Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Update: Meet 10 Innovation Awards Finalists, and New Resource

We are pleased to announce that, out of the 40 great entries sub­mit­ted, the 10 Final­ists to the 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards mov­ing to the next round are (ordered by approx­i­mate age of end user pop­u­la­tion, from younger to old­er):

  • Arrow­smith School,
  • USA AlvaroFer_finalfile_180310Hock­ey,
  • Nation­wide Mutu­al Insur­ance,
  • Uni­ver­si­ty Behav­ioral HealthCare/ Uni­ver­si­ty of Med­i­cine & Den­tistry of New Jer­sey,
  • All­state,
  • AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safe­ty,
  • Saint Luke’s Brain and Stroke Insti­tute,
  • Oak­land Uni­fied School Dis­trict,
  • Men­tal Health Asso­ci­a­tion of Rock­land Coun­ty,
  • SCAN Health Plan.

Win­ners will be announced dur­ing the State of Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Webi­nar on May 24th, noon-1pm Pacif­ic Time. Reg­is­tra­tion is now open ($25), and includes exec­u­tive sum­ma­ry of Sharp­Brains’ 2010 mar­ket report and access to pri­vate LinkedIn net­work. Learn More Here.

News & Analy­sis

BBC “Brain Train­ing” Exper­i­ment: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly: You prob­a­bly saw the hun­dreds of media arti­cles titled “brain train­ing doesn’t work”, based on a BBC exper­i­ment. Once more, claims seem to go beyond the sci­ence back­ing them up … except that in this case it is the researchers, not the devel­op­ers, who are respon­si­ble.

Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Pre­ven­tion or Cog­ni­tive Enhance­ment: an inde­pen­dent expert pan­el just released yes­ter­day a thought­ful report on the state of the sci­ence for pre­ven­tion of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. Before peo­ple get scared away by “there is noth­ing that works”, every­one should under­stand that this is true but dif­fer­ent from “there is noth­ing we can do to reduce the prob­a­bil­i­ty from devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s symp­toms” or “there is noth­ing we can do today to enhance our cog­ni­tive func­tions today and tomor­row”.

New Resource

We have cre­at­ed a new sec­tion in to con­tribute to the ongo­ing con­ver­sa­tion on cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness, based on last year’s book by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg.  Main sec­tions are:

Debunk­ing 10 Brain Myths: The goal of this resource is to help you make informed deci­sions about brain health and cog­ni­tive fit­ness, based on lat­est sci­en­tif­ic find­ings. First of all, let’s debunk some com­mon myths.

1. Brain Fit­ness Fun­da­men­tals: The brain is com­posed of a num­ber of spe­cial­ized regions serv­ing dis­tinct func­tions. Our life and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty depend on a vari­ety of brain func­tions, not just one, and there is noth­ing inher­ent­ly fixed in the tra­jec­to­ry of how brain func­tions evolve as we age.

2. The 4 Pil­lars of Brain Main­te­nance: Thanks to life­long neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, our lifestyles and actions play a mean­ing­ful role in how our brains phys­i­cal­ly change. There is no “mag­ic pill”, but the need for a mul­ti-pronged approach.

3. Men­tal Exer­cise vs. Men­tal Activ­i­ty: Men­tal exer­cise (or “brain train­ing”) goes beyond men­tal activ­i­ty in gen­er­al. Men­tal exer­cise is the struc­tured use of exer­cis­es or tech­niques aimed at improv­ing spe­cif­ic brain func­tions, and can be deliv­ered in a num­ber of ways: med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive ther­a­py, cog­ni­tive train­ing, biofeed­back.

4. Mak­ing Informed Brain Train­ing Deci­sions: The state of the research does not allow for strong “pre­scrip­tions” of spe­cif­ic prod­ucts for every­one and every­thing: here we offer infor­ma­tion to nav­i­gate claims and make bet­ter informed deci­sions.

5. Brain Fit­ness through the Lifes­pan: The same way there are many rea­sons to exer­cise our bod­ies, there are many rea­sons to exer­cise our brains. Here we review a few cur­rent and future appli­ca­tions of men­tal exer­cise through the lifes­pan, includ­ing edu­ca­tion, cor­po­rate well­ness, retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, clin­i­cal con­di­tions, and more.

6. Ready for the Future?: We believe that more and more  life­long learn­ers will look for inno­v­a­tive ways to inte­grate brain fit­ness to their every­day activ­i­ties, and more pro­fes­sion­als will iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties to offer new ser­vices and pro­grams. Here we dis­cuss main trends.

7. Open­ing the Debate: Pro­cess­ing new infor­ma­tion is a stim­u­lat­ing intel­lec­tu­al exer­cise, and dis­cussing insights and open ques­tions with a group of peo­ple can be even more stim­u­lat­ing. Here we offer ques­tions for book clubs and invite you to con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion via Face­book, Twit­ter, and LinkedIn.

Have a great month of May. And please say Hel­lo to the new neu­rons in your brain that weren’t up there when you woke up this morn­ing.

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Categories: Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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About SharpBrains

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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