Here you have the February edition of our monthlyeNewsletter covering cognitive health and brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, using the box in the right column.
The recent SharpBrains Summit witnessed the convergence of Benjamin Franklin’s words (“Man is a Tool-Making Animal”) with neuroscientist Santiago Ramon y Cajal’s (“Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain.”) The neuroplasticity revolution that may well transform education, training, healthcare, aging, is under way.
Will the Apple iPad Be Good for your Brain: Prof. Luc Beaudoin lays out key criteria to assess Apple iPad’s potential value for our cognitive fitness, and judges the iPad against a comprehensive checklist. His verdict? Thumbs-up.
Is Working Memory a better predictor of academic success than IQ?: Dr. Tracy Alloway summarizes a recent landmark study, published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, which tracked children over a six-year period. Key finding: Working memory can be a more powerful predictor of academic success than IQ scores.
Building Fit Minds Under Stress: According to Science Daily’s take on a just published study, “a high-stress U.S. military group preparing for deployment to Iraq has demonstrated a positive link between mindfulness training, or MT, and improvements in mood and working memory”.
The Evolution of Empathy: Empathy is not a uniquely human trait, explains primatologist Frans de Waal in this Greater Good Magazine article. Apes and other animals feel it as well, suggesting that empathy is truly an essential part of who we are.
Reflections on Creativity — Interview with Daniel Tammet: Scott Barry Kaufman recently interviewed Daniel Tammet, known for vividly describing autistic savantism from the inside. Their in-depth conversation made Scott reflect that “Daniel Tammet’s feeling of a great loneliness and isolation growing up spoke to me, for sure. But I’m sure it also spoke to a great many people reading the interview.”
The SharpBrains Summit took place January 18–20th, helping engage over 250 participants in 15 countries. Here are a couple of reactions from participants:
5 Key Reflections on “Neurocentric Health”: Institute For The Future researcher Jake Dunagan summarizes his main take-aways, including this overall assessment — “Although the conference was virtual, aside from the rigors of travel and a basket of bagels on the hallway table, my level of intellectual stimulation (and fatigue) mirrored most of my face-to-face conference experiences. It was a technical success and the content was first-rate.” (Thanks, Jake!)
The Future of Cognitive Enhancement: Neuroethics researcher Peter Reiner ponders, “Will brain fitness software dominate the world of cognitive enhancement?”. His take: “Prior to this conference I was quite skeptical, but the overall impression that I was left with was that brain fitness software may turn out to have some distinct advantages over pharmacological approaches.” Read his article to discover why.
Network for Brain Fitness Innovation (private LinkedIn group): Members are engaging in many good discussions, including most surprising things learned during the SharpBrains Summit, how to deal with conflicts of interest in industry and academia, resources and conferences relevant to education and children, and ways to elicit a wider interest in brain health.
Looking for Speakers: We are always looking for best practices and research-based innovation. If you are interested in speaking at future SharpBrains events (including Games for Health brain tracks), please Contact Us and tell us about 1) your innovation or research, 2) its measured and/ or potential impact, 3) recent coverage in general, trade, or scientific media, 4) the typical audience you talk to, and a couple of descriptions of recent talks, 5) what you propose talking about.
Brain Fitness Information Package for Libraries: libraries of all kinds can now order a copy of our main report, The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2009, at 50% off price. Using discount code sharplibrary leaves this premium report at $645 (offer valid until March 31st, 2010). Offer is valid for individuals and organizations who commit to donating their copy to a library, in good shape, after consulting it.
Finally, a reminder that Brain Awareness Week (March 15–21, 2010) is approaching soon!