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Brain Fitness Update: Best of 2008

Dear read­er and mem­ber of Sharp­Brains’ com­mu­ni­ty,
We want to thank you for your atten­tion and sup­port in 2008, and wish you a Hap­py, brain fitness and health newsletterPros­per­ous, Healthy and Pos­i­tive 2009!

Below you have the Decem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter. Enjoy:

Best of 2008

Announc­ing the Sharp­Brains Most Impor­tant Book of 2008: Neu­ro­sci­en­tist Torkel Kling­berg has writ­ten a very stim­u­lat­ing and acces­si­ble book on a cru­cial top­ic for our Infor­ma­tion Age: The Over­flow­ing Brain: Infor­ma­tion Over­load and the Lim­its of Work­ing Mem­o­ry. We have named it The Sharp­Brains Most Impor­tant Book of 2008, and asked Dr. Kling­berg to write a brief arti­cle to intro­duce his research and book to you. Enjoy it here.

Top 30 Brain Fit­ness Arti­cles of 2008: We have com­piled Sharp­Brains’ 30 most pop­u­lar arti­cles, writ­ten by thir­teen Expert Con­trib­u­tors and staff mem­bers for you. Have you read them all?

Novem­ber-Decem­ber News: No month goes by with­out sig­nif­i­cant news in the field of cog­ni­tive fit­ness. Sum­ma­rized here are 10 recent devel­op­ments wor­thy of atten­tion, includ­ing an upcom­ing brain train­ing prod­uct for ice hock­ey play­ers, my lec­ture at New York Pub­lic Library, and more.

Inter­views: Videogames, Med­i­ta­tion

Are videogames good for your brain?: A land­mark study by Dr. Arthur Kramer and col­leagues has shown that play­ing a strat­e­gy videogame can bring a vari­ety of sig­nif­i­cant men­tal ben­e­fits to old­er brains. Anoth­er recent study, also by Kramer and col­leagues, does not show sim­i­lar ben­e­fits to younger brains (despite play­ing the same game). How can this be? Dr. Kramer, who has kind­ly agreed to serve on Sharp­Brains’ Sci­en­tif­ic Advi­so­ry Board, elab­o­rates.

Med­i­ta­tion on the Brain: Dr. Andrew New­berg pro­vides an excel­lent overview of the brain ben­e­fits of prac­tices such as med­i­ta­tion. He rec­om­mends, “look for some­thing sim­ple, easy to try first, ensur­ing the prac­tice is com­pat­i­ble with one’s beliefs and goals. You need to match prac­tice with need: under­stand the spe­cif­ic goals you have in mind, your sched­ule and lifestyle, and find some­thing prac­ti­cal.”

The Need for Objec­tive Assess­ments

Cog­ni­tive screen­ings and Alzheimer’s Dis­ease: The Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion of Amer­i­ca just released a thought­ful report advo­cat­ing for wide­spread cog­ni­tive screen­ings after the age of 65 (55 giv­en the right con­di­tions). Sharp­Brains read­ers, probed by Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man, seem to agree.

Quan­ti­ta­tive EEG for ADHD diag­no­sis: Dr. David Rabin­er reports on the find­ings from a recent study that doc­u­ments the util­i­ty of Quan­ti­ta­tive EEG as an objec­tive test to assist in the diag­no­sis of ADHD. If this pro­ce­dure were to become more wide­ly used, he sug­gests, the num­ber of chil­dren and ado­les­cents who are inap­pro­pri­ate­ly diag­nosed and treat­ed for the dis­or­der would dimin­ish sub­stan­tial­ly.

Shall we ques­tion the brand new book of human trou­bles?: The fights over the new ver­sion of the psy­chi­atric diag­nos­tic man­u­al, the DSM-V, are start­ing to come to light. Dr. Vaugh­an Bell won­ders why the pub­lic debate avoids the key ques­tion of whether diag­no­sis itself is use­ful for men­tal health and why psy­cho­met­rics are sim­ply ignored.

Resources for Life­long Learn­ing

Edu­ca­tion builds Cog­ni­tive Reserve for Alzheimers Dis­ease Pro­tec­tion: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon reviews a recent study that sup­ports the Cog­ni­tive Reserve hypoth­e­sis — men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing expe­ri­ences through­out life, such as for­mal edu­ca­tion, help build a reserve in our brains that con­tributes to a low­er prob­a­bil­i­ty of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s symp­toms.

5 Tips on Life­long Learn­ing & the Adult Brain: Lau­rie Bar­tels asks us to please please 1) chal­lenge our­selves with new learn­ing, 2) remem­ber that neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis are hall­marks of our brains, 3) check for mis-learn­ing on an ongo­ing basis, 4) more visu­als, less text, 5) move it, move it — start today!

Neu­ro­science Core Con­cepts: We all have heard “Use It or Lose It”. Now, what is “It”? The Soci­ety for Neu­ro­science (SfN) has just released a user-friend­ly pub­li­ca­tion titled Neu­ro­science Core Con­cepts, aimed at help­ing edu­ca­tors and the gen­er­al pub­lic learn more about the brain.

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2 Responses

  1. Mike King says:

    Thanks for point me at the 30 best of 2008 list. I am new to the site and those are def­i­nite­ly some great arti­cles I’ll have to read through. Thanks for all the resources here!

  2. You are wel­come, Mike! Thank you for your kind note.

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