Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Mediterranean Diet seen to substantially reduce brain shrinkage among older adults

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Less shrink­age: This is your aging brain on the Mediter­ranean diet (Los Ange­les Times):

The aging brain is a shrink­ing brain, and a shrink­ing brain is, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, a brain whose per­for­mance and reac­tion time are declin­ing: That is a harsh real­i­ty of grow­ing old­er.

But new research shows that brain shrink­age is less pro­nounced in old­er folks whose diets Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Long-term meditation can help slow down aging-related brain volume decline

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Long-term med­i­ta­tion tied to less brain loss (Reuters):

Peo­ple who report­ed med­i­tat­ing for an aver­age of 20 years had high­er brain vol­umes than the aver­age per­son, researchers report in Fron­tiers in Psy­chol­o­gy.

Kurth and his col­leagues write that they can’t say med­i­ta­tion caused its prac­ti­tion­ers to lose less brain vol­ume, how­ev­er. Oth­er habits of long-term med­i­ta­tors may also influ­ence brain vol­ume…

Near­ly 18 mil­lion adults and 1 mil­lion chil­dren prac­ticed med­i­ta­tion in the U.S. in 2012, Read the rest of this entry »

Why Managing Stress is Crucial for Brain Fitness

How stress and depres­sion can shrink the brain (Yale News):

Major depres­sion or chron­ic stress can cause the loss of brain vol­ume, a con­di­tion that con­tributes to both emo­tion­al and cog­ni­tive impair­ment. Now a team of researchers led by Yale sci­en­tists has dis­cov­ered one rea­son why this occurs — a sin­gle genet­ic switch that trig­gers loss of brain con­nec­tions in humans and depres­sion in ani­mal models…Duman the­o­rizes that genet­ic vari­a­tions in GATA1 may one day help iden­ti­fy peo­ple at high risk for major depres­sion or sen­si­tiv­i­ty to stress.  “We hope that by enhanc­ing synap­tic con­nec­tions, either with nov­el med­ica­tions or behav­ioral ther­a­py, we can devel­op more effec­tive anti­de­pres­sant ther­a­pies,” Duman said.”

To Learn More:

 

Study: Cognitive Markers or Biomarkers to manage Cognitive Health across the Lifespan?

Pre­dict­ing Alzheimer’s Dis­ease More Accu­rate Through Cog­ni­tive Changes Than Bio­mark­ers (Med­ical News):

  • Mea­sur­ing peo­ple’s changes in cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties is a bet­ter pre­dic­tor of Alzheimer’s dis­ease than changes in bio­mark­ers, researchers from the Ben­i­to Men­ni Com­plex Assis­ten­cial en Salut Men­tal, Barcelona, Spain, report­ed in Archives of Gen­er­al Psy­chi­a­try, a JAMA jour­nal.”
  • The inves­ti­ga­tors used a range of tests to assess Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Let’s move, slow down, innovate, think and play

You have heard that phys­i­cal exer­cise is good for the brain. How much exer­cise are we talk­ing about? Can the ben­e­fits be seen both for chil­dren and adults? In Fit­ter bod­ies = fit­ter brains. True at all ages? Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon answers these ques­tions for you, based on lat­est sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies.

We need fun ways to get out the couch more and exer­cise both phys­i­cal­ly and cog­ni­tive­ly. What about set­ting up com­mu­ni­ty-based adult play­grounds, such as this one in Bei­jing?

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New Brain Health Series

Peo­ple of all ages read SharpBrains.com and this month­ly update, so we are prepar­ing a series of arti­cles on Brain Health across the Lifes­pan. The series will include 4 parts:

  • The Child Brain, pub­lished in Novem­ber 2010
  • The Ado­les­cent Brain, in Decem­ber 2010
  • The Adult Brain, in Jan­u­ary 2011
  • The Aging Brain, in Feb­ru­ary 2011
  • Each part will include sur­pris­ing facts on how the brain works, debunk com­mons myths about cog­ni­tion and brain health, and link to resources such as books and doc­u­men­taries. If you want to read these arti­cles as we pub­lish them via SharpBrains.com, you can fol­low us in Face­book and Twit­ter. Tell your friends and col­leagues about the series!

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    Let’s Move

    Walk­ing increas­es Brain Vol­ume: A recent neu­ro-imag­ing study shows that walk­ing reg­u­larly can increase brain vol­ume and reduce the risks of devel­op­ing cog­ni­tive impair­ment.

    Move to anoth­er Coun­try, to anoth­er Occu­pa­tion: A cou­ple recent stud­ies rein­force the Cog­ni­tive Reserve frame­work that sug­gests we can pro­tect our brains by speak­ing more than one lan­guage and by not retir­ing ear­ly.

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    Let’s Slow Down

    Take that Nap — It May Boost Your Learn­ing Capac­i­ty: Scott Bar­ry Kauf­man tells us why sleep is good for the brain. It turns out that sleep is tied to a bet­ter immune sys­tem, meta­bolic con­trol, mem­ory, learn­ing, cre­ativ­i­ty and emo­tional func­tion­ing.

    Boost your Atten­tion with Med­i­ta­tion: Anoth­er way to slow down is to med­i­tate. Through sum­maries of stud­ies and an inter­view with Dr. New­berg, we dis­cuss how med­i­ta­tion can improve your con­cen­tra­tion skills.

    Train your Brain to Focus on Pos­i­tive Expe­ri­ences: In this arti­cle by the Greater Good Mag­a­zine, Rick Han­son explains the “neg­a­tiv­i­ty bias” of the brain and what steps we can take to rewire our brains for last­ing hap­pi­ness.

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    Let’s Innovate

    If much health care is actu­al­ly evi­dence-free, what type of evi­dence and tools do we need to make real-world progress?: build­ing on a recent OpEd by Peter Orszag, Alvaro Fer­nan­dez asks us to assess the val­ue and lim­i­ta­tions of inno­v­a­tive brain health tools based on how they seem to per­form com­pared to exist­ing alter­na­tives- not com­pared to Pla­ton­ic research ideals. This basic con­cept serves as the foun­da­tion of the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion.

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    Let’s Think

    Cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion helps Alzheimer’s patients: Anoth­er sci­en­tif­ic review shows that pro­grams focus­ing on glob­al cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease by 5 years. The authors con­clude that efforts to devel­op and imple­ment cog­ni­tive-based inter­ven­tion for the treat­ment of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease must be pur­sued.

    The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: In his new book, Dr. Gary Small describes how the onset of brain health prob­lems may resem­ble a brain fog, mak­ing the role of the physi­cian and the care­giv­er par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant.

    Have you read The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg?: if so, please take 5 min­utes to answer this brief sur­vey. Your feed­back will ensure that future edi­tions are even more rel­e­vant and valu­able. If you haven’t read it yet, you can learn more and order here.

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    Let’s Play: Top 10 Illusions

    Are you ready to expe­ri­ence our selec­tion of Visu­al Illu­sions? See if you can trust your brain…enjoy these Top 10 Visu­al Illu­sions..

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    About SharpBrains

    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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