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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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New and great book by Steven Pinker reminds us that Technology is not destroying our Minds (but there’s always more Enlightened ways to harness it)

5 signs the world’s improv­ing, accord­ing to Bill Gates’s new favorite book ever (Mar­ket Watch):

Bill Gates has long been a huge fan of Har­vard psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker and his book, “The Bet­ter Angels of Our Nature: Why Vio­lence Has Declined.” In fact, last year the Microsoft founder hailed it as the most inspir­ing book he has ever read, and he urged col­lege grads to read it.

Well, Pinker appar­ent­ly has man­aged to top him­self with his new book, “Enlight­en­ment Now,” which is “like ‘Bet­ter Angels’ on steroids,” accord­ing to Gates … As a taster of what to expect, here are five facts that Gates list­ed as his favorite from the book Read the rest of this entry »

Who Says This is The Classroom of the Future?

The New York Times has recent­ly pub­lished sev­er­al very good and seem­ing­ly unre­lat­ed articles…let’s try and con­nect some dots. What if we ques­tioned the very premise behind nam­ing some class­rooms the “class­rooms of the future” sim­ply because they have been adding tech­nol­o­gy in lit­er­al­ly mind­less ways? What if the Edu­ca­tion of the Future (some­times also referred to as “21st Cen­tu­ry Skills”) wasn’t so much about the How we edu­cate but about the What we want stu­dents to learn and devel­op, apply­ing what we know about mind and brain to the needs they are like­ly to face dur­ing the next 50–70 years of their lives? Read the rest of this entry »

Learning with Video Games: A Revolution in Education and Training?

In recent years, we have wit­nessed the begin­nings of a rev­o­lu­tion in edu­ca­tion.  Tech­nol­o­gy has fun­da­men­tal­ly altered the way we do many things in dai­ly life, but it is just start­ing to make head­way in chang­ing the way we teach.  Just as tele­vi­sion shows like Sesame Street enhanced the pas­sive learn­ing of infor­ma­tion for kids by teach­ing in a fun for­mat, elec­tron­ic games offer to great­ly enhance the way kids and adults are taught by active­ly engag­ing them in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Rules: science and practice

Inter­est­ed a good, non-tech­ni­cal, sum­ma­ry of the impli­ca­tions of recent brain sci­ence in Brain Rules-John Medinaour dai­ly lives? Biol­o­gist John Med­i­na offers that in his arti­cle below (as part of our Author Speaks Series) and in his new book: Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School. Enjoy!

(Note: John will be in the Bay Area on April 8 and 9th, speak­ing at Google and San Jose Rotary).

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Brain Rules

– By John Med­i­na

Go ahead and mul­ti­ply the num­ber 8,388,628 x 2 in your head. Can you do it in a few sec­onds? There is a young man who can dou­ble that num­ber 24 times in the space of a few sec­onds. He gets it right every time. There is a boy who can tell you the exact time of day at any moment, even in his sleep. There is a girl who can cor­rect­ly deter­mine the exact dimen­sions of an object 20 feet away. There is a child who at age 6 drew such life­like and pow­er­ful pic­tures, she got her own show at a gallery on Madi­son Avenue. Yet none of these chil­dren could be taught to tie their shoes. Indeed, none of them have an IQ greater than 50.

The brain is an amaz­ing thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mild cognitive impairment and Memory Problems: exciting new research

Very quick post: just want to alert you of 2 news pieces on MCI and Alzheimer’s pre­ven­tion-relat­ed research.

Fre­quent Brain Stim­u­la­tion In Old Age Reduces Risk Of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease

  • The study found a cog­ni­tive­ly active per­son in old age was 2.6 times less like­ly to devel­op demen­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease than a cog­ni­tive­ly inac­tive per­son in old age. This asso­ci­a­tion remained after con­trol­ling for past cog­ni­tive activ­i­ty, life­time socioe­co­nom­ic sta­tus, and cur­rent social and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.”
  • Wil­son says the study also found fre­quent cog­ni­tive activ­i­ty dur­ing old age, such as vis­it­ing a library or attend­ing a play, was asso­ci­at­ed with reduced risk of mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, a tran­si­tion­al stage between nor­mal aging and demen­tia, and less rapid decline in cog­ni­tive func­tion.”

Stress Linked to Mem­o­ry Decline

  • If you want your mind to stay healthy into your gold­en years, don’t wor­ry, be hap­py. That could be the mes­sage of new research that shows those prone to wor­ry, anx­i­ety or depres­sion are more like­ly to devel­op mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment (MCI), a con­di­tion often con­sid­ered a pre­cur­sor to the more-debil­i­tat­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease.”
  • MCI is now rec­og­nized as a very ear­ly sign of incip­i­ent Alzheimer’s dis­ease,” said Robert S. Wil­son, lead author of the study and a neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Cen­ter in Chica­go. “We found that among healthy elder­ly peo­ple with­out evi­dence of cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion at the begin­ning of the study, chron­ic dis­tress pre­dict­ed the devel­op­ment of MCI.”
  • This is con­sis­tent with 20 years of lit­er­a­ture on the sub­ject,” added Dr. Sam Gandy, chair­man of the Alzheimer’s Association’s med­ical and sci­en­tif­ic advi­so­ry coun­cil and direc­tor of the Far­ber Insti­tute for Neu­ro­sciences at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty in Philadel­phia.”

What to do? well, you can check out these Easy Steps to Improve Your Brain Health Now. And check this nice arti­cle on New men­tal exer­cis­es, games can keep aging minds fit.

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