Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Carnival of Education #159: Briefing the Next US President on 35 Issues

Dear Mr or Mrs Next US Pres­i­dent,

Thank you for stop­ping dur­ing recess for a quick study ses­siMeditation School Studentson. 35 edu­ca­tors have col­lab­o­rat­ed to present this Car­ni­val of Edu­ca­tion as a use­ful les­son plan for you and your edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy team on what our real con­cerns and sug­ges­tions are.

In case this is your first vis­it to our Sharp­Brains blog, let me first of all point out some use­ful resources to stay sane dur­ing the rest of the cam­paign: select­ed Brain Teasers, a list of 21 great Brain Books, over a dozen inter­views with lead­ing sci­en­tists on learn­ing and brain-based top­ics, and more.

With­out fur­ther ado, let’s pro­ceed to the issues raised. We hope they pro­vide, at the very least, good men­tal stim­u­la­tion for you and your advi­sors.

Edu­ca­tion as a Sys­tem

Grand Rounds: Briefing the Next US President

Dear Mr or Mrs Next US Pres­i­dent,

Thank you for vis­it­ing Grand Rounds, the week­ly col­lec­tion of the best health and med­ical blog posts, in the midst of your very busy sched­ule.

Street Musicians in NYCThe health and med­ical blo­gos­phere would like to make sure you and your team take into account the issues out­lined below as you and your aids for­mu­late your poli­cies and put togeth­er the team that will fur­ther define and imple­ment them.

With­out fur­ther ado, let me out­line these 40 ques­tions and top­ics.

Dear Mr or Mrs Next US Pres­i­dent, Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Rounds Here Next Tuesday

You can now check the last edi­tion of Grand Rounds blog car­ni­val. Grand Rounds brings, week­ly, the best blog posts on health and med­ical issues.

We will host the next edi­tion in our blog, on Tues­day Jan­u­ary 15th.

Theme of the edi­tion: Brief­ing The Next US Pres­i­dent. You can choose to write about some issue very close to your heart, that you’d like to make sure the next US Pres­i­dent pays atten­tion to. Or sim­ply send us your best post this week: I will include all the good posts I receive, to pro­vide a win­dow into what health and med­i­cine pro­fes­sion­als are think­ing of in a typ­i­cal week.

Send sub­mis­sions to afer­nan­dez at gmail dot com, with Grand Rounds in the sub­ject line.

Look­ing for­ward your sub­mis­sions!

10 Brain Fitness New Year’s Resolutions

Brain Fitness New Year's ResolutionsYou have sur­vived the 2007 shop­ping and eat­ing sea­son. Con­grat­u­la­tions! Now it’s time to shift gears and focus on 2008…whether you write down some New Year res­o­lu­tions or con­tem­plate some things that you want to let go of from last year and set inten­tions and goals for this year — as is a friend’s tra­di­tion on the win­ter sol­stice.

To sum­ma­rize the key find­ings of the last 20 years of neu­ro­science research on how to “exer­cise our brains”, there are three things that we can strive for: nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge. If we do these three things, we will build new con­nec­tions in our brains, be mind­ful and pay atten­tion to our envi­ron­ment, improve cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties such as pat­tern-recog­ni­tion, and in gen­er­al con­tribute to our life­long brain health.

With these three prin­ci­ples of brain health in mind — nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge — let me sug­gest a few poten­tial New Years res­o­lu­tions, per­haps some unex­pect­ed, that will help you make 2008 a year of Brain Fit­ness: Read the rest of this entry »

10 (Surprising) Memory Improvement Tips

Healthy Seniors

There are sev­er­al brain fit­ness top­ics where we still see a large dis­con­nect between research and pop­u­lar knowl­edge, and a major one is the rela­tion­ship between mem­o­ry and stress. Car­o­line and I col­lab­o­rat­ed on this post to bring you some con­text and tips.

Our soci­ety has changed faster than our genes. Instead of being faced with phys­i­cal, imme­di­ate­ly life-threat­en­ing crises that demand instant action, these days we deal with events and ill­ness­es that gnaw away at us slow­ly, that stress us out and that, believe it or not, end up hurt­ing our mem­o­ry and brain.

Dr. Robert Sapol­sky, in an inter­view about his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, points out that humans unique­ly “can get stressed sim­ply with thought, turn­ing on the same stress response as does the zebra.” But, the zebra releas­es the stress hor­mones through life-pre­serv­ing action, while we usu­al­ly just keep mud­dling along, get­ting more anx­ious by the moment.

What is the rela­tion­ship between stress and mem­o­ry? We all know chron­ic stress is bad for our heart, our weight, and our mood, but how about our mem­o­ry? Inter­est­ing­ly, acute stress can help us focus and remem­ber things more vivid­ly. Chron­ic stress, on the oth­er hand, reduce our abil­i­ty to focus and can specif­i­cal­ly dam­age cells in the hip­pocam­pus, a brain struc­ture crit­i­cal to encod­ing short term mem­o­ry.

When is stress chron­ic? When one feels Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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