Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Your comments on cognitive training, Posit Science, Alzheimer’s Australia, gerontology, games

I have fall­en behind on answer­ing a few excel­lent recent com­ments ‑on cog­ni­tive train­ing over­all, Posit Sci­ence and Alzheimer’s Aus­tralia, geron­tol­ogy and the brain, the val­ue of videogames‑, so let me address them here:

1) Nicks says (Brain Fit­ness Pro­grams For Seniors Hous­ing, Health­care and Insur­ance Providers: Eval­u­a­tion Check­list)

This report is inter­est­ing and it address­es many very impor­tant ques­tions that cog­ni­tive neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists, such as myself have. I feel that many of the prod­ucts on the mar­ket now make claims which are gen­er­al­ly unsub­stan­ti­at­ed.

I find it con­cern­ing that many of these pro­grammes have been mar­ket­ed to tar­get old­er adults in par­tic­u­lar with­out mak­ing any spe­cif­ic state­ment on whether the activ­i­ties are ben­e­fi­cial and have been sup­port­ed with empir­i­cal research.

i have recent­ly con­duct­ed a cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tion study which used a large array of out­come mea­sures which focus on Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Brain Health and Fitness Events

I will be speak­ing at the these upcom­ing con­fer­ences: if you are attend­ing, please let me know!

» Boston, April 28th, 2008: Pan­el on Lat­est Brain Research Trends, at the Learn­ing and the Brain Con­fer­ence.

» Boston, April 29th, 2008: New Devel­op­ments in Cog­ni­tive Retrain­ing Tech­nol­o­gy, at the Inno­va­tion Insti­tute.

» Bal­ti­more, May 9th, 2008:  The State of the Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket, at the Games for Health Sum­mit.

» San Fran­cis­co, May 15th, 2008: Cog­ni­tive and Emo­tion­al Train­ing (Brain Fit­ness) for Healthy Aging, at the Insti­tute on Aging’s sem­i­nar on Brain Health Accross the Lifespan.  

» San Jose, June 9th, 2008: Brain Fit­ness Trends and Assist­ed Liv­ing Com­mu­ni­ties, at the Cal­i­for­nia Assist­ed Liv­ing Asso­ci­a­tion Spring Con­fer­ence.

Working Memory Training from a pediatrician perspective, focused on attention deficits

Arthur Lavin Today we inter­view Dr. Arthur Lavin, Asso­ciate Clin­i­cal Pro­fes­sor of Pedi­atrics at Case West­ern School of Med­i­cine, pedi­a­tri­cian in pri­vate prac­tice, and one of the first providers of Cogmed Work­ing Mem­o­ry Train­ing in the US (the pro­gram whose research we dis­cussed with Dr. Torkel Kling­berg and Dr. Bradley Gib­son). Dr. Lavin has a long stand­ing inter­est in tech­nol­o­gy-as evi­denced by Microsoft­’s recog­ni­tion of his paper­less office- and in brain research and appli­ca­tions-he trained with esteemed Mel Levine from All Kinds of Minds-.

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Key take-aways:

- Schools today are not yet in a posi­tion to effec­tive­ly help kids with cog­ni­tive issues deal with increas­ing cog­ni­tive demands.

- Work­ing Mem­o­ry is a cog­ni­tive skill fun­da­men­tal to plan­ning, sequenc­ing, and exe­cut­ing school-relat­ed work.

- Work­ing Mem­o­ry can be trained, as evi­denced by Dr. Lav­in’s work, based on Cogmed Work­ing Mem­o­ry Train­ing, with kids who have atten­tion deficits.

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Con­text on cog­ni­tive fit­ness and schools

AF (Alvaro Fer­nan­dez): Dr. Lavin, thanks for being with us. It is not very com­mon for a pedi­a­tri­cian to have such an active inter­est in brain research and cog­ni­tive fit­ness. Can you explain the source of your inter­est?

AL (Arthur Lavin): Through­out my life I have been fas­ci­nat­ed by how the mind works. Both from the research point of view and the prac­ti­cal one: how can sci­en­tists’ increas­ing knowl­edge improve kids’ lives? We now live in an tru­ly excit­ing era in which sol­id sci­en­tif­ic progress in neu­ro­science is at last cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to improve peo­ple’s actu­al cog­ni­tive func­tion. The progress Cogmed has achieved in cre­at­ing a pro­gram that can make great dif­fer­ences in the lives of chil­dren with atten­tion deficits is one of the most excit­ing recent devel­op­ments. My col­league Ms. Susan Glaser and I recent­ly pub­lished two books: Who’s Boss: Mov­ing Fam­i­lies from Con­flict to Col­lab­o­ra­tion (Col­lab­o­ra­tion Press, 2006) and Baby & Tod­dler Sleep Solu­tions for Dum­mies (Wiley, 2007), so I not only see myself as a pedi­a­tri­cian but also an edu­ca­tor. I see par­ents in real need of guid­ance and sup­port. They usu­al­ly are both very skep­ti­cal, since Read the rest of this entry »

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