Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Increasing cognitive loads on miners’ brains: good example of where society is heading

NIOSH to Study Cog­ni­tive Loads on Under­ground Coal Min­ers (Occu­pa­tion­al Health & Safe­ty):

NIOSH has pub­lished a notice out­lin­ing an inter­est­ing study it plans to under­take to under­stand the cog­ni­tive demands placed on under­ground coal min­ers by new safe­ty devices they must car­ry, with the indus­try increas­ing­ly deploy­ing wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, per­son­al dust mon­i­tors, and prox­im­i­ty detec­tors…

The phys­i­cal bur­den is evi­dent, but the cog­ni­tive effect may not be as clear,” Read the rest of this entry »

Navigating The Many Dangers of Experience

As with “expert,” the root of expe­ri­ence is “experiri,” a Latin word mean­ing “to try out.” Peo­ple with a lot of expe­ri­ence should be will­ing to try new things, as their knowl­edge should pro­vide more con­text and points of view, enable more explo­ration of an issue, and min­i­mize risk with deci­sions. How­ev­er, high­ly expe­ri­enced peo­ple tend to fall into the habits of the past. Once we have accu­mu­lat­ed a valu­able base of knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence pro­vides a use­ful short­cut for deci­sion mak­ing. Rely­ing on expe­ri­ence is very fast and very effi­cient, but it is also poten­tial­ly very dan­ger­ous. Oper­at­ing with the least effort pos­si­ble, the brain retrieves what­ev­er quick­ly seems to fit. We apply past pat­terns to the future. Rather than call upon its amaz­ing cre­ativ­i­ty, too often the brain works as noth­ing but a huge stor­age bin of prece­dents.

Because “close is good enough” as our brain fills in the blanks, we Read the rest of this entry »

Study Links Obesity and Cognitive Fitness — In Both Directions

Obe­si­ty linked to Cog­ni­tion (Health­Canal):

- “Obese peo­ple tend to per­form worse than healthy peo­ple at cog­ni­tive tasks like plan­ning ahead, a lit­er­a­ture review has found, con­clud­ing that psy­cho­log­i­cal tech­niques used to treat anorex­i­cs could help obese peo­ple too.” Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Contrasting Brain Growth in Baby Humans and Baby Chimpanzees

Chart­ing Brain Growth in Humans and Chimps (New York Times):
— “Although baby humans and baby chim­panzees both start out with unde­vel­oped fore­brains, a new study reports that the human brain increas­es in vol­ume much more rapid­ly ear­ly on.”
— “The growth is in a region of the brain known as the pre­frontal cor­tex and is part of what makes humans cog­ni­tive­ly advanced com­pared with oth­er ani­mals, includ­ing the chim­panzee, our clos­est rel­a­tive. The pre­frontal cor­tex plays a major role in deci­sion-mak­ing, self-aware­ness and cre­ative think­ing.”

–> To learn more about study Dif­fer­en­tial Pre­frontal White Mat­ter Devel­op­ment in Chim­panzees and Humans: click Here (requires sub­scrip­tion).

–> To explore what may have hap­pened oth­er­wise, you may want to watch the new movie Rise of the Plan­et of the Apes.

Brain Training to Enhance Performance, both post-Traumatic Brain Injury and for the workplace

A cou­ple of very inter­est­ing recent announce­ments show (in a mil­i­tary con­text) how well-tar­get­ed brain train­ing can com­ple­ment and aug­ment exist­ing approach­es, both to help “nor­mal” and “clin­i­cal” pop­u­la­tions, in ways that silo-based, rear-mir­ror think­ing often miss­es: Read the rest of this entry »

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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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