Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

What’s normal? When it comes to the brain, it’s hard to say, and that’s why we need to study global neurodiversity

In a small vil­lage in India—a place so remote it has no elec­tric­i­ty, no telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem, and no cars or buses—a research work­er pre­pares to place an EEG head­set on a female villager’s head. The woman, who earns $3.75 a day labor­ing in a near­by rice pad­dy and who has nev­er ven­tured out­side her vil­lage, eyes the futur­is­tic device with trep­i­da­tion.

Is it going to hurt my head?” she asks.

Sathish, the research work­er, has heard this ques­tion before. In fact, he’s heard sev­er­al sim­i­lar queries from anx­ious vil­lagers who have got­ten scared when they saw the brain­wear.

Will it give me a headache?”

Is it going to give me an elec­tric shock?”

He assures the woman the head­set is pain­less and explains that all she has to do is sit qui­et­ly and allow her mind to wan­der. Sathish gen­tly adjusts an array of elec­trodes on the woman’s head and Read the rest of this entry »

The State of Mindfulness Science: 10 Key Research Findings to Encourage and Guide your Meditation Practice in 2018

___

Dur­ing the past two decades, more and more sci­en­tists have stud­ied mindfulness—a Bud­dhist-inspired col­lec­tion of prac­tices aimed at help­ing us to cul­ti­vate moment-to-moment aware­ness of our­selves and our envi­ron­ment. Their ear­ly find­ings trig­gered an enor­mous amount of enthu­si­asm for med­i­ta­tion.

Some­times, how­ev­er, jour­nal­ists and even sci­en­tists (who should know bet­ter) have over­stat­ed the phys­i­cal and men­tal health ben­e­fits, which has fed grow­ing skep­ti­cism about mind­ful­ness. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Wisdom requires both higher heart rate variability and adopting a third-person perspective

wise reasoning——-

Many cul­tures con­sid­er the human heart to be the seat of wis­dom. Now sci­en­tists are find­ing some evi­dence for this, though the real­i­ty may be more com­pli­cat­ed than it seems.

Pre­vi­ous research has sug­gest­ed that high­er heart rate vari­abil­i­ty (HRV)—the vari­abil­i­ty in the time between our heart­beats Read the rest of this entry »

Needed: funding for innovative research on slowing cognitive decline via cognitive training

I was real­ly inter­est­ed in the recent cri­tique of the BBC brain train­ing exper­i­ment by Dr. Eliz­a­beth Zelin­s­ki. I think Owens et al (2010) was a crit­i­cal piece of research which was not con­duct­ed in the right way and was focus­ing on the wrong sam­ple pop­u­la­tion.  I total­ly agree with the com­ments by Dr. Zelin­s­ki regard­ing the poten­tial for sam­ple bias and the use of some ques­tion­able cog­ni­tive mea­sures. How­ev­er, I would like to take this cri­tique fur­ther and ques­tion whether the study was val­ue for mon­ey when there are oth­er stud­ies which can­not achieve fund­ing but would, in my opin­ion, show the criticism/scepticism of the use-it-or-lose-it the­o­ry.

I think there is not enough crit­i­cism about the age of the sam­ple pop­u­la­tion used in Owens et al. (2010). We have con­clu­sive cog­ni­tive and neu­ro­log­i­cal evi­dence that cognitive/neurological plas­tic­i­ty exists in young adults. There is also ade­quate evi­dence that neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty is evi­dent in old­er adults. The crit­i­cal point which I want to make about the sam­ple pop­u­la­tion in Owens et al. study is that it did not tar­get the cor­rect sam­ple pop­u­la­tion, that is, old­er adults who are at risk of cognitive/neuronal atro­phy. It does not mat­ter if younger adults improve on brain train­ing tasks, or if skills picked up by younger adults from brain train­ing are not trans­ferred to oth­er cog­ni­tive domains, sim­ply because younger adults are good at these skills/cognitive func­tions. There­fore there is a pos­si­bil­i­ty that ceil­ing or scal­ing effects mask the true find­ings in Owens et al. (2010), as indi­cat­ed by Zelin­s­ki.

The recruit­ment of the sam­ple pop­u­la­tion is also very con­cern­ing and I do not feel that their con­trol group was appro­pri­ate. Read the rest of this entry »

Search in our archives

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.