On cognitive training, muscle mass, neurostimulation, brain teasers, apps, and more

Wel­come to a new edi­tion of Sharp­Brains’ e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing time­ly brain & inno­va­tion news and a few fun teasers to test your work­ing memory.

#1. Study: Build­ing mus­cle mass helps delay cog­ni­tive decline beyond the val­ue of exer­cise itself

Teas­ing out exact­ly how mus­cle helps the brain remains a chal­lenge. There are plen­ty of indi­rect links … But Dr. Chevalier’s results sug­gest there may be more direct mech­a­nisms too. One pos­si­bil­i­ty is the role of myokines, a set of hor­mone-like mol­e­cules pro­duced by mus­cle cells that can trav­el to the brain and influ­ence mood, learn­ing and oth­er cog­ni­tive func­tions. Greater mus­cle mass may also help keep blood glu­cose lev­els in check, pro­tect­ing the brain from damage.”

#2. Clin­i­cians and aca­d­e­mics should engage users when review­ing apps, study finds

More than half of the app rat­ings showed dis­agree­ment between par­tic­i­pants and pro­fes­sion­als … Par­tic­i­pants par­tic­u­lar­ly val­ued cer­tain aspects of men­tal health apps, which appear to be over­looked by pro­fes­sion­al review­ers. These includ­ed func­tions such as the abil­i­ty to track and mea­sure men­tal health and pro­vid­ing gen­er­al men­tal health edu­ca­tion. The cost of apps was among the most impor­tant fac­tors for participants.”

#3. Com­bined tDCS neu­rostim­u­la­tion and cog­ni­tive train­ing found to improve work­ing mem­o­ry among old­er adults–especially those with low­er start­ing capacity

… indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics influ­enced the out­come of com­bined cog­ni­tive train­ing and tDCS reg­i­mens, with the inter­ven­tion selec­tive­ly ben­e­fit­ing old-old adults with low­er work­ing mem­o­ry capac­i­ty. Future work should con­sid­er devel­op­ing indi­vid­u­al­ized treat­ments by con­sid­er­ing indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in cog­ni­tive profiles.”

#4. Head­space Health’s Leslie Witt on the future of men­tal health

I fun­da­men­tal­ly believe in the pow­er of mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion tools, but they can’t serve all men­tal health needs. And par­tic­u­lar­ly when someone’s in a state of acute anx­i­ety, acute depres­sion, they need access to pro­fes­sion­al, human services…We are build­ing out what I often call the mid­dle piece, the bridge that exists between the self-serve con­tent in the Head­space app and the text-based coach­ing, telether­a­py and telepsy­chi­a­try of the Gin­ger service.”

#5. Study: Prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude helps low­er phys­i­o­log­i­cal stress lev­els of the “express­er” AND the “receiv­er”

The impli­ca­tion here is that you should let your grat­i­tude out when you feel it … That’s not to say that you should go around and make up grat­i­tude expres­sions for no rea­son. But, when you gen­uine­ly feel grat­i­tude, you should express it.” — Christo­pher Oveis, Direc­tor of the Empa­thy & Emo­tion Lab at UCSD

#6. Tak­ing your brain vitals: Sto­ries from a tech­no-opti­mist invent­ing the future of human performance

My vision for DANA has always been that every time you go to the doc­tor, in addi­tion to tak­ing your height, weight, blood pres­sure, and tem­per­a­ture, they will take your DANA brain vital. When mea­sur­ing your brain health becomes sec­ond nature—as com­mon as check­ing your blood pressure—it will empow­er every­one, no mat­ter their age, to spot changes soon­er and take action.” — Cori Lath­an, CEO of Anthro­Tron­ix, in her great new book.

#7. UK agen­cies to review and update reg­u­la­tion of dig­i­tal men­tal health tools

Time­ly and impor­tant work to be done by the Med­i­cines and Health­care prod­ucts Reg­u­la­to­ry Agency (MHRA) and the Nation­al Insti­tute for Health and Care Excel­lence (NICE).

#8. Last but not least, let us share a few quick brain teasers to exer­cise your work­ing mem­o­ry … enjoy!


Wish­ing you and yours a healthy and warm month of November

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?