Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


The future (of Brain Health & Enhancement) is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed


The future is already here — it’s just not very even­ly dis­trib­uted” — William Gib­son

Last week we asked the ques­tion, Have you ever used–for your­self or for others–technologies or prod­ucts that you think would fall into the cat­e­go­ry of brain enhance­ment? a) If Yes, what did you use and what lessons learned can you share? b) If No, what issues would you like to see addressed before con­sid­er­ing doing so?

Thank you every­one for your great answers and com­ments!

They are very valu­able in help­ing us final­ize the agen­da of the the upcom­ing 2017 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit: Brain Health & Enhance­ment in the Dig­i­tal Age (Decem­ber 5–7th).

As a token of appre­ci­a­tion, we are issu­ing 4 com­pli­men­ta­ry Sum­mit pass­es for Eva, A. Mark, Kitt and Gwyneth to join the Sum­mit and add their per­spec­tives and ques­tions to the mix, based on these insight­ful answers (light­ly edit­ed for clar­i­ty).

Eva Pon­der, Psy­chol­o­gist:

I use tech­nol­o­gy for myself and also with my clients. I reg­u­lar­ly use Muse, the brain sens­ing head­band for mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion. The feed­back and app help me stay on track in incor­po­rat­ing reg­u­lar prac­tice in my life. Mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion has been demon­strat­ed to be help­ful in improved well-being and reduc­tion of anx­i­ety, depres­sion and insom­nia. I also use the Muse with clients in ses­sions and encour­age them to obtain and use them as reg­u­lar part of their self care. I also use the Alpha-Stim with many of my clients, espe­cial­ly those with pain, anx­i­ety and insom­nia and find that most of them get some imme­di­ate relief. I believe that it real­ly helps peo­ple gain more hope for feel­ing bet­ter when they can expe­ri­ence some result imme­di­ate­ly. Final­ly, I also rec­om­mend use of apps cre­at­ed by the US Depart­ment of Vet­er­an Affairs: CBT‑I coach and Vir­tu­al Hope Box. They have a portable tool box that peo­ple can access eas­i­ly when they are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty cop­ing with stress.

A. Mark Pon, Senior EHS Engi­neer at 3M:

I’ve used many of the typ­i­cal tech­nolo­gies, i.e., games (gam­ing plat­forms, apps, paper and pen­cil, etc.) and sup­ple­ments, if not for any oth­er rea­son, than keep­ing myself sharp for work, social inter­ac­tions, and/or for self-actu­al­iza­tion/­self devel­op­ment pur­pos­es, or for sharp­en­ing the saw. As far as sup­ple­ments, I should be more dis­cern­ing as to what I put into my body, and look­ing for the best research, i.e., con­trolled exper­i­ments, with prop­er scop­ing to deter­mine cause and effect, or at least to oper­a­tional­ize it more effec­tive­ly to deter­mine effects. I’m not sold on any prod­uct that is on the mar­ket. In terms of games go, I think of a few things:
1. You can learn to improve at play­ing a game or performing/ answer­ing quizzes/tests/questions and get bet­ter out­comes.
2. Some games, how­ev­er, espe­cial­ly dig­i­tal games, are not nec­es­sar­i­ly con­ducive to “doing the work,” and you are just guess­ing.
3. You can make your­self more accept­ing of doing new games/ things.

Kitt O’Mal­ley, Men­tal Health Advo­cate:

I con­sid­er doing Jig­saw puz­zles on my iPad brain enhance­ment. I’ve also used Lumos­i­ty in the past. Most recent­ly, I’ve used the Calm app for med­i­ta­tion to qui­et my mind to allow sleep. Liv­ing with men­tal ill­ness and fear­ing mem­o­ry loss (both par­ents have demen­tia), I must calm my mind and keep it sharp. 

Gwyneth Wes­ley Rolph, Cog­ni­tive sci­en­tist at Uni­ver­si­ty of West­min­ster:

The “tech­nolo­gies” I use most often are good old exer­cise, sleep, diet, dietary sup­ple­ments, and study. I did­n’t keep going with things like dual n‑back, brain train­ing etc. because they were bor­ing. A few exam­ples that I have tried and liked: audio-visu­al entrain­ment (David Delight Pro), HRV biofeed­back (Heart­Math), neu­ro­feed­back, GSR meter-assist­ed self-explorato­ry/ self-devel­op­ment ther­a­py. I also tried cra­nial elec­tros­tim­u­la­tion but it made me feel slight­ly nau­seous. Anki is a great lit­tle app for mem­o­ry train­ing.


Look­ing for­ward to a great con­fer­ence, full of insights and con­nec­tions to help advance Brain Health & Enhance­ment in the dig­i­tal age we live in,

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez on behalf of the Sum­mit Steer­ing Group


Learn more & Reserve your Spot HERE

(10%-off pro­mo code for Sharp­Brains read­ers: sharp2017)

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness, Peak Performance, Technology

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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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