Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yes­ter­day on holis­tic brain health with clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Paul Nuss­baum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

Scientia Pro Publica: Answers to 28 popular and not-so-popular questions

Wel­come to the XL edi­tion of Sci­en­tia Pro Pub­lica (or, since we are try­ing to speak Eng­lish, the 40th edi­tion of “Sci­ence for the Peo­ple”), the rotat­ing blog car­ni­val that show­cases the finest sci­ence, med­ical and envi­ron­ment writ­ing pub­lished in the blo­gos­phere.

Quick now — ask a ques­tion, any ques­tion, that comes to mind. Chances are some­one in this excel­lent ros­ter of sci­ence blog­gers has antic­i­pat­ed it and pro­vid­ed an answer below. Enjoy!

About our­selves

  1. Why do I feel bet­ter after I exer­cise (pic: brain­blog­ger)
  2. Can thought­ful blog­ging and read­ing build brain reserve and delay demen­tia
  3. What’s the bor­der­line between high and low func­tion­ing — autism research exam­ples
  4. Can we learn to mul­ti-task more effec­tive­ly
  5. Should you mind your brain

About our bod­ies Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Retooling Use It or Lose It at New York Public Library

Here you have the Sep­tem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health Brain Fitnessand brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

In the cur­rent edi­tion of The Jour­nal on Active Aging, I dis­cuss why we need to Retool “Use it or lose it”, and why rou­tine, doing things inside our com­fort zones, is the most com­mon ene­my of the nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge our brains need. You can read the full arti­cle for free Here.

Book Tour

We are glad to report that The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness con­tin­ues to obtain excel­lent endorse­ments:

This is the only book that I know of that seam­less­ly inte­grates lat­est infor­ma­tion about cog­ni­tive health across the lifes­pan. Very use­ful to any­one inter­est­ed in brain care.”

–Arthur Kramer, Ph. D., Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­o­gy at Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois

…we now have a rock sol­id primer on brain health that we can rec­om­mend with confidence…I found it par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive to start the book with a list of ten brain myths that need debunk­ing.”
–Michael C. Pat­ter­son, for­mer Man­ag­er NRTA/ Stay­ing Sharp at AARP

The offi­cial book tour starts this week, and includes New York Pub­lic Library!
09/08: Club One Fit­ness Cen­ter, Petaluma, CA
09/09: San Fran­cis­co State Uni­ver­si­ty OLLI
09/11: ASA Brain Health Day, Oak­land, CA
09/23: New York Pub­lic Library, Bronx Library Cen­ter
09/25: New York Pub­lic Library, Stephen Schwarz­man Build­ing
10/06, Smart­Sil­vers MIT North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Palo Alto, CA
10/14: UC-Berke­ley OLLI, CA

You can find all the details here. If you haven’t read the book yet, you can order it via Ama­zon Here (print book) or Here (Kin­dle edi­tion). Or ask your local book­store or library.

Brain Reserve

Edu­ca­tion AND Life­long Cog­ni­tive Activ­i­ties Delay Mem­o­ry Loss: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon reports how a recent fol­low-up to the Bronx Aging Study, where 488 ini­tial­ly healthy adults have been tracked over 20 years, shows that every addi­tion­al cog­ni­tive “activ­i­ty day” (par­tic­i­pat­ing in one activ­i­ty for one day a week) helps delay for about two months the onset of rapid mem­o­ry loss as we grow old­er.
Need ideas for extra activ­i­ties?

Chang­ing our Minds…by Read­ing Fic­tion: What about get­ting a nov­el in your hands (or writ­ing one)? By imag­in­ing many pos­si­ble worlds, argues psy­chol­o­gist Kei­th Oat­ley, fic­tion gives us the sur­prise which can help expand our under­stand­ing of our­selves and the social world.

Sharp­Brains Fan Page in Face­book: What about par­tic­i­pat­ing in our new Fan Page at Face­book? You can not only receive lat­est updates but com­ment on your favorite arti­cles and teasers, and dis­cuss your own ideas and resources.

Med­ica­tion and Train­ing

Cog­ni­tive Enhance­ment via Phar­ma­col­o­gy AND Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy: our co-founder Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg inte­grates three appar­ent­ly sep­a­rate worlds ‑cog­ni­tive enhance­ment via drugs, brain fit­ness train­ing soft­ware, com­put­er­ized neu­rocog­ni­tive assessments‑, in a much updat­ed new edi­tion of his book The Exec­u­tive Brain.

Com­par­ing Cog­ni­tive Train­ing & Med­ica­tion Treat­ment for ADHD: a recent study shows that work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing improves work­ing mem­o­ry more than stim­u­lant med­ica­tion treat­ment-and ben­e­fits per­sist longer. Does this mat­ter?, Does this mean train­ing is bet­ter than med­ica­tion for kids with atten­tion deficits?  Dr. David Rabin­er dis­sects the study search­ing for answers.

