Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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News: Neuroscience Applied to Learning, Mental Health, Healthy Aging

Here you have a round-up of recent news on how cog­ni­tive and affec­tive neu­ro­science find­ings are start­ing to inform edu­ca­tion and health across the lifes­pan:

Pedi­a­tri­cians issue a call to aid chil­dren fac­ing ‘tox­ic stress’ (LA Times)

Teach­ers as Brain-Chang­ers: Neu­ro­science and Learn­ing (EdWeek) Read the rest of this entry »

New Online Course: How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012

We are pleased to announce a new online course designed to equip par­tic­i­pants with the under­stand­ing and infor­ma­tion required to apply emerg­ing sci­ence and tools to enhance brain health and func­tion­al­ity across the lifes­pan.

Course descrip­tion: Infor­ma­tion over­load and longer lives expose our brains to more demands than even before. This fast-paced and inter­ac­tive online course will exam­ine the emerg­ing sci­ence of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and cog­ni­tive reserve and sur­vey lat­est tools and best prac­tices to equip you to become your own ‘brain fit­ness coach’ and address per­sonal and pro­fes­sional pri­or­i­ties. Avail­able online from any­where with an Inter­net con­nec­tion, this course will help you pin­point ways to opti­mize brain health and func­tion­al­ity and delay decline, nav­i­gat­ing the maze of frag­mented research, super­fi­cial media cov­er­age and exag­ger­ated mar­ket­ing claims. The course is based on The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness –recent­ly named a Best Book by AARP– and Sharp­Brains’ new ABBC frame­work (Address Basics, Build Capac­i­ties), and includes week­ly read­ings and activ­i­ties.

Mechan­ics: The course con­sists of four two-hour-long live online ses­sions to be held in March 2012 (detailed syl­labus avail­able), and an online pri­vate forum for Fac­ulty and Par­tic­i­pants to inter­act dur­ing March and April 2012.

Who this is for: This course is for any­one who wants to under­stand how emerg­ing cog­ni­tive and affec­tive neu­ro­science can be applied to enhance brain health and per­for­mance, and who is will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in a fast-paced course that lever­ages e-learn­ing to facil­i­tate a glob­al learn­ing expe­ri­ence.

Note: In order to ensure a valu­able and inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ence, par­tic­i­pa­tion will be lim­ited to the first 200 indi­vid­u­als who reg­is­ter.

Fac­ul­ty:

  • Instruc­tor: Alvaro Fer­nan­dez (Sharp­Brains)
  • Guest Lec­tur­ers: Alvaro Pas­cual-Leone (Har­vard Med­ical School), Robert M. Bilder (UCLA Semel Insti­tute for Neu­ro­science and Human Behav­ior)

To Learn More and Reg­is­ter, please vis­it the course page: How to Be Your Own Brain Fit­ness Coach in 2012.

Neuroscience Boot Camp: For Anybody who Needs to Understand, Predict or Influence Human Behavior

I am writ­ing to share some infor­ma­tion about our third annu­al “Neu­ro­science Boot Camp,” which I think the read­ers of the Sharp­Brains blog will find inter­est­ing.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia announces their 3rd annu­al Neu­ro­science Boot Camp, July 31-August 10, 2011!

Why Neu­ro­science Boot Camp?

Neu­ro­science is increas­ing­ly rel­e­vant to a num­ber of pro­fes­sions and aca­d­e­m­ic dis­ci­plines beyond its tra­di­tion­al med­ical appli­ca­tions. Lawyers, edu­ca­tors, econ­o­mists and busi­ness­peo­ple, Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Goleman: Yes, You Can Build Willpower (meditate on neuroplasticity!)

(Editor’s note: Daniel Gole­man is now con­duct­ing a series of audio inter­views includ­ing a great one with Richard David­son on Train­ing the Brain. We are hon­ored to bring you this guest post by Daniel Gole­man, thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine.)

Yes, You Can:

New research sug­gests we can build our willpow­er

– By Daniel Gole­man

Those of us who strug­gle to resist junk foods or oth­er­wise suf­fer a lack of willpow­er will be heart­ened by some good news from neu­ro­science. But there’s some bad news, too.

First, the bad news. A slew of stud­ies sug­gest that we each have a fixed neur­al reser­voir of willpow­er, and that if we use it on one thing, we have less for oth­ers. Tasks that demand some self-con­trol make it hard­er for us to do the next thing that takes willpow­er.

In a typ­i­cal exper­i­ment on this effect, one group of peo­ple was made to watch a video of a bor­ing scene; anoth­er was not. Then both groups had to cir­cle every “e” in a long pas­sage of writ­ing. The result? The peo­ple who had to first sit through the bor­ing video gave up faster. The same loss of per­sis­tence has been found when peo­ple try to resist tempt­ing foods, sup­press emo­tion­al reac­tions, or even make the effort to try to impress some­one.

This all sug­gests we have a fixed willpow­er bud­get, one we should be care­ful in spend­ing. Some neu­ro­sci­en­tists sus­pect that self-con­trol con­sumes blood sug­ar, which takes a while to build up again; thus, the deple­tion effect.

But the good news is that we can grow our willpow­er; like a mus­cle, the more we use it, the more it grad­u­al­ly increas­es over time. But doing this takes, of all things, willpow­er.

As the mus­cle of will grows, the larg­er our reser­voir of self-dis­ci­pline becomes. So peo­ple who are able to 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 and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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