Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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FAQ about SharpBrains Council for Brain Fitness Innovation

We have received many good ques­tions about the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion — below you have some answers.

Ques­tion: We are based in Asia/ Australia/ Europe. Will time dif­fer­ences pre­vent us from par­tic­i­pat­ing in month­ly brief­in­gs and ben­e­fit­ing from the Coun­cil?

Answer: We will do our best to facil­i­tate a tru­ly glob­al com­mu­ni­ty and exchange. Please con­sid­er that…

  1. we will sched­ule month­ly brief­in­gs at 2 sep­a­rate times, one at 9am US Pacif­ic Time, the oth­er at 4pm US Pacif­ic Time, both cov­er­ing the same top­ic (but per­haps with dif­fer­ent guest speak­ers). And brief­in­gs will be record­ed.
  2. most activ­i­ties and resources are asyn­chro­nous any­way. Our mar­ket intel­li­gence reports and oth­er mate­ri­als are avail­able via this mem­bers-only online com­mu­ni­ty 24/7, same as online dis­cus­sion forums, focused groups to track/ dis­cuss spe­cif­ic top­ics, the abil­i­ty to ask ques­tions to and con­nect with oth­er mem­bers…

Ques­tion: Will some­thing change regard­ing SharpBrains.com blog and month­ly newslet­ter, which are great free resources?

Answer: We plan to  main­tain those free resources, focus­ing on con­tent of a gen­er­al inter­est for every­one with a brain. The Council’s pur­pose is to cre­ate a new valu­able in-depth resource and com­mu­ni­ty for pro­fes­sion­als and orga­ni­za­tions active with brain fit­ness ini­tia­tives, so we can all learn and share dur­ing the year, and help the field mature. That will include Read the rest of this entry »

Distracted in the Workplace? Meet Maggie Jackson’s Book (Part 2 of 2)

Today we con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion with Mag­gie Jack­son, author of Dis­tract­ed: The Ero­sion of Atten­tion and the Com­ing Dark Age.

You can read part 1 here.

Q — In your Har­vard Man­age­ment Update inter­view, you said that “When what we pay atten­tion to is dri­ven by the last email we received, the triv­ial and the cru­cial occu­py the same plane.” As well, it seems to be that a prob­lem is our culture’s over-ide­al­iza­tion of “always on” and “road war­rior” habits, which dis­tract from the impor­tance of exec­u­tive func­tions such as pay­ing atten­tion to one’s envi­ron­ment, set­ting up goals and plans, exe­cut­ing on them, mea­sur­ing results, and inter­nal­iz­ing learn­ing. How can com­pa­nies bet­ter equip their employ­ees for future suc­cess? Can you offer some exam­ples of com­pa­nies who have pos­i­tive cul­tures that encour­age and reward employ­ees ful­ly put their frontal lobes into good use?

A.  As I men­tioned above, we are work­ing and liv­ing in ways that under­mine our abil­i­ty to strate­gize, focus, reflect, inno­vate. Skim­ming, mul­ti­task­ing and speed all have a place in 21st-cen­tu­ry life. But we can’t let go of deep­er skills of focus and think­ing and relat­ing, or we’ll cre­ate a soci­ety of mis­un­der­stand­ing and shal­low think­ing.

To cre­ate work­places that fos­ter strate­gic think­ing, deep social con­nec­tion and inno­va­tion, we need to take three steps:

First, ques­tion the val­ues that ven­er­ate McThink­ing and under­mine atten­tion. Recent­ly, my morn­ing paper car­ried a front-page sto­ry about efforts in an age of impa­tience to cre­ate a quick-boot com­put­er. It’s ridicu­lous to ask peo­ple to wait a cou­ple of min­utes to start up their com­put­er, explained one tech exec­u­tive. The first hand up in the class­room, the hyper busi­ness-man or woman who can’t sit still, much less lis­ten  these are icons of suc­cess in Amer­i­can soci­ety. Still, many of us are begin­ning to ques­tion our ado­ra­tion of instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion and hyper-mobil­i­ty.

Sec­ond, we need to set the stage for focus indi­vid­u­al­ly and col­lec­tive­ly by rewrit­ing our cli­mate of dis­trac­tion and inat­ten­tion. To help, some com­pa­nies and busi­ness lead­ers are exper­i­ment­ing with white space the cre­ation of phys­i­cal spaces or times on the cal­en­dar for unin­ter­rupt­ed, unwired think­ing and Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Driving Skills and Brain Functioning- Interview with ACTIVE’s Jerri Edwards

Jerri Edwards- Active trialToday we are for­tu­nate to inter­view Dr. Jer­ri Edwards, an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at Uni­ver­si­ty of South Florida’s School of Aging Stud­ies and Co-Inves­ti­ga­tor of the influ­en­cial ACTIVE study. Dr. Edwards was trained by Dr. Kar­lene K. Ball, and her research is aimed toward dis­cov­er­ing how cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties can be main­tained and even enhanced with advanc­ing age.

