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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: 15 FAQs on Neuroplasticity / Brain Plasticity

Here you have the Octo­ber edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics.

We recent­ly run an online sur­vey among sub­scribers of our month­ly eNewslet­ter, and over 500 peo­ple neuroplasticity faqssaid we have helped them make bet­ter per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al deci­sions on how to main­tain and improve brain fit­ness. Respon­dents also had many good ques­tions to ask, so I have select­ed 15 com­mon ones, paraphrased/ syn­the­sized them below, and answered them by link­ing to our most rel­e­vant posts and resources. I hope you enjoy the FAQ ses­sion.

Q: I teach a brain fit­ness class at my library/ senior center/ school, using much of your info. Can you share some of your pre­sen­ta­tions?
A: Yes, we have just decid­ed to share, using a Cre­ative Com­mons Attri­bu­tion No Deriv­a­tives License, the full pre­sen­ta­tion of my recent book talk at New York Pub­lic Library (opens video in YouTube). As long as you give cred­it to Sharp­Brains and don’t mod­i­fy it, you are free to use the pre­sen­ta­tion you can view and down­load HERE.

Q: What exact­ly does neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty neurons in actionmean, and why is it so impor­tant for edu­ca­tion and health?
A: Start by read­ing how learn­ing changes your brain.

Q. Is this only rel­e­vant for old­er adults? Can I also apply it in the work­place (I am 47)
A. I strong­ly sus­pect you do have a human brain, so you may ben­e­fit from these Ten Habits of High­ly Effec­tive Brains. Fur­ther, HR depart­ments would do well to start pay­ing more atten­tion to Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness and the Mature Work­force trends.

Q. I read so many con­flict­ing things I don’t know where to start.
A. You are not alone. We should all be aware that It is Not Only Cars That Deserve Good Main­te­nance: Brain Care 101.

Q. How can my orga­ni­za­tion deliv­er brain fit­ness activ­i­ties as a com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice?
A. These arti­cles will pro­vide good guide­lines and ideas: Retool­ing Use It or Lose It , and Pub­lic Libraries: Com­mu­ni­ty-Based Health Clubs for the Brain.

Q. Every­one seems obsessed with brain games. What about med­i­ta­tion?
A. Check out Yes, You Can Build Willpow­er, and Mind­ful­ness Med­i­ta­tion in Schools.

Q. Are soft­ware-based cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions effec­tive?
A. As a cat­e­go­ry, it cer­tain­ly seems so, as long as we ask the right ques­tions, For Whom, For What?. For exam­ple, did you see this Sci­ence paper on how Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Can Influ­ence Dopamine Sys­tem?.

Q. What about the trade-off between time invest­ed vs ben­e­fits real­ized.
A. Effi­cien­cy and replic­a­bil­i­ty of cog­ni­tive and brain-based out­comes seem to be, in fact, the strongest points of struc­tured cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions. They seem to max­i­mize the Cog­ni­tive Val­ue of your Men­tal Work­out.


Q. It some­times looks like the whole field came out of nowhere, due to Nin­ten­do Brain Age’s suc­cess, so we can’t be talk­ing about some­thing seri­ous.

A: Nin­ten­do did indeed cre­ate con­sumer aware­ness (for a prod­uct with lit­tle evi­dence) but “brain train­ing” has sol­id roots in neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy and cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science, as you can read in our inter­view with Elkhonon Gold­berg.

Q. What about neu­ro­feed­back?
A. After years of much clin­i­cal use and lit­tle sol­id evi­dence, sev­er­al impor­tant tri­als have been pub­lished since 2009, show­ing how neu­ro­feed­back can help diag­nose and treat ADHD patients, for exam­ple.

Q. How can one improve mem­o­ry?

A. Well, the answer deserves a whole book, but we can offer some Tips to Improve Mem­o­ry includ­ing Sleep, Prac­tice and Test­ing.

Q. How can I brain fitness bookschoose one among the num­ber of prod­ucts mak­ing mem­o­ry and brain claims?
A. We sug­gest you use this Eval­u­a­tion check­list, and con­sid­er read­ing our con­sumer guide/ book.

Q. Any gen­er­al tips for edu­ca­tors and life­long learn­ers?
A. Indeed, here you have these 10 Brain Tips to Teach and Learn.

Q. How can I keep track of all the new brain fitness market infographictrends, com­pa­nies and prod­ucts? Our health system/ insurer/ senior community/ ven­ture firm/ com­pa­ny needs to make good deci­sions.
A. Well, that’s why we pub­lish mar­ket research, such as the one sum­ma­rized in this Info­graph­ic: State of the Mar­ket 2009 and also recent­ly launched a pro­fes­sion­al Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion.

Q: Thank you for all the infor­ma­tion you provide…but what I want more of is… brain teasers!
A. Under­stood. We will make sure to offer more, but you can try, right now, these Top 50 Brain Teasers and con­tin­ue with more recent puz­zles and brain games.

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you Alvaro Fer­nan­dez. That is a great sum­ma­ry of pow­er­ful, help­ful, impor­tant infor­ma­tion!

  2. Kaye Swain says:

    Very inter­est­ing and infor­ma­tive. I espe­cial­ly enjoyed the 50 Brain Teasers. 🙂

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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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