Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study finds clear–yet surprisingly different–benefits in 3 types of meditation-based mental training

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As cit­i­zens of the 21st cen­tu­ry, we face many prob­lems that come with an indus­tri­al­ized and glob­al­ized world. I’m not a lawyer or a politi­cian, but a psy­chol­o­gist and neu­ro­sci­en­tist. So research on how to train help­ful men­tal and social capac­i­ties is my way to con­tribute to a more healthy, com­mu­nal, and coop­er­a­tive civ­i­liza­tion.

For the past five years, that research has tak­en the form of the ReSource Project, one of the longest and most com­pre­hen­sive stud­ies on the effects of med­i­ta­tion-based men­tal train­ing to date. Lots of research treats the con­cept of med­i­ta­tion as a sin­gle prac­tice, when in fact med­i­ta­tion encom­pass­es a diver­si­ty of men­tal prac­tices that train dif­fer­ent skills and dif­fer­ent parts of the brain. Our goal was to study the spe­cif­ic effects of Read the rest of this entry »

To thrive in tomorrow’s economy, workers need to boost lifelong cognitive abilities

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The Cog­ni­tive Lim­its of Life­long Learn­ing (Project Syn­di­cate):

As new tech­nolo­gies con­tin­ue to upend indus­tries and take over tasks once per­formed by humans, work­ers world­wide fear for their futures. But what will real­ly pre­vent humans from com­pet­ing effec­tive­ly in the labor mar­ket is not the robots them­selves, but rather our own minds, with all their psy­cho­log­i­cal bias­es and cog­ni­tive lim­i­ta­tions Read the rest of this entry »

Study suggests the real deficit underlying Attention Deficit Disorders is not Attention, but Working Memory

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Many par­ents have observed that their child with ADHD stays atten­tive and engaged dur­ing ‘high inter­est’ activ­i­ties, e.g., while play­ing video games, but has con­sid­er­able prob­lems stay­ing focused on less inher­ent­ly engag­ing tasks, e.g., doing school­work. This dis­crep­an­cy in atten­tion dur­ing pre­ferred and non-pre­ferred activ­i­ties has led some to Read the rest of this entry »

Brainy Innovation Tips from Edward Kliphuis, Investment Director with Merck Ventures

Edward Kli­phuis

Ques­tion: Edward, please share 1–2 major brain health needs you observe right now whose solu­tion demands a cre­ative and sig­nif­i­cant tech-enabled inno­va­tion.

Answer: We need to tar­get depres­sion, stress and fatigue in a quan­tifi­able man­ner (ie. no well­ness-like claims, but real data sup­port­ing an improve­ment in the afore­men­tioned indi­ca­tions). Treat­ments and ear­ly detec­tion too.

Also, ways  to mon­i­tor lon­gi­tu­di­nal cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties (ie. per­son-spe­cif­ic brain func­tion over the course of a num­ber of years). Done on a wider pop­u­la­tion this could pro­vide insights into the impact of cer­tain exter­nal fac­tors such as food, air qual­i­ty, etc.

 

Ques­tion: And what advice would you give an entre­pre­neur launch­ing an inno­va­tion to address those needs–for the approach to be suc­cess­ful and sus­tain­able?

Answer: Focus on the right mod­el from day one: You need to iden­ti­fy right away the best approach for the oppor­tu­ni­ty at hand — for exam­ple, reg­u­lat­ed med­ical approach vs. gen­er­al well­ness? Both are viable but going from unreg­u­lat­ed to reg­u­lat­ed is hard­ly pos­si­ble where­as the oppo­site is viable (although cre­ates a risk of off-label use…)

 

– Edward Kli­phuis is an Invest­ment Direc­tor with Mer­ck Ven­tures BV, the Cor­po­rate Ven­ture Cap­i­tal arm of Mer­ck KGaA, Darm­stadt, Ger­many. He is respon­si­ble for the New Busi­ness­es fund, which invests glob­al­ly in trans­for­ma­tion­al ideas dri­ven by great entre­pre­neurs. The New Busi­ness­es fund seeks to invest in strate­gic oppor­tu­ni­ties beyond Merck’s cur­rent busi­ness­es, make cross over invest­ments between busi­ness­es and invest in dig­i­ti­za­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties. The total vol­ume of the cor­po­rate ven­ture fund is €300 mil­lion. He will serve as a Judge in the first Brainnova­tions Pitch Con­test host­ed by the 2017 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit: Brain Enhance­ment in the Dig­i­tal Age (Decem­ber 5–7th, 2017).

– Brain­no­va­tions Judg­ing Pan­el

5 quick brain teasers to sharpen two key cognitive skills: attention and working memory

Look­ing for some fun–and free–cognitive stim­u­la­tion over the week­end? Here you have a few quick brain teasers to chal­lenge your atten­tion and your work­ing mem­ory (work­ing mem­ory is the capac­i­ty to keep infor­ma­tion in your mind while work­ing on pro­cess­ing and inte­grat­ing it)

Please give them a try…they are not as easy as they may seem 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

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