Main focus of research

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Please explain to our read­ers your main research areas

Jer­ri Edwards: I am par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in how cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions may help old­er adults to avoid or at least delay func­tion­al dif­fi­cul­ties and there­by main­tain their inde­pen­dence longer. Much of my work has focused on the func­tion­al abil­i­ty of dri­ving includ­ing assess­ing dri­ving fit­ness among old­er adults and reme­di­a­tion of cog­ni­tive decline that results in dri­ving dif­fi­cul­ties.

Some research ques­tions that inter­est me include, how can we main­tain health­i­er lives longer? How can train­ing improve cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, both to improve those abil­i­ties and also to slow-down, or delay, cog­ni­tive decline? The spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty that I have stud­ied the most is pro­cess­ing speed, which is one of the cog­ni­tive skills that decline ear­ly on as we age.

ACTIVE results

Can you explain what cog­ni­tive pro­cess­ing speed is, and why it is rel­e­vant to our dai­ly lives?

Pro­cess­ing speed is men­tal quick­ness. Just like a com­put­er with a 486 proces­sor can do a lot of the same things as a com­put­er with a Pen­tium 4 proces­sor, but it takes much longer, our minds tend to slow down with age as com­pared to when we were younger. We can do the same tasks, but it takes more time. Quick speed of pro­cess­ing is impor­tant for Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Software Trends

Some very inter­est­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket news:

1) Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing To Buy Out Solil­o­quy

- “Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing Corp. has announced that it will acquire Solil­o­quy Learn­ing from JTT Hold­ings. Both Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing and Solil­o­quy pro­vide tech­nol­o­gy solu­tions for edu­ca­tion. The acqui­si­tion will cost SLC about $11 mil­lion and is expect­ed to be com­plet­ed this month.”

- “Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing is the devel­op­er of Fast For­Word, a fam­i­ly of read­ing inter­ven­tion tools tar­get­ed toward stu­dents who are char­ac­ter­ized as strug­gling learn­ers and designed to devel­op the required “neu­rocog­ni­tive skills” for read­ing and learn­ing in gen­er­al. Solil­o­quy is also a read­ing inter­ven­tion devel­op­er.”

Com­ment: this acqui­si­tion con­sol­i­dates Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing (NSDQ: SCIL) as the lead­ing com­pa­ny in the edu­ca­tion seg­ment of the brain fit­ness mar­ket. It will be inter­est­ing to track what research gets done on the neur­al and cog­ni­tive effects of Solil­o­quy, since Sci­en­tif­ic Learning’s Fast For­word is backed by exten­sive lit­er­a­ture.

2) Tech­no­me­dia Part­ners With SBT to Accel­er­ate Its Inter­na­tion­al Expan­sion

- “Tech­no­me­dia, a Cana­di­an provider of tal­ent man­age­ment and human cap­i­tal devel­op­ment solu­tions, announced its part­ner­ship with the SBT (Sci­en­tif­ic Brain Train­ing) group, a Euro­pean provider of train­ing and eval­u­a­tion of cog­ni­tive func­tions.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Fitness, The Future of Work, and Concept Maps

Some weeks ago we explained how use­ful Con­cept Maps can be to quick­ly visu­al­ize the key ideas in a field, and their rela­tion­ships.

Let me show you this fan­tas­tic exam­ple. A few weeks ago I was inter­viewed by David Pescovitz of the Insti­tute for the Future (blog) to dis­cuss The Future of Work and Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness trends. They had an artist who drew the graph below IN REAL TIME, AS WE SPOKE. Very impres­sive.

Please open the full image by click­ing on it, and spend a few min­utes read­ing around, top-down, left-to right.

You will learn much about what the future may bring (will Human Resources staff become “Cog­ni­tive Resources Man­agers”?), and also how to dis­play com­plex infor­ma­tion in beau­ti­ful visu­al form.

 

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

 

Kudos to the Insti­tute for the Future, an inde­pen­dent non­prof­it research group,  for a fas­ci­nat­ing event on The Future of Work.

Cred­it for the Map: Antho­ny Weeks, from Grove Con­sul­tants.

(Dear RSS read­ers: I’d real­ly appre­ci­ate if you could Digg this post. You can find the Digg but­ton if you vis­it this post in our blog. Thanks!)

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