Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Research Interview Series

We are work­ing on improv­ing sev­er­al sec­tions of our web­site, espe­cial­ly our Resources sec­tion. It will look much bet­ter in a few days. Our first step has been to re-orga­nize our Neu­ro­science Inter­view Series, and below you have how it looks today.

Dur­ing the last 18 months I have had the for­tune to inter­view over 15 cut­ting-edge neu­ro­sci­en­tists and cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gists on their research and thoughts. Here are some of our favorite quotes (you can read the full inter­view notes by click­ing on the links):

James Zull “Learn­ing is phys­i­cal. Learn­ing means the mod­i­fi­ca­tion, growth, and prun­ing of our neu­rons, con­nec­tions called synaps­es and neu­ronal net­works, through experience…When we do so, we are cul­ti­vat­ing our own neu­ronal net­works. We become our own gar­den­ers- Dr. James Zull, Pro­fes­sor of Biol­o­gy and Bio­chem­istry at Case West­ern Uni­ver­si­ty.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg “Exer­cis­ing our brains sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly is as impor­tant as exer­cis­ing our bod­ies. In my expe­ri­ence, “Use it or lose it” should real­ly be “Use it and get more of it”.- Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy at New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, and dis­ci­ple of the great neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Alexan­der Luria.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Judith Beck “Today, thanks to fMRI and oth­er neu­roimag­ing tech­niques, we are start­ing to under­stand the impact our actions can have on spe­cif­ic parts of the brain.”- Dr. Judith S. Beck, Direc­tor of the Beck Insti­tute for Cog­ni­tive Ther­a­py and Research, and author of The Beck Diet Solu­tion: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son.
Full Inter­view Notes.

