Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Neuroimaging study finds extensive brain rewiring–in just six months–among illiterate adults learning to read and write

Learning to read and write rewires adult brain in six months (New Scientist):

“Learning to read can have profound effects on the wiring of the adult brain – even in regions that aren’t usually associated with reading and writing.

That’s what Michael Skeide of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, and his colleagues found when they taught a group of illiterate adults in rural India to read and write Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Combining aerobic and mental training can significantly improve mental and cognitive health

mental_physical_training(Editor’s Note: Hat tip to co-author Tj Shors for bringing this fascinating new study to our attention)

“It is widely accepted that aerobic exercise and meditation training are useful behavioral therapies for remediating clinical symptoms of depression. However, no study to date has assessed the combined effects of the two behavioral interventions. Here, we present data indicating that Read the rest of this entry »

New Brain Health Series: The Child, Adolescent, Adult and Aging Brain

Peo­ple of all ages read SharpBrains.com, so we are prepar­ing a series of arti­cles on Brain Health across the Lifes­pan.

The series will include 4 parts:

  • The Child Brain, pub­lished in Novem­ber 2010
  • The Ado­les­cent Brain, in Decem­ber 2010
  • The Adult Brain, in Jan­u­ary 2011
  • The Aging Brain, in Feb­ru­ary 2011
  • Each part will :

    • Include sur­pris­ing facts on how the brain works
    • Debunk com­mons myths about cog­ni­tion and brain health
    • Link to resources such as books and doc­u­men­taries.

    If you want to read these arti­cles as we pub­lish them via SharpBrains.com, you can either fol­low us in Face­book and Twit­ter or, if you have not done so already, subscribe to our monthly update (eNewsletter).

    Tell your friends and col­leagues about the series!

    Update: Let’s move, slow down, innovate, think and play

    You have heard that physical exercise is good for the brain. How much exercise are we talking about? Can the benefits be seen both for children and adults? In Fitter bodies = fitter brains. True at all ages? Dr. Pascale Michelon answers these questions for you, based on latest scientific studies.

    We need fun ways to get out the couch more and exercise both physically and cognitively. What about setting up community-based adult playgrounds, such as this one in Beijing?

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    New Brain Health Series

    People of all ages read SharpBrains.com and this monthly update, so we are preparing a series of articles on Brain Health across the Lifespan. The series will include 4 parts:

  • The Child Brain, published in November 2010
  • The Adolescent Brain, in December 2010
  • The Adult Brain, in January 2011
  • The Aging Brain, in February 2011
  • Each part will include surprising facts on how the brain works, debunk commons myths about cognition and brain health, and link to resources such as books and documentaries. If you want to read these articles as we publish them via SharpBrains.com, you can follow us in Facebook and Twitter. Tell your friends and colleagues about the series!

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    Let’s Move

    Walking increases Brain Volume: A recent neuro-imaging study shows that walk­ing reg­u­larly can increase brain vol­ume and reduce the risks of devel­op­ing cog­ni­tive impairment.

    Move to another Country, to another Occupation: A couple recent studies reinforce the Cognitive Reserve framework that suggests we can protect our brains by speaking more than one language and by not retiring early.

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    Let’s Slow Down

    Take that Nap – It May Boost Your Learning Capacity: Scott Barry Kaufman tells us why sleep is good for the brain. It turns out that sleep is tied to a bet­ter immune sys­tem, meta­bolic con­trol, mem­ory, learn­ing, creativity and emo­tional func­tion­ing.

    Boost your Attention with Meditation: Another way to slow down is to meditate. Through summaries of studies and an interview with Dr. Newberg, we discuss how meditation can improve your concentration skills.

    Train your Brain to Focus on Positive Experiences: In this article by the Greater Good Magazine, Rick Hanson explains the “negativity bias” of the brain and what steps we can take to rewire our brains for last­ing hap­pi­ness.

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    Let’s Innovate

    If much health care is actually evidence-free, what type of evidence and tools do we need to make real-world progress?: building on a recent OpEd by Peter Orszag, Alvaro Fernandez asks us to assess the value and limitations of innovative brain health tools based on how they seem to perform compared to existing alternatives- not compared to Platonic research ideals. This basic concept serves as the foundation of the new SharpBrains Council for Brain Fitness Innovation.

