Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Math Brain Teaser: How to Choose a Mans Shirt

You have been invited to an important fundraising gala at your old college and decided that this black-tie event demands a short collar super white Italian shirt, like the one you bought years ago for your wedding. When you bravely tried the wedding shirt on (size 16), your wife noted that the collar suffocates you and you need about 1/4″ more space everywhere in-between your neck and the collar all around your neck. What size shirt do you need to buy?  In case you don’t know the shirt size 16 means that a tape wrapped around your neck and two fingers positioned flat upfront will measure 16 inches.

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Math Brain Teaser: Unfinished Thesis

You are spending the summer polishing your thesis in the university library. Every day you take the escalator into the subway, turn right and catch a train going up North to the university. One day you realize that the trains on your left going in the opposite direction can bring you to the beach. It is summer and nothing is wrong with some leisure. You carefully calculate that even if you spend half of the remaining summer vacation in the library it should be enough to finish the thesis. You decide to spice up your summer by Read the rest of this entry »

Math Brain Teaser for Kids and Adults: Archimedes Grave

(Editor’s Note: every other Friday, starting today, we’ll publish a brain teaser to exercise our brains a bit. Here you have one submitted by new contributor Maria Lando. Enjoy!).
Archimedes made a plenitude of significant scientific discoveries throughout his life. He designed machines capable of lifting attacking ships out of the water as well as mirror arrays capable of focusing sun rays and setting enemy ships on fire. He explained why and how bodies float in the water, helping the king verify that his crown is indeed made out of pure gold. He was fascinated with infinity and found the way of approximating the number Pi as well as counting the number of grains of sand that will fit inside the universe. He died telling a Roman soldier that he is too busy to meet a general as he was contemplating yet another mathematical diagram.  His tomb was decorated with his favorite discovery …. What do you think it is?

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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 »

Michael Merzenich: Brain Plasticity offers Hope for Everyone

“Whatever you struggle with in a sense as it stems from your neurology, the inherent plasticity of the brain gives you a basis for improvement. This is a way underutilized and under-appreciated resource that well all have.” Dr. Michael Merzenich on the Brain Science Podcast #54, 2/13/09.

Recently there has been growing controversy about the effectiveness of computer-based cognitive training programs. As a co-founder of Posit Science, Inc. Dr. Michael Merzenich is a staunch defender of the methods his company uses to validate the programs that they have developed. But for the purposes of this essay, I want to share some of the key ideas we discussed during his recent interview on the Brain Science Podcast.

First of all, I asked him to discuss some of the highlights of his long career. Since he was one of the first neuroscientists to embrace the concepts of neuroplasticity I was curious about how this came about. While he did have some exposure to the animal evidence as a graduate student, it was actually his experience with the invention of the cochlear implant that convinced Dr. Merzenich of the real-world, practical implications of brain plasticity. The quality of the Read the rest of this entry »

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