Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Wellness Coaching for Brain Health and Fitness

We just received this quote of how a major health sys­tem is using our Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket Report:

At Sut­ter Health Part­ners we rec­og­nize the impor­tance of brain health and how much the health of the brain and the body are inter­de­pen­dent.  The mar­ket report helped us fur­ther tar­get our coach­ing efforts to inte­grate brain fit­ness and upgrade our entire coach­ing plat­form.  It is easy to read and gives you the indus­try per­spec­tive in a thor­ough yet con­cise man­ner.  I high­ly rec­om­mend it!”

– Mar­garet Sabin, CEO of Sut­ter Health Part­ners and VP, New Prod­uct Devel­op­ment, at Sut­ter Health.

You may won­der, “what is the link between  well­ness coach­ing and brain fit­ness”?

In prac­tice, good health and well­ness coach­es pro­vide excel­lent brain health advice, giv­en that the areas they focus on (nutri­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise, stress man­age­ment) do play an impor­tant role in main­tain­ing our brains in top shape.

Addi­tion­al­ly, pio­neers  such as Sut­ter Health Part­ners are adding a Brain “lens” to their work. How?

First, by bet­ter under­stand­ing and explain­ing the brain ben­e­fits of what they already do, in order to pro­vide addi­tion­al moti­va­tion to stick with healthy behav­iors. For exam­ple, most peo­ple will be able to recite mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits of mod­er­ate car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cise. But how many know  that it can also con­tribute to neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis ‑the cre­ation of new neu­rons — in adult brains?

Sec­ond, by start­ing to offer brain fit­ness guide­lines to clients who want too go beyond cross­word puz­zles and sudoku.

I had a great train­ing ses­sion with a num­ber of Sut­ter Health coach­es last week — let me sum­ma­rize some of the main points we cov­ered.

What is Brain Fit­ness?

The gen­er­al state of feel­ing alert, in con­trol, pro­duc­tive, espe­cial­ly as the result of men­tal and phys­i­cal exer­cise and prop­er nutri­tion. Hav­ing the men­tal abil­i­ties required to func­tion in soci­ety, in our occu­pa­tions, in our com­mu­ni­ties. It is not about “IQ”. It is about skills such as atten­tion, mem­o­ry, emo­tion­al self-reg­u­la­tion, plan­ning, man­ag­ing dis­trac­tions…

Can Brain Fit­ness be mea­sured today?

Yes, but, today, only by neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists and med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. We expect to see cheap­er and wide­ly avail­able assess­ments (per­haps via a 30–40 minute set of online assess­ments) over the next few years, thanks to the work under­way to make qual­i­ty com­put­er-based assess­ments avail­able to a grow­ing num­ber of clin­i­cians, insur­ance com­pa­nies, sports teams and the mil­i­tary.

What is the research back­ground that explains the emer­gence of the brain fit­ness field?

1- New par­a­digm in brain research: today it is clear that the brain retains a life­long capac­i­ty to change respond­ing to expe­ri­ence (neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty), paving the way for lifestyle-based inter­ven­tions.
2- Neu­roimag­ing tools such as fMRI enable, for the first time i his­to­ry, the sci­en­tif­ic explo­ration of the live brain.
3- The brain has a core set of brain func­tions-or “men­tal mus­cles”. Our vocab­u­lary must expand beyond “mem­o­ry” and  “intel­li­gence” if we are to help move “Use It or Lose It” from the­o­ry to prac­tice.
4. Some brain func­tions improve as we age – oth­ers typ­i­cal­ly decline. And there is major vari­abil­i­ty among groups of indi­vid­u­als.
5- The four “pil­lars” of brain health: bal­anced nutri­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise, stress man­age­ment and brain exer­cise.
6- Cross-train­ing the brain builds up the Brain Reserve.
7. Well-direct­ed men­tal exer­cise (med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive ther­a­py, soft­ware-based pro­grams) can be effec­tive to train spe­cif­ic skills and pro­vide need­ed men­tal stim­u­la­tion.
8. Cog­ni­tive assess­ments will become crit­i­cal to iden­ti­fy bot­tle­necks and mea­sure progress.
9. The ear­li­er we start, the bet­ter. But it is nev­er too late to start.
10. This is still an emerg­ing field: much more research needs to be done.

One of the top 10 pre­dic­tions on the brain fitness/ brain train­ing mar­ket we includ­ed in our our Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket Report said that:

10. Brain train­ing will be added to cor­po­rate well­ness and lead­er­ship ini­tia­tives. Large employ­ers with exist­ing cor­po­rate well­ness and lead­er­ship pro­grams will intro­duce brain fit­ness spe­cif­ic pro­grams aimed not only at improved health out­comes but also at increased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and cog­ni­tive per­for­mance in the work­place.”

Coach­es will play a major role in help­ing clients nav­i­gate this field, as ini­tia­tives such as Sut­ter Health’s indi­cate. Stay tuned!

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3 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Bester says:

    How do we become brain coach­es? Do you offer a course?

  2. Hel­lo Eliz­a­beth, what we do is to work with health sys­tems to train their exist­ing staff/ coach­es, we do not offer courses/ train­ing to indi­vid­u­als. So, if you are affil­i­at­ed with some orga­ni­za­tion, please con­tact us or have some­one do so. Thank you

  3. Corinne Gediman says:

    Hel­lo, I have been work­ing in the field of brain fit­ness under the men­tor­ship of neu­ropy­schol­o­gist Dr. Fran­cis Crinel­la (UC-Irvine). I am a pub­lished author of three books on mem­o­ry improve­ment and brain fit­ness (Rut­ledge Hill Press, and Barnes & Noble Ster­ling) My com­pa­ny brain­fit inc is cur­rent­ly design­ing an on-line brain fit­ness casu­al game for the down­load­able mar­kets. I am also a cor­po­rate train­er of 25 years. My asso­ciate and I would like to get cer­ti­fied as brain fit­ness coach­es. We cur­rent­ly have glob­al cor­po­rate accounts in Envi­ron­ment, Health, and Safe­ty. I am also look­ing into enrolling in Har­vard’s new grad­u­ate pro­gram in this field. Please advise. Kind Regards, Corinne Ged­i­man, Pres­i­dent, Brain­fit, Inc

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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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