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    Let’s Think

    Cognitive stimulation helps Alzheimer’s patients: Another scientific review shows that pro­grams focus­ing on global cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease by 5 years. The authors conclude that efforts to develop and imple­ment cognitive-based inter­ven­tion for the treat­ment of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease must be pur­sued.

    The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: In his new book, Dr. Gary Small describes how the onset of brain health problems may resemble a brain fog, making the role of the physician and the caregiver particularly important.

    Have you read The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg?: if so, please take 5 minutes to answer this brief survey. Your feedback will ensure that future editions are even more relevant and valuable. If you haven’t read it yet, you can learn more and order here.

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    Let’s Play: Top 10 Illusions

    Are you ready to experience our selection of Visual Illusions? See if you can trust your brain…enjoy these Top 10 Visual Illusions..

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    Brain Fitness Update: Best of 2008

    Dear reader and member of SharpBrains’ community,
    We want to thank you for your attention and support in 2008, and wish you a Happy, brain fitness and health newsletterProsperous, Healthy and Positive 2009!

    Below you have the December edition of our monthly newsletter. Enjoy:

    Best of 2008

    Announcing the SharpBrains Most Important Book of 2008: Neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg has written a very stimulating and accessible book on a crucial topic for our Information Age: The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory. We have named it The SharpBrains Most Important Book of 2008, and asked Dr. Klingberg to write a brief article to introduce his research and book to you. Enjoy it here.

    Top 30 Brain Fitness Articles of 2008: We have compiled SharpBrains’ 30 most popular articles, written by thirteen Expert Contributors and staff members for you. Have you read them all?

    November-December News: No month goes by without significant news in the field of cognitive fitness. Summarized here are 10 recent developments worthy of attention, including an upcoming brain training product for ice hockey players, my lecture at New York Public Library, and more.

    Interviews: Videogames, Meditation

    Are videogames good for your brain?: A landmark study by Dr. Arthur Kramer and colleagues has shown that playing a strategy videogame can bring a variety of significant mental benefits to older brains. Another recent study, also by Kramer and colleagues, does not show similar benefits to younger brains (despite playing the same game). How can this be? Dr. Kramer, who has kindly agreed to serve on SharpBrains’ Scientific Advisory Board, elaborates.

    Meditation on the Brain: Dr. Andrew Newberg provides an excellent overview of the brain benefits of practices such as meditation. He recommends, “look for something simple, easy to try first, ensuring the practice is compatible with one’s beliefs and goals. You need to match practice with need: understand the specific goals you have in mind, your schedule and lifestyle, and find something practical.”

    The Need for Objective Assessments

    Cognitive screenings and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America just released a thoughtful report advocating for widespread cognitive screenings after the age of 65 (55 given the right conditions). SharpBrains readers, probed by Dr. Joshua Steinerman, seem to agree.

    Quantitative EEG for ADHD diagnosis: Dr. David Rabiner reports on the findings from a recent study that documents the utility of Quantitative EEG as an objective test to assist in the diagnosis of ADHD. If this procedure were to become more widely used, he suggests, the number of children and adolescents who are inappropriately diagnosed and treated for the disorder would diminish substantially.

    Shall we question the brand new book of human troubles?: The fights over the new version of the psychiatric diagnostic manual, the DSM-V, are starting to come to light. Dr. Vaughan Bell wonders why the public debate avoids the key question of whether diagnosis itself is useful for mental health and why psychometrics are simply ignored.

    Resources for Lifelong Learning

    Education builds Cognitive Reserve for Alzheimers Disease Protection: Dr. Pascale Michelon reviews a recent study that supports the Cognitive Reserve hypothesis – mentally stimulating experiences throughout life, such as formal education, help build a reserve in our brains that contributes to a lower probability of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms.

    5 Tips on Lifelong Learning & the Adult Brain: Laurie Bartels asks us to please please 1) challenge ourselves with new learning, 2) remember that neuroplasticity and neurogenesis are hallmarks of our brains, 3) check for mis-learning on an ongoing basis, 4) more visuals, less text, 5) move it, move it – start today!

    Neuroscience Core Concepts: We all have heard “Use It or Lose It”. Now, what is “It”? The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has just released a user-friendly publication titled Neuroscience Core Concepts, aimed at helping educators and the general public learn more about the brain.

    Check out the Summit Agenda and Reserve Your Spot

    Learn all about the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit in less than 2 minutes

    Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

    About SharpBrains

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