Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Will these five NeuroRights help harness emerging neurotechnologies for the common good?

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Data for Good: Bio­log­i­cal Sci­en­tist, DSI Mem­ber Rafael Yuste on the Eth­i­cal Devel­op­ment of Neu­rotech­nol­o­gy (Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty release):

Brain-com­put­er inter­faces may soon have the pow­er to decode people’s thoughts and inter­fere with their men­tal activ­i­ty. Even now the inter­faces, or BCIs, which link brains direct­ly to dig­i­tal net­works, are help­ing brain-impaired patients and amputees per­form sim­ple motor tasks such as mov­ing a cur­sor, con­trol­ling a motor­ized wheel­chair, or direct­ing a robot­ic arm. And non­in­va­sive BCI’s that can under­stand words we want to type and place them onto screens are being devel­oped.

But in the wrong hands, BCIs could Read the rest of this entry »

The FDA clears Somryst, Pear’s digital therapeutic to treat chronic insomnia

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Pear gets FDA clear­ance for insom­nia ther­a­peu­tic (Med­C­i­ty News):

Pear Ther­a­peu­tics received mar­ket­ing autho­riza­tion for its third prod­uct — a dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic intend­ed to treat chron­ic insom­nia. Called Som­ryst, the app is avail­able by pre­scrip­tion only. It con­sists of a nine-week pro­gram that includes cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py and restrict­ing sleep to a lim­it­ed win­dow of time Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Four tips to practice good mental hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak

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Time for a new edi­tion of Sharp­Brains’ e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing this time 14 time­ly news and resources for men­tal health and brain health inno­va­tion.

First of all, let’s remain safe, healthy, and cen­tered dur­ing the cur­rent health cri­sis by fol­low­ing these tips pro­vid­ed by the Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter at UC Berke­ley:

1. Stay calm and focused
2. Pay atten­tion to those doing the right thing
3. Show grat­i­tude
4. Remem­ber our com­mon bonds

1) “Of course, all of these guide­lines don’t sup­plant the impor­tance of prac­tic­ing good hygiene. We need to con­tin­ue to fre­quent­ly wash our hands and avoid touch­ing our faces, so that we can lessen the chance of infect­ing our­selves and oth­ers. But we also should remem­ber our men­tal hygiene—staying calm our­selves, being grate­ful espe­cial­ly to those doing the right thing, and remem­ber­ing our com­mon human­i­ty. In this way, we can help to make the world safer for all of us.” Four tips to prac­tice good men­tal hygiene dur­ing the coro­n­avirus out­break

2) “Before any­thing else, prepa­ra­tion is the key to suc­cess.”
–Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell

Thank­ful­ly, neu­rotech pio­neer Tan Le out­lines sev­er­al areas where we can take a prac­ti­cal approach to address changes already under­way and lay the ground­work for a more seam­less tran­si­tion to a new era. Fast For­ward to 2040: How to pre­pare for the new era in brain enhance­ment that will change the way we think, work, and heal

3) Here’s a beau­ti­ful way to explore the anato­my of brain regions and brain func­tions. The Vir­tu­al Brain Web Atlas: How the Mind emerges from the Brain

4) “Before stu­dents decide to slip in their ear­buds, though, they should care­ful­ly con­sid­er both their musi­cal selec­tion and the nature of the task” … because “We found that (1) music gen­er­al­ly impaired com­plex task per­for­mance, (2) com­plex music facil­i­tat­ed sim­ple task per­for­mance, and (3) pref­er­ence for exter­nal stim­u­la­tion mod­er­at­ed these effects. There­fore, the data sug­gest that music’s effects on task per­for­mance depend on the music, the task, and the per­former” Does music facil­i­tate or impair cog­ni­tive task per­for­mance? It depends…

5) Because learn­ing can­not, must not, ever stop: Meet the Top 50 final­ists for the Glob­al Teacher Prize 2020

6) Any plans for the sum­mer? Four ways hik­ing pro­motes cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al health

7) Har­ness­ing tech to pro­mote social con­nect­ed­ness: Every Wednes­day start­ing today we can join scientist/ entre­pre­neur Rana el Kaliou­by online to dis­cuss her new book! Vir­tu­al book tour to explore the fron­tier of Emo­tion­al Intel­li­gence and Tech­nol­o­gy