Inno­va­tion

AAA to deploy Dri­ve­Sharp: Peter Kissinger, CEO of the AAA Foun­da­tion, explains why the cur­rent sys­tem of dri­ver licens­ing is inad­e­quate and incon­sis­tent, why AAA is rec­om­mend­ing old­er dri­vers use a new cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram, and why he believes insur­ance com­pa­nies will soon start to offer brain train­ing to their mem­bers.

Sharp­Brains Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion: in order to help lead­ers of the brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health com­mu­ni­ty learn, con­nect and col­lab­o­rate, Sharp­Brains has cre­at­ed a vir­tu­al LinkedIn net­work for clients. The net­work will be for­mal­ly launched with a webi­nar on Sep­tem­ber 29th that will dis­cuss The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket in 2009. For orga­ni­za­tions that want to order the report, attend the webi­nar, and join the net­work, more infor­ma­tion is avail­able Here.

Brain Teas­er

Brain Quiz: Do You Have a Brain?: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon dares you to answer these 10 ques­tions cor­rect­ly to prove that you have a brain.

Enjoy!

Education builds Cognitive Reserve for Alzheimers Disease Protection

Giv­en the grow­ing media cov­er­age men­tion­ing the terms Cog­ni­tive Reserve and Brain Reserve, you may be ask­ing your­self, “What exact­ly is my Cog­ni­tive (or Brain) Reserve?”

The cog­ni­tive reserve hypoth­e­sis, test­ed in mul­ti­ple stud­ies, states that indi­vid­u­als with more cog­ni­tive reserve can expe­ri­ence more Alzheimer’s dis­ease pathol­o­gy in the brain (more plaques and tan­gles) with­out devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease symp­toms.

How does that work? Sci­en­tists are not sure but two pos­si­bil­i­ties are con­sid­ered.
1. One is that more cog­ni­tive reserve means more brain reserve, that is more neu­rons and con­nec­tions (synaps­es) between neu­rons. Indi­vid­u­als with more synaps­es would then have more synaps­es to lose before the crit­i­cal thresh­old for Alzheimer’s Dis­ease is reached.
2. Anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty is that more cog­ni­tive reserve means more com­pen­sato­ry process­es. The brain of indi­vid­u­als with more cog­ni­tive reserve would use more alter­na­tive net­works to com­pen­sate for the dam­ages caused by the pathol­o­gy in pre­vi­ous­ly used net­works.

In a new­ly pub­lished study, Roe and col­leagues brain fitness event from Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in St. Louis, used the num­ber of years of edu­ca­tion as a mea­sure of cog­ni­tive reserve. Why years of edu­ca­tion? Because pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that peo­ple who have more edu­ca­tion also exhib­it a greater resis­tance to Alzheimer’s symp­toms, even while patho­log­i­cal changes are occur­ring in the brain (see Ben­nett el al., 2003 or Roe, Xiong, et al., 2008).

Roe and her col­leagues stud­ied 198 indi­vid­u­als whose mean age was 67. Out of these 198 indi­vid­u­als, 161 were non­de­ment­ed and 37 were diag­nosed with Alzheimer’s Dis­ease.

All the par­tic­i­pants in the study took a Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Global Consortium for Neurocognitive Fitness Innovation

As men­tioned before, the World Eco­nom­ic Forum asked me to write “an 800 words sum­ma­ry of your most com­pelling action­able idea on the chal­lenges of geron­tol­ogy”, in prepa­ra­tion for the Inau­gur­al Sum­mit of the Glob­al Agen­da that will take place Novem­ber 7 to 9th in Dubai.A good num­ber of Sharp­Brains read­ers and clients offered their insights — and expressed an inter­est in read­ing the draft. So below you have — a pro­pos­al to cre­ate a Glob­al Con­sor­tium for Neu­rocog­ni­tive Fit­ness Inno­va­tion, build­ing on our exist­ing mar­ket research and advi­so­ry ser­vices work. Your thoughts?

—–

The Con­text

Grow­ing Demands on Our Brains: Pic­ture 6.7 bil­lion Prim­i­tive Brains inhab­it­ing a Knowl­edge Soci­ety where life­long learn­ing and mas­ter­ing con­stant change in com­plex envi­ron­ments are crit­i­cal for pro­duc­tive work, health and per­son­al ful­fill­ment.

Wel­come to Plan­et Earth, 2008.

Fur­ther stretched by increased longevi­ty: Now pic­ture close to 1 bil­lion of those brains over the age of 60 – and please remem­ber that, less than 100 years ago, life expectan­cy was between 30 to 40 years. The rapid­ly evolv­ing Knowl­edge Soci­ety is plac­ing new and enor­mous demands on our “prim­i­tive” human brains. And the longer our lifes­pans, the more obvi­ous the “cog­ni­tive gap”. Hence, from a health point of view, the grow­ing 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,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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