Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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With pharma exiting Alzheimer’s research, new hope (and urgency) seen in the combination of brain training and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

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What does the future hold for the war on Alzheimer’s? (The Globe and Mail):

After spend­ing huge sums on clin­i­cal trails in recent years, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try has failed to find a drug that can halt the mind-rob­bing dis­ease. And this month, Pfiz­er announced it is end­ing its Alzheimer’s research, although oth­er com­pa­nies haven’t thrown in the tow­el yet. But oth­er pre­ven­tion mea­sures are being explored.

Sev­er­al Toron­to hos­pi­tals are involved in an ambi­tious $10-mil­lion, five-year study to deter­mine whether a com­bi­na­tion of cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion – men­tal exer­cis­es – plus elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion of the brain can delay Read the rest of this entry »

Brain training can work when properly targeted…as in this new vision study

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Focus­ing the brain on bet­ter vision (The New York Times):

As adults age, vision dete­ri­o­rates. One com­mon type of decline is in con­trast sen­si­tiv­i­ty, the abil­i­ty to dis­tin­guish gra­da­tions of light to dark, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to dis­cern where one object ends and anoth­er begins.

But new research sug­gests that con­trast sen­si­tiv­i­ty can be improved with brain-train­ing exer­cis­es Read the rest of this entry »

New Summit Sponsor and Partners

We’re delight­ed to add Brain Resource to the ros­ter of Spon­sors of the upcom­ing 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, and the Cen­ter for  Tech­nol­o­gy and Aging and the Brain Injury Asso­ci­a­tion of Cana­da to the ros­ter of Part­ners. Thank you for your sup­port! Read the rest of this entry »

Nintendo Brain Training and Schools

An inter­est­ing recent arti­cle announcesPupils to start day with Nin­ten­do Brain Train­ing(UK’s Dai­ly Tele­graph). Some quotes: Nintendo Brain Age/ Training

- “Chil­dren at 16 pri­ma­ry schools are to start each day by play­ing on a Nin­ten­do games con­sole, it was dis­closed yes­ter­day.”

- “The pupils will play “brain train­ing” exer­cis­es before lessons after a pilot scheme at a school in Dundee found that it boost­ed learn­ing abil­i­ty.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Disease: too serious to play with headlines

Featured Website, Scientific American Mind, June/July 2007

We just came across an arti­cle titled Best Com­put­er Brain Games for Senior Cit­i­zens to Delay Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. The head­line makes lit­tle sci­en­tif­ic sense-and we observe this con­fu­sion often. The arti­cle men­tions a few pro­grams we have dis­cussed often in this blog, such as Posit Sci­ence and Mind­Fit, and oth­ers we haven’t because we haven’t found any pub­lished sci­ence behind, such as Dakim and MyBrain­Train­er. And there are more pro­grams: what about Hap­py Neu­ron, Lumos­i­ty, Spry Learn­ing and Captain’s Log. Not to talk about Nin­ten­do Brain Age, of course.

Some of those pro­grams have real sci­ence that, at best, shows how some spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skills (like mem­o­ry, or atten­tion, or pro­cess­ing) can be trained and improved-no mat­ter the age. This is a very impor­tant mes­sage that hasn’t yet per­co­lat­ed through many brains out there: we know today that com­put­er-based soft­ware pro­grams can be very use­ful to train some cog­ni­tive skills, bet­ter than alter­na­tive meth­ods (paper and pen­cil, class­room-based, just “dai­ly liv­ing”).

Now, no sin­gle pro­gram can make ANY claim that it specif­i­cal­ly delays/ pre­vents Alzheimer’s Dis­ease beyond gen­er­al state­ments such as that Learn­ing Slows Phys­i­cal Pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease (hence the imper­a­tive for life­long learn­ing) and that men­tal stim­u­la­tion-togeth­er with oth­er lifestyle fac­tors such as nutri­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise and stress man­age­ment, as out­lined in these Steps to Improve Your Brain Health- may con­tribute to build a Cog­ni­tive Reserve that may reduce the prob­a­bil­i­ty of prob­lems. Pro­grams may be able to Read the rest of this entry »

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