Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Time to build mental capital and wellbeing along the lifecourse?

brainNow that we are prepar­ing our 2010 mar­ket report we are ana­lyz­ing in depth a num­ber of impor­tant recent devel­op­ments. A major one, whose impli­ca­tions haven’t yet been prop­er­ly digest­ed, was the pub­li­ca­tion in the UK of a fan­tas­tic series of pol­i­cy, sci­en­tif­ic and tech­nol­o­gy reports by the Fore­sight Project on Men­tal Cap­i­tal and Well­be­ing. If you want to have a stim­u­lat­ing and sub­stan­tial read, you can down­load the Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry (and most oth­er reports) for free.

I was think­ing about their main rec­om­men­da­tion (the need to focus more atten­tion, as a soci­ety and as indi­vid­u­als, on build­ing men­tal cap­i­tal and well­be­ing tra­jec­to­ries along the life­course), as I came across these appar­ent­ly com­plete­ly sep­a­rate news. Does­n’t the life­long men­tal cap­i­tal frame­work add new light on these arti­cles?

Study Sees Gains In Good Child Care (Wall Street Jour­nal)

A study released Fri­day found that ben­e­fits asso­ci­at­ed with child-care providers and preschool pro­grams that encour­age such activ­i­ties as lan­guage, read­ing and game-play­ing last well into ado­les­cence. In par­tic­u­lar, teenagers who had such child-care per­formed sig­nif­i­cant­ly bet­ter aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly than those giv­en low-qual­i­ty or no care out­side the home.

High-qual­i­ty care was defined as an envi­ron­ment in which care-givers or teach­ers were warm, engaged and sen­si­tive to a child’s needs, and pro­vid­ed cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion through activ­i­ties that would pro­mote lan­guage, such as read­ing, con­ver­sa­tion and game-play­ing.

Time to Review Work­place Reviews? (New York Times)

The focus on work­place health comes as work­er sat­is­fac­tion in the Unit­ed States appears to be at an all-time low. The Con­fer­ence Board report­ed recent­ly that just 45 per­cent of work­ers are sat­is­fied with their jobs, down from 61 per­cent in 1987. The find­ings, based on a sur­vey of 5,000 house­holds, show that the decline goes well beyond con­cerns about job secu­ri­ty. Employ­ees are unhap­py about the design of their jobs, the health of their orga­ni­za­tions and the qual­i­ty of their man­agers.

Dr. Sut­ton, whose new book “Good Boss, Bad Boss” (com­ing from Busi­ness Plus) argues that good boss­es are essen­tial to work­place suc­cess, said sky­rock­et­ing health care costs should moti­vate busi­ness­es to focus on ways to low­er stress.

Alzheimer’s Pre­ven­tion or Cog­ni­tive Enhance­ment (blog post based on NIH inde­pen­dent pan­el)

Firm con­clu­sions can­not be drawn about the asso­ci­a­tion of mod­i­fi­able risk fac­tors with cog­ni­tive decline or Alzheimer’s dis­ease.”

(Note: which is true, but, as we dis­cussed pre­vi­ous­ly, this is being mis­un­der­stood to mean “there is noth­ing we can do to main­tain if not enhance our cog­ni­tive and self-reg­u­la­tion capac­i­ties,” which could­n’t be fur­ther from truth, based on the very sim­ple facts of life­long neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis and neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty.)

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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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