Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Lifelong cognitive exercise may ward off Alzheimer’s protein beta amyloid

Very sig­nif­i­cant find­ings report­ed today. Keep­ing brain sharp may ward off Alzheimer’s pro­tein (Reuters):

Peo­ple who chal­lenge their brains through­out their life­times — through read­ing, writ­ing and play­ing games — are less like­ly to devel­op pro­tein deposits in the brain linked with Alzheimer’s, researchers said on Mon­day.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 4: The Future

Build­ing Blocks for a Bet­ter Future

The best alter­na­tive for tomor­row should be bet­ter than the best alter­na­tive avail­able today. How do we get there, when “cog­ni­tion” and “brain fit­ness” remain elu­sive con­cepts in pop­u­lar cul­ture? I believe that the lack of pub­lic edu­ca­tion is the major obsta­cle that lim­its the brain fit­ness field’s poten­tial to deliv­er real-world ben­e­fits, since only informed demand will ensure the ongo­ing devel­op­ment of ratio­nal, struc­tured “rules of the road.” What could be done to address this and oth­er par­tic­u­lar obsta­cles? Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 3: The Real Need

Engag­ing peo­ple where they are in the life-course

Eighty per­cent of the 38,000 adults over age 50 who were respon­ders in the 2010 AARP Mem­ber Opin­ion Sur­vey indi­cat­ed “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp” was their top ranked inter­est and con­cern (Dinger, 2010). What exact­ly does this phrase mean? And what role can tech­nol­o­gy play in “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp”? Intel CEO Paul Otelli­ni has said, “You have to start by think­ing about what peo­ple want to do… and work back­ward.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 2: The Ethics

The ter­mi­nol­o­gy “fun­da­men­tal attri­bu­tion error” describes the ten­den­cy to over­val­ue per­son­al­i­ty-based expla­na­tions for observed human behav­iors, while under­valu­ing sit­u­a­tion­al expla­na­tions for those behav­iors.  I believe that a pri­ma­ry rea­son behind many per­ceived and real eth­i­cal chal­lenges in the brain fit­ness field is due not so much to cer­tain stake­hold­ers’ lack of per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al ethics, but derives from the flawed soci­etal con­struct that under­pins cur­rent, rel­e­vant inno­va­tions. To improve the ethics of the brain fit­ness busi­ness and its appli­ca­tion (and empow­er con­sumers’ informed deci­sion mak­ing), there must first be agree­ment about a mean­ing­ful, appro­pri­ate way to ana­lyze and guide inno­va­tion. This is the crux of the prob­lem. The cur­rent med­ical mod­el is not up to the task at hand, since it is heav­i­ly skewed toward inva­sive drugs and devices dri­ven by dis­ease-based mod­els, and fails to lever­age Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Innovation to Upgrade Brain Care

Here you have the July107px-gray1197thumbnail edi­tion of our month­ly eNewslet ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this free Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter by email, using the box in the right col­umn.

Tech­nol­o­gy to upgrade brain care: In this exten­sive inter­view, Dr. John Docher­ty helps con­nect the dots on why new frame­works and tools are a must to put recent brain research to good use. A must read for all pro­fes­sion­als in the field.

Research

Find­ings from NIH Expert Pan­el: The Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging asked Alvaro Fer­nan­dez to com­ment on the find­ings from a major cog­ni­tive health research review by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health. Lifestyle still mat­ters, and pro­tec­tive fac­tors against cog­ni­tive decline are led by cog­ni­tive train­ing, phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and cog­ni­tive engage­ment.

Sci­en­tif­ic cri­tique of BBC brain train­ing exper­i­ment: Dr. Eliz­a­beth Zelin­s­ki shares her con­cerns about the April 2010 BBC study, which includ­ed sub­stan­tial and unex­plained dropout rates, and ques­tion­able out­come mea­sure­ment and inter­pre­ta­tion.

The val­ue of being bilin­gual and build­ing a Cog­ni­tive Reserve to pre­serve learn­ing and mem­o­ry even in the face of brain dam­age are explored in recent stud­ies.

San Fran­cis­co Bay Area study seeks par­tic­i­pants: The Gaz­za­ley Lab at UCSF is look­ing for par­tic­i­pants aged 20–59 to explore the impact of dis­trac­tion and mul­ti­task­ing on per­for­mance across the lifes­pan.


Inno­va­tion

What impressed Inno­va­tion Awards Judg­ing Pan­el: Get some insight into what most impressed the Judg­ing Pan­el about each Win­ner and Final­ist of the 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards.

New — Sharp­Brains’ 2010 Mar­ket Report:  Sharp­Brains’ flag­ship, 207-page, third annu­al mar­ket report finds con­tin­ued growth for dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to assess, enhance and treat cog­ni­tion.

To man­age brain fit­ness through life, we need to put puz­zle pieces togeth­er: inno­v­a­tive tools to help us bet­ter mon­i­tor our cog­ni­tive health and take informed action are bad­ly needed.…and already emerg­ing.

The inter­net will fry your brain. Sure: In his lat­est book, Nicholas Carr does a great job high­light­ing the impli­ca­tions of life­long neuro­plasticity, but picks the wrong ene­my.

Seri­ous Games”:  Can video games inspire peo­ple to per­form acts of altru­ism? Kyle Smith reports.

Teasers

Yahoo Opti­cal Illu­sions and teasers: Yahoo! has cre­at­ed an expand­ed sec­tion of illu­sions and teasers, and we were glad to con­tribute to it. Enjoy…and have a great sum­mer!

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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