“Brain functions are controlled by millions of brain cells. However, in order to understand how the brain controls functions, such as simple reflexes or learning and memory, we must be able to record [Read more…] about New “bionic hybrid neuro chip” to improve understanding of brain function by enabling high-fidelity, long-term recordings of brain cell activity
Below you can find the full transcript of our engaging Q&A session today on memory, memory techniques and brain-healthy lifestyles with Dr. Gary Small, Director of UCLA’s Memory Clinic and Center on Aging, and author of The Memory Bible. You can learn more about his book Here, and learn more about upcoming Brain Fitness Q&A Sessions Here.
Perhaps one of the best questions and answers was:
Question: Gary, you’ve worked many years in this field. Let us in on the secret. What do YOU do you, personally, to promote your own brain fitness?
Answer: I try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic conditioning each day; try to minimize my stress by staying connected with family and friends; generally eat a brain healthy diet (fish, fruits, vegetables), and try to balance my online time with my offline time. Which reminds me, I think it is almost time for me to sign off line. [Read more…] about Transcript: Dr. Gary Small on Enhancing Memory and the Brain
Training the brain is possible because of neuroplasticity. Our daily experiences can trigger neuroplastic changes in the brain, such as the growth of new brain cells (neurons) and new connections (synapses) between neurons. Plasticity is observed at all ages but is at its peak during brain development, as a baby and then a child learns basic knowledge and skills necessary to survive. We should thus expect that the brain of a baby could be easily trained. This is what Wass and his colleagues recently demonstrated in a new study with 11-month-old babies. [Read more…] about Brain Training for Babies: Hope, Hype, Both?
Welcome to the 70th edition of Encephalon, the blog carnival that offers some of the best neuroscience and psychology blog posts every other week.
Mysteries of Brain and Mind
by Dave Munger
|Guys on dates want to know: Is it really impossible to ignore an attractive face?
Recent research seems to demonstrate that, indeed, attractive faces can distract us from a variety of tasks. Dating Tip of the Week: what about impressing your date with a homecooked dinner next time and avoid potential misunderstandings?
by Greg Downey
|BIG NEWS: First Neuroanthropology Conference!
The first Neuroanthropology Conference will be held 8 October 2009 at the University of Notre Dame. Great theme, great speakers. Will it offer a cross-cultural analysis of the research mentioned above?
On Neurons, Journeys, and Chemical Friends
by Ward Plunet
|The power of one — neuron
We have all been told about the power one person, that one person can make a difference. Well, does the general principle also hold true about a single neuron? Can a single neuron make a difference — change your sleep state, motor movement, or induce a behavior?
|New cells in the adult brain migrate long distances by crawling along blood vessels
The journey undertaken by newly generated neurons in the adult brain is like the cellular equivalent of the arduous upstream migration of salmon returning to the rivers in which they were hatched.
|The elegant logic of dopamine
What do we know about the formation of dopamine neurons and the regulation of gene expression?. A simple and elegant recent study provides some much-needed, critical information that could drastically affect how we pursue new therapies dopaminergic diseases such as Parkinson’s.
|Brain Synapse Computational Capacity
Evolution has exploited multiple avenues to increase the brain’s computational capacity. This is great news for all humans, except perhaps for those trying to model the mind exactly by building computer brain simulations, since they will likely have to model all of these protein interactions to function in a manner similar to a real brain.
On Brain Functions
by Tracy Alloway
|10% Students may have working memory problems: Why does it matter?
In screening of over 3000 school-aged students in mainstream schools, 1 in 10 was identified as having working memory difficulties. Why does this matter? Clue: Working memory seems to be even more important to learning than other cognitive skills such as IQ.
|Cake or Death? It’s all a matter of self-control, and your vmPFC
A recent MRI study helps pinpoint where signals for self-control may originate, and could be a big deal clinically. Not necessarily as a diet aid, but rather for problems where there’s a lack of self-control, as in addiction.
The Mouse Trap,
by Sandy Gautam
|Low Latent Inhibition, high faith in intuition and psychosis/creativity
What is the relationship between low latent inhibition (brain’s capacity to screen from current attentional focus stimuli previously tagged as irrelevant), high faith in intuition and psychosis/creativity?
Frontiers in Perception
by Deb Serani
|Can You Find The Twelve Faces?
How many faces can you see in this image?
by Vaughan Bell
|Deeper into the neuroscience of hypnosis
A new article from Trends in Cognitive Sciences explores how cognitive neuroscientists are becoming increasingly interested in understanding hypnosis and are using it to simulate unusual states of consciousness in the lab. Might hypnosis help you see the Twelve Faces above? or perhaps 25 of them?
Next edition will be hosted by Neuroanthropology on Monday, May 25th. If you can’t wait until to read more, you may be interested in the new in-depth feature, Cognitive Monthly, offered by Cognitive Daily blog for $2/ month. This month’s issue, “The Illusion of Theater,” discusses the “remarkable science behind what theatrical professionals seem, to laypeople, to do intuitively: create an environment that encourages us to believe that what we see on stage is a true representation of reality.”
“7. Doctors and pharmacists will help patients navigate through the overwhelming range of available products and interpret the results of cognitive assessments. This will require significant professional development efforts, given that most doctors today were trained under a very different understanding of the brain than the one we have today.”
The American Medical News, a weekly newspaper for physicians published by the American Medical Association, just published an excellent article along those lines:
Steps to a nimble mind: Physical and mental exercise help keep the brain fit
— Neuroscience is uncovering techniques to prevent cognitive decline.
A few quotes:
- It’s an example that highlights a wave of new thinking about the importance of brain fitness.
- Until recently, conventional wisdom held that our brains were intractable, hard-wired computers. What we were born with was all we got. Age wore down memory and the ability to understand, and few interventions could reverse this process. But increasingly, evidence suggests that physical and mental exercise can alter specific brain regions, making radical improvements in cognitive function.
- With nearly 72 million Americans turning 65 over the next two decades, physicians need the tools to handle growing patient concerns about how to best maintain brain health. Armed with this new brand of science, frontline physicians will be better equipped to address the needs of aging baby boomers, already in the throes of the brain fitness revolution.
- “Encourage them to exercise the brain in novel and complex ways,” he says.
Full article: here
One of the physicians quoted in the article is Gary J. Kennedy, MD, Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC and a professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
To put the AMA article in better perspective for SharpBrains readers, we asked Dr. Kennedy a few follow-up questions. Below you have his questions.
Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Can you summarize how cognitive functions tend to evolve as we age?
Gary Kennedy (GK): As we age cognitive functions that rely on [Read more…] about Physical and mental exercise to prevent cognitive decline
We just received these two very thought-provoking essays on Alzheimer’s Disease and brain health, as part of a writing workshop, led by Susan Hill in Lakeland, Florida, with a group of grade 9–11 homeschoolers.
Without further ado, here you are both Essays:
Essay A. Preventing Alzheimer’s at Work
– By Josh H
5,000,000: that is the number of people in the United States alone who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that those who held jobs such as sanitation workers or trash collectors in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than people who held jobs such as doctors or scientists at the same age. If everyone knew this, the world would benefit, and it could impact the lives of everyone.