As part of our ongoing market research we’d like to ask past and current users of CogniFit products to share their experience with us via this 3‑question anonymous survey. Please take this survey if you have used a CogniFit product yourself or have seen someone else use it. [Read more…] about CogniFit: Brain Training Product Review Survey
In this January issue of our eNewsletter, we will first brief you on the enlightening demos that will take place on Wednesday, January 20th, as part of the SharpBrains Summit, and then present the 15 most stimulating SharpBrains articles of 2009.
If you want to see and discuss the latest programs and technologies for brain fitness, presented by Summit Sponsors, Wednesday January 20th is your day. Each demo will last 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.
9am. Baycrest/ Cogniciti will introduce the new Memory@Work workshop, designed to teach what memory is, how lifestyle factors such as distraction and stress can affect memory, and how to enhance memory performance at work with the use of enabling strategies.
10am. CogniFit will demo CogniFit Personal Coach and CogniFit Senior Driver, two online programs designed to assess and main cognitive functions for healthy living and safe driving, respectively.
11am. Posit Science will demo InSight, a software-based cognitive training package designed to sharpen brain’s visual system. This is the program being tested by Allstate for safer driving.
Noon. Happy Neuron will introduce HAPPYneuron PRO, a new platform for professionals for the effective delivery and management of cognitive remediation and rehabilitation programs in a patient centric manner.
1pm. SharpBrains will help navigate this growing field by discussing The State of the Brain Fitness Software 2009 report and The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness consumer guide, and summarizing key Summit take-aways.
Learn more and register HERE. Please remember that registration closes on January 17th.
We want to thank our most recent sponsor, the Arrowsmith Program, a comprehensive suite of cognitive programs for students with learning disabilities available in public and private schools in Canada and the U.S. More information here.
And now, let’s review the (in our view) 15 most stimulating articles of 2009.
The Big Picture
100 is the new 65: Why do some people live, and well, to 100? Researchers are trying to find out, reports Meera Lee Sethi at Greater Good Magazine.
Learning about Learning: an Interview with Joshua Waitzkin: Scott Barry Kaufman interviews “child prodigy” Joshua Waitzkin on The Art of Learning.
Debunking 10 Brain Health Myths: Does your brain have a “Brain Age”? Is a Magic Pill to prevent memory problems right around the corner?Â Check out the facts to debunk 10 common myths.
Why is working memory relevant to reading and mathematics: A recent large UK study identified 1 in 10 students as having working memory difficulties. Dr. Tracy Alloway elaborates why this matters.
Change Your Environment, Change Yourself: Dr. Brett Steenbarger explains why new environmentsÂ “force us to exit our routines and actively master unfamiliar challenges.”
Retooling Use it or lose it: Alvaro Fernandez discusses why routine, doing things inside our comfort zones, is the most common enemy of the novelty, variety and challenge our brains need.
Does cognitive training work? (For Whom? For What?): Dr. Pascale Michelon, dissects a couple of recent press releases and the underlying studies to clarifying what they mean – and what they don’t mean.
New Study Supports Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD: Dr. David Rabiner reports the promising findings from the first well-designed controlled trial on the effect of neurofeedback treatment for ADHD.
Do Art Classes Boost Test Scores? Is there a “Mozart Effect?”: Some researchers suggest so; others are not convinced. Karin Evans offers aÂ thoughtful review of the evidence and asks, “Now, is this the right question?”
Does coffee boost cognitive functions over time? Dr. Pascale Michelon reports good news (long-term effects seem more positive than negative, so coffee leads to no clear harm) and bad ones (no clear beneficial effects on general brain functions).
Brain fitness heads towards its tipping point: How do you know when something is moving towards a Gladwellian tipping point? When insurance companies and policy makers pay attention, Dr. Gerard Finnemore reports.
Visual Representation of the State of the Market 2009: Paul Van Slembrouck beautifully presents the main findings of our 150-page market report, The State of the Brain Fitness Market 2009.
Michael Merzenich on brain fitness: neuroscientist Michael Merzenich discusses neuroplasticity, technology, safe driving, mental health, and the need for standards, automated assessments and “personal brain trainers”.
Stimulate your Concentration Skills: when one really wants to memorize a fact, it is crucial to pay attention. Dr. Pascale Michelon challenges you to count a few simple letters.
Finally, an article that may inspire some New Year Resolutions. In Yes, You Can Build Willpower, Daniel Goleman discusses how the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day, how they migrate to where they are needed, and how each cell can make around 10,000 connections to other brain cells. Implication? Meditate, mindfully, and build positive habits.
