Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Neuroplasticity as seen by one of its earliest scientist proponents: Neuroscience pioneer Santiago Ramón y Cajal

– One of Ramón y Cajal’s icon­ic images, show­ing a Purk­in­je neu­ron with its tree­like struc­ture

A cou­ple of weeks ago The New York Times pub­lished an excel­lent arti­cle about the life and work of neu­ro­science Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Reinventing Brain Care In Light of Lifelong Neuroplasticity

Here you have the March107px-gray1197thumbnail edi­tion of our month­ly eNewslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this free Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter by email, using the box in the right col­umn.

Designed to fos­ter inno­va­tion and best prac­tice shar­ing by cel­e­brat­ing out­stand­ing pio­neers who apply neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based research and tools in the “real world”, the new Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards are accept­ing entries until April 15th. You can sub­mit an entry, and learn about the Judges, Prizes and Fre­quent­ly Asked Ques­tions, by click­ing on 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards. Win­ners will be announced on May 24th dur­ing the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit on the State of The Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket.

The Big Pic­ture

A Decade After the Decade of the Brain:  “Dur­ing the past two decades, neu­ro­sci­en­tists have steadi­ly built the case that the human brain, even when ful­ly mature, is far more plastic—changing and malleable—than we orig­i­nal­ly thought. It turns out that the brain (at all ages) is high­ly respon­sive to envi­ron­men­tal stim­uli and that con­nec­tions between neu­rons are dynam­ic and can rapid­ly change with­in min­utes of stim­u­la­tion”, says Dr. Nora Volkow, Direc­tor of one of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health (NIH), while dis­cussing the med­ical and edu­ca­tion­al impli­ca­tions of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty in this arti­cle pre­pared for Dana Foundation’s Cere­brum.

Improv­ing Care through Pol­i­cy, Stan­dards, and Tech­nol­o­gy: Patrick Dono­hue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Project, grant­ed Sharp­Brains an extend­ed inter­view to dis­cuss the PABI Plan in front of Con­gress, which may pass soon and help devel­op a mod­el sys­tem for Pedi­atric Acquired Brain Injuries (PABI) which is the lead­ing cause of death and dis­abil­i­ty for chil­dren and young adults from birth through 25 years of age in the Unit­ed States. This plan has the poten­tial to fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form brain care through the use of neu­roin­for­mat­ics and stan­darized sys­tems of care. As Patrick points out, “tech­nol­o­gy is a very strong com­po­nent to ensure scal­a­bil­i­ty and fos­ter inno­va­tion. Our expec­ta­tion is that some genius stu­dent at MIT will find a way to ana­lyze all the med­ical records, find pat­terns and pre­dict poten­tial solu­tions that can help spe­cif­ic patients.”

News

Cog­ni­tive therapy’s grow­ing adop­tion in the UK: Since the UK’s Nation­al Insti­tute for Health and Clin­i­cal Excel­lence (NICE) said that cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py (CBT) should be the first-line treat­ment for mild to mod­er­ate depres­sion –fol­lowed by drugs only if it proves unsuc­cess­ful– this type of men­tal train­ing is gain­ing wider pro­mo­tion by the Nation­al Health Ser­vice. We see US-based insur­ance com­pa­nies tak­ing good note.

Research Part­ner­ship on Cog­ni­tive Aging: The Nation­al Insti­tute on Aging and McK­night Foun­da­tion part­ner to invest $28m in research giv­en that “emerg­ing evi­dence sug­gests that cer­tain inter­ven­tions — such as exer­cise, envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment, diet, social engage­ment, cog­ni­tive train­ing and stress reduc­tion — should be stud­ied more inten­sive­ly to deter­mine if they might pre­vent or reduce declines in cog­ni­tive health”. We laud the ini­tia­tive, and fur­ther ask: Why $28 mil­lion and not, say, $300m (one dol­lar per liv­ing Amer­i­can who tomor­row will be one day old­er than he or she is today)?, Why the empha­sis on “pre­vent, reduce or reverse decline” and not on “devel­op, improve, main­tain brain func­tion­al­i­ty for qual­i­ty of life and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty”?

Mind Stretch­ing

10 Mitos sobre el Cere­bro y el Entre­namien­to Men­tal: By pop­u­lar demand, we trans­lat­ed the arti­cle Debunk­ing 10 Brain and Brain Fit­ness Myths to Span­ish. Can you give it a try in Span­ish first and see how it goes? If you are look­ing for added men­tal exer­cise and want to help us trans­late it to oth­er lan­guages, please let us know!

Brain Fit­ness Sur­vey: please spare 5–10 min­utes with us, answer­ing a few stim­u­lat­ing ques­tions such as “How impor­tant do you believe are the fol­low­ing brain func­tions to thrive per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly in the XXI cen­tu­ry”?

Final­ly, a quick note. I am going to trav­el exten­sive­ly in Europe between June and Novem­ber 2010. If you want to pro­pose speak­ing or con­sult­ing engage­ments there, please Con­tact Us.

Have a stim­u­lat­ing Spring!

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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