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Picture of Daniel Gopher “What research has shown is that cog­ni­tion, or what we call think­ing and per­for­mance, is real­ly a set of skills that we can train sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly. And that com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ers or “cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tions are the most effec­tive and effi­cient way to do so. — Dr. Daniel Gopher, Direc­tor of the Research Cen­ter for Work Safe­ty and Human Engi­neer­ing at Tech­nion Insti­tute of Sci­ence.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Yaakov Stern “Indi­vid­u­als who lead men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing lives, through edu­ca­tion, occu­pa­tion and leisure activ­i­ties, have reduced risk of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s symp­toms. Stud­ies sug­gest that they have 35–40% less risk of man­i­fest­ing the dis­ease- Dr. Yaakov Stern, Divi­sion Leader of the Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Divi­sion of the Sergievsky Cen­ter at the Col­lege of Physi­cians and Sur­geons of Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, New York.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Go Hirano “It is hard­ly deni­able that brains enchant Japan­ese peo­ple. We love brain train­ing. Dentsu, the biggest adver­tis­ing agency, announced the No.1 Con­sumer-cho­sen 2006 Prod­uct was game soft­ware and books for brain train­ing.”- Go Hira­no, Japan­ese exec­u­tive, founder of NeuWell.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Picture of Brett Steenbarger “Elite per­form­ers are dis­tin­guished by the struc­tur­ing of their learn­ing process. It is impor­tant to under­stand the role of emo­tions: they are not “bad”. They are very use­ful sig­nals. It is impor­tant to become aware of them to avoid being engulfed by them, and learn how to man­age them. — Dr. Brett Steen­barg­er, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try and Behav­ioral Sci­ences, SUNY Med­ical Uni­ver­si­ty, and author of Enhanc­ing Trad­er Per­for­mance.
Full Inter­view Notes.
torkel_s.jpg “We have shown that work­ing mem­o­ry can be improved by train­ing…I think that we are see­ing the begin­ning of a new era of com­put­er­ized train­ing for a wide range of appli­ca­tions.  Dr. Torkel Kling­berg, Direc­tor of the Devel­op­men­tal Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Lab at Karolin­s­ka Insti­tute.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Bradley S. Gibson, Ph.D. Train­ing is very impor­tant: atten­tion­al con­trol is one of the last cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties to devel­op in nor­mal brain development…I can eas­i­ly see the rel­e­vance in 2 fields. One, pro­fes­sion­al sports. Two, mil­i­tary train­ing. Pro­fes­sor Bradley Gib­son is the Direc­tor of the Per­cep­tion and Atten­tion Lab at Uni­ver­si­ty of Notre Dame.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Arthur Lavin I don’t see that schools are apply­ing the best knowl­edge of how minds work. Schools should be the best place for applied neu­ro­science, tak­ing the lat­est advances in cog­ni­tive research and apply­ing it to the job of edu­cat­ing minds. — Dr. Arthur Lavin, Asso­ciate Clin­i­cal Pro­fes­sor of Pedi­atrics at Case West­ern School of Med­i­cine, pedi­a­tri­cian in pri­vate prac­tice.
Full Inter­view Notes.
David Rabiner “Cog­ni­tive train­ing rests on sol­id premis­es, and some pro­grams already have very promis­ing research results. Some of the most are promis­ing areas are: neu­ro­feed­back, which as a whole is start­ing to present good research results, and work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing. — Pro­fes­sor David Rabin­er, Senior Research Sci­en­tist and the Direc­tor of Psy­chol­o­gy and Neu­ro­science Under­grad­u­ate Stud­ies at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Robert Emmons Thanks “The prac­tice of grat­i­tude can increase hap­pi­ness lev­els by around 25%, and this is not hard to achieve — a few hours writ­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal over 3 weeks can cre­ate an effect that lasts 6 months if not more.” — Pro­fes­sor Robert Emmons, Edi­tor-In-Chief of the Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy and Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­o­gy at UC Davis.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Elizabeth Zelinski IMPACT “What was very sur­pris­ing was that there was also a clear ben­e­fit in audi­to­ry mem­o­ry, which wasn’t direct­ly trained. In oth­er words, peo­ple who were 75-years-old per­formed audi­to­ry mem­o­ry tasks as well as aver­age 65-year-olds, so we can say they reversed 10 years of aging for that cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty.” — Dr. Liz Zelin­s­ki, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Andrus Geron­tol­ogy Cen­ter.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Robert Sylwester “Par­ent­ing, men­tor­ing, teach­ing, and mass media are exam­ples of the cul­tur­al sys­tems that humans have devel­oped to help young peo­ple mas­ter the knowl­edge and skills they need to sur­vive and thrive in com­plex envi­ron­ments.” — Dr. Robert Syl­west­er, author of The Ado­les­cent Brain: Reach­ing for Auton­o­my and Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of Edu­ca­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon
Full Inter­view Notes.
“I would say that a cross­word puz­zle is not a form of cog­ni­tive train­ing. It can be stim­u­lat­ing, but it is not a form of struc­tured men­tal exer­cise that has been shown to improve spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skills.” — Dr. Jer­ri Edwards, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at Uni­ver­si­ty of South Florida’s School of Aging Stud­ies and Co-Inves­ti­ga­tor of the influ­en­cial ACTIVE study.
Full Inter­view Notes.
Eric Jensen Learning and the Brain “It seems clear that there are impor­tant skills that can be trained, that make for a bet­ter and more suc­cess­ful human being — such as the abil­i­ty to defer grat­i­fi­ca­tion, sequenc­ing, emo­tion­al intel­li­gence, improved work­ing mem­o­ry, vocab­u­lary, and pro­cess­ing skills. How­ev­er, the type of assess­ments used today to mea­sure schools’ per­for­mance don’t focus on these.” -Eric Jensen, founder of Learn­ing Brain Expo.
Full Inter­view Notes.

Please remem­ber that you can down­load a Whitepa­per Here, based on eleven of these inter­views.

Have an stim­u­lat­ing read…and feel free to sug­gest who else we should add to our list of future inter­vie­wees.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness, Neuroscience Interview Series

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