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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Alzheimer’s Early and Accurate Diagnosis: Normal Aging vs. Alzheimer’s Disease

(Edi­tor’s Note: I recent­ly came across an excel­lent book and resource, The Alzheimer’s Alzheimer's Disease Action PlanAction Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diag­no­sis and Treat­ment for Mem­o­ry Prob­lems, just released in paper­back. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, one of the authors and lead­ing Alzheimer’s expert, kind­ly helped us cre­ate a 2‑part arti­cle series to share with Sharp­Brains read­ers advice on a very impor­tant ques­tion, “How can we help the pub­lic at large to dis­tin­guish Alzheimer’s Dis­ease from nor­mal aging — so that an inter­est in ear­ly iden­ti­fi­ca­tion does­n’t trans­late into unneed­ed wor­ries?” What fol­lows is an excerpt from the book, pages 3–8).

Jane, fifty-sev­en, man­aged a large sales force. She prid­ed her­self on being good at names, and intro­duc­tions were easy for her—until last spring when she referred to Bar­bara as Bet­ty at a meet­ing and had to cor­rect her­self. She start­ed notic­ing that her mem­o­ry wasn’t as depend­able as it once was—she had to real­ly try to remem­ber names and dates. Her moth­er had devel­oped Alzheimer’s in her late sev­en­ties, so Jane enter­tained a wide array of wor­ries: Is this just aging? Is it because of menopause? Is it ear­ly Alzheimer’s? Did her cowork­ers or fam­i­ly notice her slips? Should she ask them? Should she see a doc­tor, and if so, which doc­tor? Would she real­ly want to know if she was get­ting Alzheimer’s? Would she lose her job, health insur­ance, or friends if she did have Alzheimer’s?

As it turns out, Jane did not have Alzheimer’s. She con­sult­ed a doc­tor, who, in doc­s­peak, told her that the pas­sage of time (get­ting old­er) had tak­en a slight toll on her once-superquick mem­o­ry. She was slow­ing down a lit­tle, and if she relaxed, the name or date or oth­er bit of infor­ma­tion she need­ed would come to her soon enough. She was still good at her job and home life. She had sim­ply joined the ranks of the wor­ried well.

Nor­mal brain aging, begin­ning as ear­ly as the for­ties in some peo­ple, may include:

  • Tak­ing longer to learn or remem­ber infor­ma­tion
  • Hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty pay­ing atten­tion or con­cen­trat­ing in the midst of dis­trac­tions
  • For­get­ting such basics as an anniver­sary or the names of friends
  • Need­ing more reminders or mem­o­ry cues, such as promi­nent appoint­ment cal­en­dars, reminder notes, a phone with a well­stocked speed dial

Although they may need some assis­tance, old­er peo­ple with­out a men­tal dis­or­der retain their abil­i­ty to do their errands, han­dle mon­ey, find their way to famil­iar areas, and behave appro­pri­ate­ly.

How does this com­pare to a per­son with Alzheimer’s? When Alzheimer’s slows the brain’s machin­ery, peo­ple begin to lose their abil­i­ty to Read the rest of this entry »

Top 30 Brain Health and Fitness Articles of 2008

Here brain teasers job interview you have Sharp­Brains’ 30 most pop­u­lar arti­cles, ranked by the num­ber of peo­ple who have read each arti­cle in 2008.

Please note that, since the first arti­cle already includes most of our most pop­u­lar brain teasers, we have exclud­ed teasers from the rest of the rank­ing. (If those 50 are not enough for you, you can also try these brain teasers).

Blog Chan­nel
Arti­cle
1. Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games to Test your Brain
It is always good to stim­u­late our minds and to learn a bit about how our brains work. Here you have a selec­tion of the 50 Brain Teasers that peo­ple have enjoyed the most.
2. The Ten Habits of High­ly Effec­tive Brains
Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can fol­low to main­tain, and improve, our vibrant brains. My favorite: don’t out­source your brain (even to us).
3. Why do You Turn Down the Radio When You’re Lost?
You’re dri­ving through sub­ur­bia one evening look­ing for the street where you’re sup­posed to have din­ner at a friend’s new house. You slow down to a crawl, turn down the radio, stop talk­ing, and stare at every sign. Why is that? Nei­ther the radio nor talk­ing affects your vision. Or do they?
4. Brain Plas­tic­i­ty: How learn­ing changes your brain
You may have heard that the brain is plas­tic. As you know the brain is not made of plas­tic! Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty or brain plas­tic­i­ty refers to the brain’s abil­i­ty to CHANGE through­out life.
5. Top 10 Brain Train­ing Future Trends
In an emerg­ing mar­ket like brain fit­ness train­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to make pre­cise pro­jec­tions. But, we can observe a num­ber of trends that exec­u­tives, con­sumers, pub­lic pol­i­cy mak­ers, and the media should watch close­ly in the com­ing years, as brain fit­ness and train­ing becomes main­stream, new tools appear, and an ecosys­tem grows around it.

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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