) Finally, The Mind & Life Institute has announced the 2007 Francisco J. Varela Research Award Recipients (list below, couldn’t find any place online to link to).

    – Joanna Arch, M.A., C.Phil., Different Approaches to Emotion Regulation: MBSR and CBT in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders; Lab of Michelle Craske, Ph.D., UCLA Anxiety Disorders Behavioral Research Program, Dept. of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles

    – Jennifer Daubenmier, Ph.D., Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Cell Aging Processes; Lab of Elissa Epel, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco

    – Eric Garland, MSW, LCSW, Biopsychosocial Assessment of a Mindfulness-Oriented Treatment of Alcohol Dependence, Lab of Susan Gaylord, Ph.D., Director, Program on Integrative Medicine, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

    – Joshua Grant, B.Sc. (Ph.D. in progress), Meditation and Real-time fMRI Training for the Cultivation of Compassion; Lab of Pierre Rainville, Ph.D., Physiology Dept., University of Montreal and the Institute of Geriatric  Functional Neuroimaging Unit

    – Teresa Hawkes, B.F.A., A Randomized Controlled Single-Blinded Pilot Trial to Compare Effects of Concentrative Sitting Meditation to Moving Meditation (Tai Chi) Training on Attentional Network Efficiency; Lab of  Marjorie Woollacott, Ph.D., University of Oregon Department of Human Physiology

    – Britta Hoelzel, Ph.D., Does Mindfulness Training Change the Processing of Social Threat?; Lab of Sara Lazar, Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

    – Elizabeth Hoge, M.D., Neuropeptide Levels in Meditation, Lab of Mark Pollack, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, General Clinical Research Center, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorder

    – Michael Hove, M.A., The Dissolution of Self During Rhythmic Motor Behavior, Labs of Prof. Michael Spivey, Ph.D., Cornell University and Prof. Ed Large, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic Universtiy

    – Kristen Jastrowski Mano, Ph.D., Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the Treatment of Pediatric Chronic Pain, Lab of Dr. Steven Weisman, MD and W. Hobart Davies, PhD, Jane B. Pettit Pain and Palliative Care Center, Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin

    – Anthony King, Ph.D., Efficacy of a 16 week Mindfulness-based Group for Combat PTSD in Recruiting Veterans, and Pilot Effects on Threat Detection and Emotion Regulation Neurocircuitry, Lab of Israel Liberzon, MD (Chief of Psychiatry, Ann Arbor VA), PTSD Clinic director: Nicholas Giardino, Ph.D., Ann Arbor VA Psychiatry Service Clinical research Laboratory, Ann Arbor VA PTSD Clinic, Israel Liberzon, MD biopsychology laboratory, University of Michigan fMRI Center

    – Zev Rosen, B.A., Neural Effects of Mindfulness Training on Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder, Lab of Professor Amishi Jha, Ph.D., Attention and Memory Lab at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania

    – Baljinder Sahdra, Ph.D., Measurement and Correlates of Non-attachment, Lab of Dr. Phillip R. Shaver, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis

    – Laura Van Wielingen, M.Sc., How does Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Improve Psychological Functioning for Cancer Patients?, Lab of  Linda E. Carlson, Ph.D., C.Psych., Associate Professor, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Holy Cross Site, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    – Anna-leila Williams, PA-C, MPH, Development and Testing of Determinants of Meditation Practice, Lab of Ruth McCorkle, PhD, FAAN, F.S. Wald Professor, Director, Center for Excellence in Chronic Illness Care, Yale University School of Nursing

    – Fadel Zeidan, M.A., The Influence of Meditative Experience on Pain Perception, Lab of Dr. Nakia Gordon, University of North Carolina-Charlotte Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University

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4 Responses

  1. 4mind4life says:

    Interesting site you’ve got going!

  2. research in 2008 will have new character

  3. Alvaro says:

    Thank you for dropping by!

  4. Matthew says:

    I like all the meditation/science linkages going on. It would be nice if we could bring some of that into the education system!


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