Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Mind-wandering may help enhance creativity, job performance and general well-being, studies show


When writ­ing a song or a piece of prose, I often choose to let my mind wan­der, hop­ing the muse will strike. If it does, it not only moves my work along but feels great, too!

That’s why I was trou­bled by stud­ies that found an asso­ci­a­tion between mind-wan­der­ing and prob­lems like unhap­pi­ness and depression—and even a short­er life expectan­cy. This research sug­gests that focus­ing one’s thoughts on the present moment is linked to well-being, while spac­ing out—which I per­son­al­ly love to do—is not.

Now, new stud­ies are bring­ing nuance to this sci­ence. Read the rest of this entry »

News you can use: To improve memory, exercise brain and body at the same time


Time for Sharp­Brains’ eNewslet­ter  track­ing the lat­est think­ing, research and tools for brain health.

This month we fea­ture five fas­ci­nat­ing inter­views at the fron­tier of applied neu­ro­science and a recent study sug­gest­ing that “Per­form­ing mem­o­ry train­ing exer­cis­es at the same time as ped­al­ing a sta­tion­ary bike led to bet­ter gains in mem­o­ry than doing the train­ing exer­cis­es after work­ing up a sweat…”

Enjoy the read!

New thinking:

New research:

New tools:


Final­ly, you may want to learn about cog­ni­tion and men­tal self-rota­tion with these quick brain teasers.

Have a great month of March,

The Sharp­Brains Team

A conversation with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on Creativity, Neuroscience, and Technological Innovation


Dear Elkhonon, a plea­sure to have you with us. Let’s get out the gate by dis­cussing how are new ideas born — for exam­ple, how exact­ly did you first think about writ­ing your new book, Cre­ativ­i­ty: The Human Brain in the Age of Inno­va­tion?

Orig­i­nal­ly, I set out to write a book about how the brain deals with nov­el­ty — a long-stand­ing focus of my own research. But the more I thought about it, the more the sub­ject of cre­ativ­i­ty was com­ing up, so I decid­ed to tack­le nov­el­ty and cre­ativ­i­ty at the same time.

Do we need yet anoth­er book on Cre­ativ­i­ty?

We absolute­ly do. Cre­ativ­i­ty is not just an indi­vid­ual feat; it is embed­ded into a cul­ture which either fos­ter, sti­fles, or shapes it in a vari­ety of ways. And it is nev­er a strict­ly soli­tary process, since even the most cre­ative mind draws on the pre­vi­ous­ly accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge. So, in order to tru­ly under­stand cre­ativ­i­ty, we must inte­grate neu­ro­sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al per­spec­tives into a coher­ent nar­ra­tive. To my knowl­edge, this has not been done before, and this is what my book aims to accom­plish.

I am par­tic­u­lar­ly fas­ci­nat­ed by the dynam­ic rela­tion­ship between over- and under­ac­ti­va­tion of pre­frontal cor­tex areas in the cre­ative process and dis­cuss it exten­sive­ly in the book. This is one of the most intrigu­ing and pos­si­bly most con­se­quen­tial aspects of the brain machin­ery of cre­ativ­i­ty.

What have we learned about the brain mech­a­nisms of cre­ativ­i­ty over the last five to ten years?

We have learned a lot: that cre­ativ­i­ty is not a mono­lith­ic trait; that is con­sists of many mov­ing parts and may take many paths even with­in the same are­na of human endeav­or; that it is not linked to any sin­gle brain struc­ture or to a sin­gle gene or even a small group of genes.

How do you define Cre­ativ­i­ty, and what can Neu­ro­science con­tribute to its under­stand­ing?

Cre­ativ­i­ty is often defined as the abil­i­ty to come up with con­tent which is both nov­el and salient. Read the rest of this entry »

The Luria Neuroscience Institute announces new webinar series on Executive Functions, Dementia, TBI, Creativity and more

Hap­py to share that the Luria Neu­ro­science Insti­tute, an esteemed Part­ner of the 2017 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit, is host­ing a new webi­nar series aimed at bet­ter equip­ping pro­fes­sion­als help­ing those with men­tal health and with brain and brain dis­or­ders.

Dates and top­ics: Read the rest of this entry »

Managing brains, not bodies, in the knowledge economy


[Pho­to: Flickr user_DJ_, Bri­an Snel­son via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons]

This Out­dat­ed Approach To Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Is Bad For Your Brain (Fast Com­pa­ny):

Your car has parts that per­form spe­cif­ic tasks. The radi­a­tor cools the engine. The spark plugs ignite the gas. The intake man­i­fold dis­trib­utes air and gas even­ly to the cylin­ders. We think of a car this way because a car is a machine.

For most of the 20th cen­tu­ry, sci­en­tists mapped the brain in the same way Read the rest of this entry »

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