Update: Reinventing Brain Care In Light of Lifelong Neuroplasticity

Here you have the March107px-gray1197thumbnail edi­tion of our month­ly eNewslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this free Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter by email, using the box in the right column.

Designed to fos­ter inno­va­tion and best prac­tice shar­ing by cel­e­brat­ing out­stand­ing pio­neers who apply neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based research and tools in the “real world”, the new Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards are accept­ing entries until April 15th. You can sub­mit an entry, and learn about the Judges, Prizes and Fre­quent­ly Asked Ques­tions, by click­ing on 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards. Win­ners will be announced on May 24th dur­ing the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit on the State of The Brain Fit­ness Market.

The Big Picture

A Decade After the Decade of the Brain:  “Dur­ing the past two decades, neu­ro­sci­en­tists have steadi­ly built the case that the human brain, even when ful­ly mature, is far more plastic—changing and malleable—than we orig­i­nal­ly thought. It turns out that the brain (at all ages) is high­ly respon­sive to envi­ron­men­tal stim­uli and that con­nec­tions between neu­rons are dynam­ic and can rapid­ly change with­in min­utes of stim­u­la­tion”, says Dr. Nora Volkow, Direc­tor of one of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH), while dis­cussing the med­ical and edu­ca­tion­al impli­ca­tions of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty in this arti­cle pre­pared for Dana Foun­da­tion’s Cere­brum.

Improv­ing Care through Pol­i­cy, Stan­dards, and Tech­nol­o­gy: Patrick Dono­hue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Project, grant­ed Sharp­Brains an extend­ed inter­view to dis­cuss the PABI Plan in front of Con­gress, which may pass soon and help devel­op a mod­el sys­tem for Pedi­atric Acquired Brain Injuries (PABI) which is the lead­ing cause of death and dis­abil­i­ty for chil­dren and young adults from birth through 25 years of age in the Unit­ed States. This plan has the poten­tial to fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form brain care through the use of neu­roin­for­mat­ics and stan­darized sys­tems of care. As Patrick points out, “tech­nol­o­gy is a very strong com­po­nent to ensure scal­a­bil­i­ty and fos­ter inno­va­tion. Our expec­ta­tion is that some genius stu­dent at MIT will find a way to ana­lyze all the med­ical records, find pat­terns and pre­dict poten­tial solu­tions that can help spe­cif­ic patients.”


Cog­ni­tive ther­a­py’s grow­ing adop­tion in the UK: Since the UK’s Nation­al Insti­tute for Health and Clin­i­cal Excel­lence (NICE) said that cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py (CBT) should be the first-line treat­ment for mild to mod­er­ate depres­sion –fol­lowed by drugs only if it proves unsuc­cess­ful– this type of men­tal train­ing is gain­ing wider pro­mo­tion by the Nation­al Health Ser­vice. We see US-based insur­ance com­pa­nies tak­ing good note.

Research Part­ner­ship on Cog­ni­tive Aging: The Nation­al Insti­tute on Aging and McK­night Foun­da­tion part­ner to invest $28m in research giv­en that “emerg­ing evi­dence sug­gests that cer­tain inter­ven­tions — such as exer­cise, envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment, diet, social engage­ment, cog­ni­tive train­ing and stress reduc­tion — should be stud­ied more inten­sive­ly to deter­mine if they might pre­vent or reduce declines in cog­ni­tive health”. We laud the ini­tia­tive, and fur­ther ask: Why $28 mil­lion and not, say, $300m (one dol­lar per liv­ing Amer­i­can who tomor­row will be one day old­er than he or she is today)?, Why the empha­sis on “pre­vent, reduce or reverse decline” and not on “devel­op, improve, main­tain brain func­tion­al­i­ty for qual­i­ty of life and productivity”?

Mind Stretch­ing

10 Mitos sobre el Cere­bro y el Entre­namien­to Men­tal: By pop­u­lar demand, we trans­lat­ed the arti­cle Debunk­ing 10 Brain and Brain Fit­ness Myths to Span­ish. Can you give it a try in Span­ish first and see how it goes? If you are look­ing for added men­tal exer­cise and want to help us trans­late it to oth­er lan­guages, please let us know!

Brain Fit­ness Sur­vey: please spare 5–10 min­utes with us, answer­ing a few stim­u­lat­ing ques­tions such as “How impor­tant do you believe are the fol­low­ing brain func­tions to thrive per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly in the XXI century”?

Final­ly, a quick note. I am going to trav­el exten­sive­ly in Europe between June and Novem­ber 2010. If you want to pro­pose speak­ing or con­sult­ing engage­ments there, please Con­tact Us.

Have a stim­u­lat­ing Spring!

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

Top Articles on Brain Health and Neuroplasticity

Top 10 Brain Teasers and Illusions


Subscribe to our e-newsletter

* indicates required

Got the book?