Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Studies suggest we better train the mind as we train the body: with cross-training and in good company

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Dif­fer­ent med­i­ta­tion types train dis­tinct parts of your brain (New Sci­en­tist):

We are used to hear­ing that med­i­ta­tion is good for the brain, but now it seems that not just any kind of med­i­ta­tion will do. Just like phys­i­cal exer­cise, the kind of improve­ments you get depends on exact­ly how you train – and most of us are doing it all wrong Read the rest of this entry »

What Everyone Should Know About Stress, Brain Health, and Dance

-- Dancing to the clapping of bands. Egyptian, from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, about 3300 B.C. (British Museum.)

– Danc­ing to the clap­ping of bands. Egypt­ian, from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, 6th Dynasty, about 3300 B.C. (British Muse­um)

Every­one expe­ri­ences stress at some point in our lives. It is impor­tant to know that stress can harm the brain, and also that dance can be a great avenue for a per­son resist, reduce, or escape it.

Stress can change the phys­i­cal struc­ture and func­tion of the brain, affect­ing wiring and thus per­for­mance of one’s activ­i­ties. Read the rest of this entry »

Towards a new brain fitness culture: The mainstreaming of mindfulness meditation

mindfulnessThe main­stream­ing of mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion (The Week):

Sci­en­tif­ic research has shown that mind­ful­ness appears to make peo­ple both hap­pi­er and health­i­er. Reg­u­lar med­i­ta­tion can low­er a person’s blood pres­sure and Read the rest of this entry »

Six tips to build resilience and prevent brain-damaging stress

These days, we all live under con­sid­er­able stress — eco­nom­ic chal­lenges, job demands, fam­i­ly ten­sions, always-on tech­nol­o­gy and the 24-hour news cycle all con­tribute to cease­less wor­ry. While many have learned to sim­ply “live with it,” this ongo­ing stress can, unless prop­er­ly man­aged, have a Read the rest of this entry »

The Neurobiology of Stress: The Human Brain Likes to Be in Balance

(Editor’s note: below you have part 5 of the 6-part The Neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy of Stress series. If you are join­ing the series now, you can read the pre­vi­ous part Here.)

Stayin’ Alive

Under­stand­ing the Human Brain and How It Responds to Stress

The Human Brain Likes to Be in Bal­ance

For­tu­nate­ly, the brain has some built — in safe­ty sys­tems. Too much cor­ti­sol in the blood sig­nals the brain and adren­al glands to decrease cor­ti­sol pro­duc­tion. And under nor­mal con­di­tions, when the stress is over­come or brought under con­trol (by fight­ing, flee­ing, or turn­ing into an immo­bile stat­ue, or by mas­ter­ing the threat), the hypo­thal­a­mus starts send­ing out the orders to stand down. Stop pro­duc­ing cor­ti­sol!  Event over!  Under con­tin­u­ous stress, how­ev­er, this feed­back sys­tem breaks down. The hypo­thal­a­mus keeps read­ing the stress as a threat, furtive­ly send­ing mes­sages to the pitu­itary gland, which screams out to the adren­al glands to keep pump­ing out cor­ti­sol, which at this point begins to be neu­ro­tox­ic — poi­son to the brain. Read the rest of this entry »

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