Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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).


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.

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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