Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Fitness Update: Use It and Improve It

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In this edition of our newsletter we bring a few articles and recent news pieces that shed light on what “Use It or Lose It” means, and why we can start going beyond that to say “Use It and Improve It.”

The Neuron, The Brain, and Thinking Smarter

New Neurons: Good News, Bad News: Dr. Bill Klemm, a professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, summarizes the research on how new neurons are born and what they need to live long happy lives.

Interviews with 16 Leading Scientists: Compilation of interviews with prominent neuroscientists and psychologists conducted by SharpBrains over the past year. “Use It and Improve It” not only applies to the neuron unit, but also to a variety of cognitive and emotional skills, as you will discover in these interviews.

The Science of Thinking Smarter: Harvard Business Review publishes a great interview with biologist John Medina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.

Brain and Research News

Cognitive News RoundUp: articles covering epigenetics (how our environments and experiences can contribute to turning genes on or off, thereby putting in better context genetic influences), mental problems among returning veterans, and the cognitive effects of medications and aging.

Memory Training and Fluid Intelligence: according to a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the “researchers did not find the upper-limit for improvement, suggesting that more training could yield even better mental performance gains.” Which shows how well-directed brain exercise can work, and not only for people with aging or disease-specific problems.

Working Memory Training for Adults: Dr. David Rabiner discusses the initial results, presented in the April 2008 Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting, of a controlled trial of working memory training conducted with 55 younger (20-30 years old) and 45 older (60-70 years old) adults. Similar results to the ones reported above, and more durable. We are looking forward to seeing when and where the study will be published.

Pump up those little grey cells: great article in the UK’s Sunday Times listing a variety of free or inexpensive brain health-related resources.


Peace Among Primates (Part 3): “Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves”, concludes neuroscientist Dr. Robert Sapolsky in his third and final installment in this series.

Brain Teasers

Challenge Your Attention: count the TOTAL number of times that the basketballs change hands? If you haven’t done this experiment before, please try it…you’ll be amazed.

Your Haiku, Please?: feel free to share your research suggestions, in haiku form.

Stimulating times. Have a great day!

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.