Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Update: Know Thyself, Know How Your Brain Works

What is working memory, and why it matters? Can we multi-task as good as we seem to assume? What should we all know about how our brains work, and why?

We hope you enjoy this August eNewsletter, featuring six distinguished contributors who answer those questions, and more. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this free Brain Fitness eNewsletter by email, using the box in the right column.

Know Thyself

Why working memory matters in the knowledge age: As Dr. Tracy Alloway points out, one way to visualize working memory is as the brain’s “Post-it Notes” — we make mental scribbles of bits of information we need to remember and work with. Without enough working memory we cannot function as a society or as individuals. Learn more by participating in this study launched by Dr. Alloway’s team in conjunction with the British Science Festival.

What should everyone learn about the brain?: Dr. Jo Ellen Roseman and Mary Koppel from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) discuss recent recommendations on what all students should know. Not just the basics of brain structure and function, but also a good understanding of mental health—such as the mind/body relationship, factors that shape behavior, ways of coping with mental distress, and the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.


Pooling data to accelerate Alzheimer’s research: A good article in the New York Times presents the reasons behind growing research of how to detect Alzheimer’s Disease. A pilot study shows how computerized cognitive training may help reduce falls among elderly. recommends The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness in a thought-provoking mix.

Beyond News

Needed: funding for innovative research on slowing cognitive decline via cognitive training: SharpBrains reader and UK researcher Nick Almond shares a note debunking the so-called BBC brain training experiment  and outlining the type of research he and colleagues at Leeds University deem necessary.

Long-term effects of neurofeedback treatment for ADHD: Dr. David Rabiner reviews the 6-month follow-up of a scientific study on whether neurofeedback can help kids with attention deficits, finding that benefits indeed remained 6 months after treatment had ended. Given, however, that only around 50% of children showed benefits, it is important to regard this tool as part of a multimodal treat­ment program.

Brain Teaser

Test your attentional focus and multi-tasking: How often do you read a document while talking on the phone with a client? Or think about your problems at work while helping your child with his homework? Human attention is limited, and we need to manage it well, as shown in this teaser prepared by Dr. Pascale Michelon.

Have a great September. And, should you happen to be in Barcelona, Spain, on September 14th, make sure to attend Alvaro Fernandez talk there titled “How and Why Digital Technology Will Transform Education, Training and Brain Health“.

Brain Fitness Survey: We Need More Brain Awareness Weeks!

If you subscribe to our monthly newsletter, you may remember we ran a survey in January. Well, the response rate and the quality of the responses were nothing short of spectacular, in many dimensions. The responses from over 2,000 participants (out of 21,000 subscribers) reinforce the need for public awareness initiatives and quality information to help evaluate and navigate product claims.

I have been presenting the results from one of the questions (see below), yesterday at the ASA/ NCOA (American Society on Aging) event, today at IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association), as part of more comprehensive presentations of what is going on in the brain fitness and cognitive health field.

An obvious implication for the survey result reinforces the need for brain-related public awareness campaigns such as the ongoing Brain Awareness Week. Every year, landmark research findings open new opportunities to help maintain lifelong cognitive health and brain fitness. The opportunity is immense – but we will need to ensure the marketplace matures in a rational and sustainable manner, helping consumers and professionals separate hope from hype and make informed decisions.

Robin Klaus, Chairman of Club One Fitness Centers (the company is a client, he is an advisor), just gave us a nice quote saying that “as our population ages the fields of physical fitness and brain fitness will naturally merge and, as this happens, a whole new field of valued added services will emerge for our members. High quality informational resources such as SharpBrains’ are crucial to the success of this merger.”

The Survey: Results to Key Question

Asked, “What is the most important problem you see in the brain fitness field and how do you think it can be solved?” respondents identified the following six problems in rank order:

#1: Public Awareness (39%)
– “Getting people to understand that heredity alone does not decide brain functioning.”
– “An expectant public will first want to believe that a “miracle” drug is to be soon available (to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease).”

#2: Navigating Claims (21%)
– “How to separate marketing hype from stuff that really works?”
– “The lack of standards and clear definitions is very confusing, and makes a lot of people sceptical.”

#3: Research (15%)
– “Determining what activities are most beneficial to Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Update: Why We Need Walking Book Clubs

Here you are have the twice-a-month newsletter with our most popular blog posts. Please brainremember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, simply by submitting your email at the top of this page.


CNN: Aging boomers fuel ‘brain fitness’ explosion: An excellent article via Associated Press exploring why the brain fitness market passed a tipping point in 2007 and predicting future trends building on our market report.

Brain Age: Great Game, Wrong Concept: One reason why we believe the field will keep growing is because we are seeing more tools available than ever before to assess and train a variety of cognitive skills. The bad news (is this really news?) is that we shouldn’t be expecting magic pills and that “brain age” is a fiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Health/ Brain Fitness Resources

Good morning, and Happy Father’s Day to those in the US and a good number of other countries (see Wikipedia entry).

Let me share today this collection of informative and free Resources on how to improve/ brain scanmaintain top brain health and performance:

Brain Fitness Newsletter: our twice-a-month newsletter, written by SharpBrains staff and over a dozen guest neuroscientists, health professionals and educators, provides an informed, engaging and comprehensive window into Cognitive Fitness and Brain Health news.

Glossary: key scientific concepts on Cognition and Brain Fitness.

Neuroscience Interview Series: During the last 18 months I have interviewed over 15 cutting-edge neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists on their research and thoughts.

Author Speaks Series: platform for leading scientists and experts writing high-quality brain-related books to reach a wide audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Brain Fitness Seminars

Here you are have the bi-monthly update with our 10 most Popular blog posts. (Also, remember that you can subscribe to receive our RSS feed, or to our newsletter, at the top of this page, if you want to receive this digest by email).Crossword Puzzles Brain fitness

We hope you have some time to share with us today. Just came back from a superb event on Brain Health Across the Lifespan…and many stimulating things are happening in the world of brain fitness.

News and Events

Exercise your brain in the Cognitive Age: The New York Times published two thought-provoking articles on brain and cognitive fitness, one of them featuring SharpBrains.

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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