Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Maintain Your Brain and Stay Sharp: An Upcoming Guide and Resource

You may be reading all about brain fitness and brain training. It seems every week brings a new barrage of articles and studies which often contradict what you read the month before: Does Gingko Biloba help delay Alzheimer’s Disease? Can physical exercise help you stay sharp as you age? Which computer-based “brain fitness programs”, if any, are worth your money?

All this coverage reflects very exciting scientific findings but also poses a key dilemma: How to become an informed lifelong learner and consumer when there are few and contradictory authoritative guidelines?

The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness (to be published in May 2009; $24.95) aims to fill that void. This guide is the result of over a year of extensive research including more than a hundred interviews with scientists, professionals and consumers, and a deep literature review. Below you have some of the main findings from our effort. The guide not only covers these aspects in more depth and offers practical guidance, but also includes 18 interviews with prominent scientists to help you understand the research better.

Can we introduce you to your Brain?

The Guide will start at the obvious starting point: The Human Brain. In order to make informed decisions about brain health, one needs to first understand the basic organization of the human brain and how it tends to change as we get older.

* The brain is composed of a number of regions serving distinct functions. Forget IQ: our life and productivity depend on a variety of brain functions, not just one.

* There is nothing inherently fixed in the trajectory of how brain functions evolve as we age. Your lifestyle, actions, and even thoughts, do matter.

The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance

Neuroplasticity is the lifelong capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience. The latest scientific research shows that specific lifestyles and actions can, no matter our age, improve the health and level of functioning of our brains.

What factors seem to have the most influence? Read the rest of this entry »

Can Google Kill Neurons and Rewire Your Whole Brain?

A few colleagues and I just had an interesting exchange on the recent article at The Atlantic, Is Google Making Us Stupid?, which basically blamed Google for literally rewiring our brains into more stupid brains (not being able to pay attention, read deep books…) based on a number of personal anecdotes and a little research. Is Google Making Us Stupid

My 2 cents: this is a complex topic and we’d first need to clarify the question, before looking for answers to support or refute it. I found the Atlantic article superficial for a meaningful conversation, with its title and main premise making little sense: Google can not makes us stupid, in the same way that guns don’t make us violent or pens don’t make us good writers.

The author of the article complains about having less of a number of cognitive abilities than he once had. Now, what is the case to make Google the main suspect?
Before we judge something as “good” or “bad” or “stupid” we need to establish: Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates (Part 3)

A few days ago we published the first and second installments of this Peace Among Primates series, by neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky. Today we publish the third and final one.

Peace Among Primates (Part 3)

Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

–By Robert M. Sapolsky

Natural born killers?

Read the rest of this entry »

Bi-Weekly Update: Preventing Memory Loss and Public Policy

Here you are have the bi-monthly Digest of our most Popular blog posts. (Also, remember that you can subscribe to receive our blog RSS feed, or to our newsletter at the top of this page if you want to receive this digest by email).Crossword Puzzles Brain fitness

Brain Fitness News and Events

Upcoming Events: I will be speaking at five Health, Education and Gaming events over the next couple of months to introduce findings from our recent market report. Please introduce yourself if you attend any of these events.

Preventing Memory Loss-Special Issue: Congressional Quarterly Researcher, one of the main publications on Capitol Hill, published an impressive 24-page special issue titled Preventing Memory Loss. Highly recommended if you want to be on top of the latest research trends and their policy implications.

Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates (Part 2)

(Editor’s Note: A few days ago we published the first installment of this Peace Among Primates series, by neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky. Today we publish the second installment. Next Saturday, April 19th, you can come back and read the third and final part in the series.)

Peace Among Primates (Part 2)

Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

–By Robert M. Sapolsky

Left behind

In the early 1980s, “Forest Troop,” a group of savanna baboons I had been studying—virtually living with—for years, was going about its business in a national park in Kenya when a neighboring baboon group had a stroke of luck: Read the rest of this entry »

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About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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