8) On-field or off-field, train­ing goes on: Sports teams find cre­ative ways to cross-train the brain off-field

9) “You Can’t Man­age What You Can’t Mea­sure” has­n’t yet reached pub­lic health … but it will. To screen, or not to screen (for demen­tia), that is still the ques­tion

10) Sum­ma­riz­ing a recent study, “children’s sleep should be eval­u­at­ed as part of an ADHD eval­u­a­tion as sleep dif­fi­cul­ties are more com­mon … address­ing sleep issues in chil­dren with ADHD is a fea­si­ble and rel­a­tive­ly low-cost approach that can be a valu­able treat­ment com­po­nent for many chil­dren.” Study: A brief sleep inter­ven­tion can bring mea­sur­able and sus­tained ben­e­fits to chil­dren with ADHD

11) Some may and will dis­agree, but net net this offers a major oppor­tu­ni­ty to har­ness smart­phone use data for good: Ver­i­ly and LivaNo­va accel­er­ate efforts to detect and treat depres­sion

12) Poten­tial big news in the neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion mar­ket; coro­n­avirus or not we all have awe­some brains and will expe­ri­ence brain/ men­tal health needs in the future: Medtron­ic might acquire LivaNova’s neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion busi­ness

13) What if “An employ­er wants to reduce the risk of on-the-job dis­abil­i­ty, so it screens appli­cants for neu­ro­log­i­cal mark­ers that they are pre­dis­posed to chron­ic pain and depres­sion…” Let’s antic­i­pate the poten­tial mis­use of neu­ro­log­i­cal data to min­i­mize the risks–and max­i­mize the ben­e­fits

14) The first brain teaser/ test here is espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant these days … Sev­en fun brain teasers to hon­or our unique Brains and Minds dur­ing Brain Aware­ness Week 2020

 

Have a good and healthy Spring,

The Sharp­Brains Team

Upcoming: Virtual book tour to explore the frontier of Emotional Intelligence and Technology

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Dear Sharp­Brains com­mu­ni­ty,

I hope you’re stay­ing healthy and safe. As you may know, my mem­oir, Girl Decod­ed, pub­lished by Pen­guin Ran­dom House, comes out on April 21st. I’d planned numer­ous events across the U.S. and abroad to share my sto­ry with all of you. But, in light of the glob­al health cri­sis sur­round­ing COVID-19, every­thing is right­ful­ly can­celed.

In this time when we need to social­ly dis­tance, I know I’m crav­ing human con­nec­tion more than ever. I still want to con­nect with you all on the themes dis­cussed in my book. Read the rest of this entry »

Fast Forward to 2040: How to prepare for the new era in brain enhancement that will change the way we think, work, and heal

Decades from now when our aug­ment­ed brains have enhanced our cog­ni­tive func­tion and trans­formed near­ly every aspect of our lives, many of us will look back and won­der why we didn’t do more to pre­pare for these inevitable changes. Gov­ern­ment lead­ers may grap­ple with the run­away effects of AI and brain enhance­ment on geopol­i­tics. Com­pa­nies that fail to incor­po­rate neu­rotech­nolo­gies and BCI into their oper­a­tional flow could lose sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket share and be forced to scram­ble in an attempt to regain a foothold in an indus­try they once dom­i­nat­ed.

Work­ers who don’t heed the warn­ings to re-skill or upskill may find them­selves out of a job as entire indus­tries dis­ap­pear. Grad­u­at­ing col­lege stu­dents may dis­cov­er their field of study is no longer rel­e­vant in the busi­ness world, leav­ing them unpre­pared for the chang­ing job mar­ket. Tech inno­va­tors could be caught up in fierce com­pe­ti­tion to snap up employ­ees from a very lim­it­ed tal­ent pool, dri­ving up the cost of inno­va­tion and ham­per­ing its devel­op­ment. And every­day cit­i­zens may be wrestling with the unex­pect­ed con­se­quences of unin­ten­tion­al­ly giv­ing away the rights to their neur­al data.

Rest assured, it doesn’t have to be this way. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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