Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Scientists issue a call to action for TBI patients to benefit from latest neuroscience findings

Brain Trauma

Credit: Julie McMahon

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Brain-injured patients need therapies based on cognitive neuroscience (U. Illinois press release):

“Patients with traumatic brain injuries are not benefiting from recent advances in cognitive neuroscience research – and they should be, scientists report in a special issue of Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. Read the rest of this entry »

New Online Course: How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012

We are pleased to announce a new online course designed to equip participants with the under­stand­ing and infor­ma­tion required to apply emerg­ing sci­ence and tools to enhance brain health and func­tion­al­ity across the lifespan.

Course description: Infor­ma­tion over­load and longer lives expose our brains to more demands than even before. This fast-paced and inter­ac­tive online course will exam­ine the emerg­ing sci­ence of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and cog­ni­tive reserve and sur­vey lat­est tools and best prac­tices to equip you to become your own ‘brain fit­ness coach’ and address per­sonal and pro­fes­sional pri­or­i­ties. Avail­able online from any­where with an Inter­net con­nec­tion, this course will help you pin­point ways to opti­mize brain health and func­tion­al­ity and delay decline, nav­i­gat­ing the maze of frag­mented research, super­fi­cial media cov­er­age and exag­ger­ated mar­ket­ing claims. The course is based on The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness –recently named a Best Book by AARP– and Sharp­Brains’ new ABBC frame­work (Address Basics, Build Capac­i­ties), and includes weekly read­ings and activities.

Mechan­ics: The course con­sists of four two-hour-long live online ses­sions to be held in March 2012 (detailed syl­labus available), and an online pri­vate forum for Fac­ulty and Par­tic­i­pants to inter­act dur­ing March and April 2012.

Who this is for: This course is for any­one who wants to under­stand how emerg­ing cog­ni­tive and affec­tive neu­ro­science can be applied to enhance brain health and per­for­mance, and who is will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in a fast-paced course that lever­ages e-learning to facil­i­tate a global learn­ing experience.

Note: In order to ensure a valu­able and inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ence, par­tic­i­pa­tion will be lim­ited to the first 200 indi­vid­u­als who register.

Faculty:

  • Instructor: Alvaro Fernandez (SharpBrains)
  • Guest Lecturers: Alvaro Pascual-Leone (Harvard Medical School), Robert M. Bilder (UCLA Semel Insti­tute for Neu­ro­science and Human Behav­ior)

To Learn More and Register, please visit the course page: How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012.

Neuroscience Boot Camp: For Anybody who Needs to Understand, Predict or Influence Human Behavior

I am writing to share some information about our third annual “Neuroscience Boot Camp,” which I think the readers of the SharpBrains blog will find interesting.

The University of Pennsylvania announces their 3rd annual Neuroscience Boot Camp, July 31-August 10, 2011!

Why Neuroscience Boot Camp?

Neuroscience is increasingly relevant to a number of professions and academic disciplines beyond its traditional medical applications. Lawyers, educators, economists and businesspeople, Read the rest of this entry »

Take that Nap! It May Boost Your Learning Capacity Among Other Good Things.

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite pastime is napping. In College, I would come back to my dorm room, and like clockwork, would take a nap. My best friend in England, who got quite a kick out of my passion for napping, once tried to persuade me to drink a cup of tea after lunch instead of taking my customary nap. I really tried, but I soon gave in to my nap cravings. Sometimes I feel like I really need to re-charge my brain batteries.

Well, now science is on my side. I just love this new study, which was presented by Matthew Walker, assistant professor at UC Berkeley, at the annual meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in San Diego this past Sunday (Feb. 2010).

Walker and his colleagues Bryce A. Mander and Sangeetha Santhanam split up a batch of 39 healthy young adults into two groups. One group napped, the other did not.

At noon, both groups took a learning task thought to recruit the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain known to play an important role in the formation of new memories. Over the past few years, various researchers have found that fact-based memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before other regions of the brain can operate on the content, especially the regions of the brain responsible for higher-order reasoning and thinking.  At this point in the experiment, both groups showed similar levels of performance.

Then, at 2pm, the nap group took a 90-minute nap while the no-nap group stayed awake, presumably watching the nap group enjoying their nap. After nap-time both groups then took more learning tests. The nappers did better on the tasks than those who stayed awake, demonstrating their higher capacity to learn. Read the rest of this entry »

Boost your Attention with Meditation

Brain training does not necessarily mean computerized games. For instance, mediation may be a great tool to train your brain.

Different parts of the brain support different functions. One function, central to many of our actions, is “attention”. Attention can be defined as the ability to sustain concentration on a particular object, action, or thought.
It can also be defined as the ability to manage competing demands in our environment.connections between neurons, die. In the brain it is supported mainly by neuronal networks in the parietal (yellow in the figure) and frontal (blue in the figure) lobes.

What can be done to maintain and boost such a fundamental ability?

Dr. Andrew Newberg (Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania), here interviewed by Alvaro Fernandez (CEO of SharpBrains) suggests that meditation may have cognitive benefits, especially related to attention: Read the rest of this entry »

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