Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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:

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 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(TM) 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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About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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