Wishing you a Happy and Productive 2010, and looking forward to meeting many of you (200 so far) at the inaugural SharpBrains Summit!
There’s such a flood of very significant research studies, educational resources and articles related to brain health, it’s hard to keep track — even for us!
Let me introduce and quote some of the top Brain Health Studies, Articles and Resources published in March:
1) Cognitive Decline Begins In Late 20s, Study Suggests (Science Daily)
- “These patterns suggest that some types of mental flexibility decrease relatively early in adulthood, but that how much knowledge one has, and the effectiveness of integrating it with one’s abilities, may increase throughout all of adulthood if there are no pathological diseases,” Salthouse said.
- However, Salthouse points out that there is a great deal of variance from person to person
2) Cerebrum 2009: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science — new book by the Dana Foundation that “explores the cutting edge of brain research and its implications in our everyday lives, in language understandable to the general reader.”
A couple of excellent chapters of direct relevance to everyone’s brain health are:
— Chapter 4: A Road Paved by Reason, by Elizabeth Norton Lasley
- Chapter 10: Neural Health: Is It Facilitated by Work Force Participation?, by Denise Park, Ph.D
3) Staying Sharp DVD Program: “Dr. Jordan Grafman, chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke outside of Washington, DC, and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, is your guide as we cover what to expect from the aging brain and what we can do to ‘stay sharp.’
For a free DVD of this program you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (they say free in their website, I don’t know if that includes shipping & handling)
4) Drivers to be tested on cognitive ability starting at age 75 (Japan Times)
The outline of a cognitive test that drivers aged 75 or over will be required to take from June when renewing their licenses was released Thursday…The test is intended to reduce the number of traffic accidents involving elderly drivers by measuring their cognitive level.
5) Physical Fitness Improves Spatial Memory, Increases Size Of Brain Structure (Science Daily)
- “Now researchers have found that elderly adults who are more physically fit tend to have bigger hippocampi and better spatial memory than those who are less fit.”
6) Brain Trainers: A Workout for the Mind (Scientific American Mind)
“I recently tried out eight of the latest brain fitness programs, training with each for a week. The programs ranged widely in focus, quality and how fun they were to use. “Like physical exercise equipment, a brain exercise program doesn’t do you any good if you don’t use it, says Andrew J. Carle, director of the Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University. And people tend not to use boring equipment. “I remember when NordicTrack was the biggest thing out there. Everyone ran out and bought one, and 90 percent of them ended up as a clothes rack in the back of your bedroom.
The reporter used: Posit Science’s Brain Fitness Program Classic, HappyNeuron, Nintendo BrainAge, CogniFit’s MindFit/ CogniFit Personal Coach, Lumosity, MyBrainTrainer, BrainTwister, Cogmed Working Memory Training.
7) The Latest in Mental Health: Working Out at the ‘Brain Gym’ (Wall Street Journal)
- “Marshall Kahn, an 82-year-old family doctor in Fullerton, Calif., says he got such a boost from brain exercises he started doing at a “Nifty after Fifty” club that he decided to start seeing patients again part-time. “Doing all the mental exercise,” he says, “I realized I’ve still got it.”
8) Debate Over Drugs For ADHD Reignites (Washington Post)
- “New data from a large federal study have reignited a debate over the effectiveness of long-term drug treatment of children with hyperactivity or attention-deficit disorder, and have drawn accusations that some members of the research team have sought to play down evidence that medications do little good beyond 24 months.”
- “The study also indicated that long-term use of the drugs can stunt children’s growth.”
8) Adaptive training leads to sustained enhancement of poor working memory in children (Developmental Science)
Abstract: Working memory plays a crucial role in supporting learning, with poor progress in reading and mathematics characterizing children with low memory skills. This study investigated whether these problems can be overcome by a training program designed to boost working memory. Children with low working memory skills were assessed on measures of working memory, IQ and academic attainment before and after training on either adaptive or non-adaptive versions of the program. Adaptive training that taxed working memory to its limits was associated with substantial and sustained gains in working memory, with age-appropriate levels achieved by the majority of children. Mathematical ability also improved significantly 6 months following adaptive training. These findings indicate that common impairments in working memory and associated learning difficulties may be overcome with this behavioral treatment.
9) Brain cortex thinning linked to inherited depression (Los Angeles Times)
- “On average, people with a family history of depression appear to have brains that are 28% thinner in the right cortex — the outermost layer of the brain — than those with no known family history of the disease. That cortical thinning, said the researchers, is on a scale similar to that seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia.”