Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Transcript: Dr. Gary Small on Enhancing Memory and the Brain

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:

2:55
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?
2:57
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 the rest of this entry »

Debunking 10 Cognitive Health and Fitness Myths

As part of the research behind the book The Sharp­Brains Guide for Brain Fit­ness we inter­viewed dozens of lead­ing cog­ni­tive health and fit­ness sci­en­tists and experts world­wide to learn about their research and thoughts, and have a num­ber of take-aways to report.

What Santiago Ramon y Cajal can we clear­ly say today that we couldn’t have said only 10 years ago? That what neu­ro­science pio­neer San­ti­a­go Ramon y Cajal claimed in the XX cen­tu­ry, “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculp­tor his own brain”, may well become real­i­ty in the XXI.

And trans­form Edu­ca­tion, Health, Train­ing, and Gam­ing in the process, since Read the rest of this entry »

News on physical, cognitive and emotional fitness

Brain Health NewsNice week­end read­ing mate­r­i­al — recent news reiforc­ing emerg­ing trends on phys­i­cal, cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al fit­ness, but with new twists.

Fit teens could be smarter teens

Researchers from Swe­den and USC exam­ined data on 1.2 mil­lion Swedish men born between 1950 and 1976 who also enlist­ed for the country’s manda­to­ry mil­i­tary ser­vice. They looked at the par­tic­i­pants’ glob­al intel­li­gence scores as well as log­i­cal, visu­ospa­tial, ver­bal and tech­ni­cal scores. The greater the car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness, the high­er the cog­ni­tive scores at age 18. The asso­ci­a­tion between mus­cle strength and glob­al intel­li­gence, in con­trast, was weak.”

UPMC Health Plan Offers Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware to Improve Health

UPMC Health Plan announced today that it has signed an agree­ment to offer award-win­ning brain fit­ness soft­ware from Posit Sci­ence®, at no cost, to all UPMC for Life Medicare Advan­tage mem­bers. This brain train­ing pro­gram is a new part of the UPMC Health Plan well­ness ser­vices, which focus on both mind and body fit­ness.

The brain fit­ness soft­ware, known as the Insight™ Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram, is a suite of five game-like com­put­er exer­cis­es that make brain train­ing chal­leng­ing and effec­tive. The pro­gram engages the brain’s nat­ur­al plas­tic­i­ty (the brain’s abil­i­ty to rewire itself) to improve basic brain func­tion.”

Brain-fit­ness indus­try grows as baby-boomers work to stay sharp.

When we’re younger we’re learn­ing quite inten­sive­ly,” she said. “By mid­dle age, we’re not learn­ing inten­sive­ly any­more and just using skills we’ve already mas­tered. That’s why it’s impor­tant to stretch your brain.”

Brain fit­ness games also have the poten­tial to improve one’s emo­tion­al health, said Mark Bald­win, a psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty in Mon­tre­al.

Bald­win has devel­oped a num­ber of com­put­er games based on keep­ing a brain active phys­i­o­log­i­cal­ly, to improve it psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly.

It’s about prac­tis­ing or using games to train ben­e­fi­cial habits of thought, ” he said.

Corporate Wellness Programs start to include Brain Health

Brain-fit­ness games join work­place, as well as senior cen­ter, arse­nals (Mar­ket­Watch)

- “Con­sumers and retire­ment homes have made brain-fit­ness games and exer­cis­es a com­mer­cial hit, but now some insur­ers and employ­ers are incor­po­rat­ing them into well­ness pro­grams that pro­mote health not just for the body but also for the mind.”

- “Improv­ing brain health can result in less pre­sen­teeism, the ten­den­cy to be at work but be dis­tract­ed and not able to focus,” he added. “If you look at dis­abil­i­ty costs, absen­teeism and pre­sen­teeism account for most of the med­ical costs, and that’s a good rea­son for employ­ers to be focused on brain health.” (accord­ing to Dr. Eugene Bak­er, vice pres­i­dent at OptumHealth’s Behav­ioral Solu­tions divi­sion)”

The arti­cle reviews inno­v­a­tive prac­tices at OptumHealth, Nation­wide Auto Insur­ance Com­pa­ny, Humana, Penn Treaty Amer­i­can Corp, All­state, and the US Army. I am glad to see the media start to notice the impor­tance of cog­ni­tive assess­ments and the grow­ing activ­i­ty by insur­ers. Read the rest of this entry »

Announcing the Premium Research Sponsors program

Have you ever won­dered how we can main­tain Sharp­Brains web­site, blog and newslet­ter with­out sell­ing any prod­uct and with only lim­it­ed adver­tis­ing? Peo­ple often ask us that ques­tion, espe­cial­ly once we explain that we don’t sell prod­ucts (sell­ing prod­ucts would present a con­flict of inter­est giv­en our mis­sion to “pro­vide indi­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and insti­tu­tions with high-qual­i­ty, research-based, infor­ma­tion and guid­ance to nav­i­gate the grow­ing cog­ni­tive and brain fit­ness mar­ket”.)

The answer is, we offer pro­pri­etary mar­ket research and advi­so­ry ser­vices to orga­ni­za­tions such as these. They want to ful­ly under­stand emerg­ing Brain Fit­ness and Cog­ni­tive Health trends, oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges, in order to make bet­ter-informed deci­sions. Exam­ples:

- lead­ing health­care providers eval­u­at­ing cog­ni­tive assess­ment and train­ing options.
uni­ver­si­ties and research cen­ters try­ing to bridge brain research and prac­tice.
devel­op­ers of tech­nolo­gies that help assess and/ or train cog­ni­tive func­tions who want a bet­ter view of mar­ket size, trends and the com­pet­i­tive land­scape.
con­sult­ing and train­ing com­pa­nies inter­est­ed in under­stand­ing mar­ket trends to scope their own poten­tial offer­ings.
ven­ture cap­i­tal firms look­ing for invest­ment ideas and due dili­gence on existing/ poten­tial deals.

We chose to focus our efforts on pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty mar­ket research and advi­so­ry ser­vices giv­en the grow­ing con­fu­sion in the mar­ket­place and the need for an inde­pen­dent and qual­i­fied source of infor­ma­tion, mar­ket data and best prac­tices. The brain fit­ness soft­ware field (defined as soft­ware appli­ca­tions that help assess or train cog­ni­tive func­tions) is pro­ject­ed to exceed $2B by 2015, fueled by an increas­ing amount of applied research on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and cog­ni­tion; a rapid­ly evolv­ing mar­ket­place of prod­ucts mak­ing cog­ni­tive claims; and grow­ing con­sumer and insti­tu­tion­al demand. Large and small orga­ni­za­tions are already tak­ing the first steps to lever­age those tech­nolo­gies.

We are now launch­ing a new Pre­mi­um Research Spon­sors pro­gram to part­ner with pio­neer­ing orga­ni­za­tions who want to col­lab­o­rate with us to shape the future of 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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