Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


News you can use: To improve memory, exercise brain and body at the same time


Time for Sharp­Brains’ eNewslet­ter  track­ing the lat­est think­ing, research and tools for brain health.

This month we fea­ture five fas­ci­nat­ing inter­views at the fron­tier of applied neu­ro­science and a recent study sug­gest­ing that “Per­form­ing mem­o­ry train­ing exer­cis­es at the same time as ped­al­ing a sta­tion­ary bike led to bet­ter gains in mem­o­ry than doing the train­ing exer­cis­es after work­ing up a sweat…”

Enjoy the read!

New thinking:

New research:

New tools:


Final­ly, you may want to learn about cog­ni­tion and men­tal self-rota­tion with these quick brain teasers.

Have a great month of March,

The Sharp­Brains Team

A conversation with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on Creativity, Neuroscience, and Technological Innovation


Dear Elkhonon, a plea­sure to have you with us. Let’s get out the gate by dis­cussing how are new ideas born — for exam­ple, how exact­ly did you first think about writ­ing your new book, Cre­ativ­i­ty: The Human Brain in the Age of Inno­va­tion?

Orig­i­nal­ly, I set out to write a book about how the brain deals with nov­el­ty — a long-stand­ing focus of my own research. But the more I thought about it, the more the sub­ject of cre­ativ­i­ty was com­ing up, so I decid­ed to tack­le nov­el­ty and cre­ativ­i­ty at the same time.

Do we need yet anoth­er book on Cre­ativ­i­ty?

We absolute­ly do. Cre­ativ­i­ty is not just an indi­vid­ual feat; it is embed­ded into a cul­ture which either fos­ter, sti­fles, or shapes it in a vari­ety of ways. And it is nev­er a strict­ly soli­tary process, since even the most cre­ative mind draws on the pre­vi­ous­ly accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge. So, in order to tru­ly under­stand cre­ativ­i­ty, we must inte­grate neu­ro­sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al per­spec­tives into a coher­ent nar­ra­tive. To my knowl­edge, this has not been done before, and this is what my book aims to accom­plish.

I am par­tic­u­lar­ly fas­ci­nat­ed by the dynam­ic rela­tion­ship between over- and under­ac­ti­va­tion of pre­frontal cor­tex areas in the cre­ative process and dis­cuss it exten­sive­ly in the book. This is one of the most intrigu­ing and pos­si­bly most con­se­quen­tial aspects of the brain machin­ery of cre­ativ­i­ty.

What have we learned about the brain mech­a­nisms of cre­ativ­i­ty over the last five to ten years?

We have learned a lot: that cre­ativ­i­ty is not a mono­lith­ic trait; that is con­sists of many mov­ing parts and may take many paths even with­in the same are­na of human endeav­or; that it is not linked to any sin­gle brain struc­ture or to a sin­gle gene or even a small group of genes.

How do you define Cre­ativ­i­ty, and what can Neu­ro­science con­tribute to its under­stand­ing?

Cre­ativ­i­ty is often defined as the abil­i­ty to come up with con­tent which is both nov­el and salient. Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Chapman Q&A Transcript: Best Brain Health Fitness Tip? “Never let status quo be an option”

Here’s the light­ly edit­ed tran­script of the Jan­u­ary 4th online Q&A ses­sion with Dr. San­dra Chap­man, Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Brain­Health at UT-Dal­las and author of the new book Make Your Brain Smarter (Free Press; Jan­u­ary 2013). Enjoy!


AlvaroF: You can start writ­ing ques­tions so we have a few to choose from as we start in a cou­ple of min­utes. Thank you!

AlvaroF: Just one sec­ond and we’ll be ready. Already get­ting great ques­tions!

AlvaroF: Let me first thank Dr. San­dra Chap­man for being with us today. She was one of the best speak­ers at our 2012 Sum­mit, and since then we want­ed to share her research and think­ing with all Sharp­Brains read­ers. Read the rest of this entry »

Join brain health Q&A with Dr. Sandra Chapman (January 4th, 2013)

 We are pleased to announce that Dr. San­dra Chap­man, Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Brain­Health at The Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Dal­las and one of the most thought-pro­vok­ing speak­ers at the 2012 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit, will be answer­ing ques­tions from Sharp­Brains read­ers on Jan­u­ary 4th, 2013.

When: Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 4th, 2013. 11am-noon US Pacif­ic Time/ 2–3pm US East­ern Time.

Who: As a cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tist with more than 40 fund­ed research grants, Dr. San­dra Bond Chapman’s sci­en­tific study elu­ci­dates and applies nov­el approach­es to advance cre­ative and crit­i­cal think­ing, strength­en healthy brain devel­op­ment, and incite inno­va­tion through­out life. Dr. Chapman’s research record and brain health break­throughs have led to Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Wrote The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

We have always thought that “our brain shapes us.” I wrote my new book, The Woman Who Changed Her Brain (May 2012; Free Press, Fore­word by Nor­man Doidge), to prove that the reverse is equal­ly true. I want­ed to demon­strate how “we can shape our brains.”

Imag­ine hav­ing a brain that is capa­ble and inca­pable at the same time. Grow­ing up, I had severe learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. I lived in a world that was con­fus­ing and incom­pre­hen­si­ble. As I was to lat­er dis­cov­er, a crit­i­cal part of my brain was not work­ing prop­er­ly, the end result being that all lan­guage was expe­ri­enced as for­eign and my trans­la­tor was Read the rest of this entry »

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