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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study: Moderate lifetime drinking may lead to lower Alzheimer-related beta amyloid deposits in the brain

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Mod­er­ate drink­ing tied to low­er lev­els of Alzheimer’s brain pro­tein (Busi­ness Stan­dard):

Kore­an researchers stud­ied 414 men and women, aver­age age 71, who were free of demen­tia or alco­hol-relat­ed dis­or­ders. All under­went phys­i­cal exams, tests of men­tal acu­ity, and positron emis­sion tomog­ra­phy (PET) and mag­net­ic res­o­nance imag­ing (MRI) scans. They were care­ful­ly inter­viewed about their drink­ing habits.

The study, in PLOS Med­i­cine, mea­sured drink­ing in “stan­dard drinks” — 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one-and-a-half ounces of hard liquor. Com­pared with abstain­ers, those who drank one to 13 stan­dard drinks a week had a 66 per cent low­er rate of beta amy­loid deposits in their brains. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Four tips to practice good mental hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak

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Time for a new edi­tion of Sharp­Brains’ e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing this time 14 time­ly news and resources for men­tal health and brain health inno­va­tion.

First of all, let’s remain safe, healthy, and cen­tered dur­ing the cur­rent health cri­sis by fol­low­ing these tips pro­vid­ed by the Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter at UC Berke­ley:

1. Stay calm and focused
2. Pay atten­tion to those doing the right thing
3. Show grat­i­tude
4. Remem­ber our com­mon bonds

1) “Of course, all of these guide­lines don’t sup­plant the impor­tance of prac­tic­ing good hygiene. We need to con­tin­ue to fre­quent­ly wash our hands and avoid touch­ing our faces, so that we can lessen the chance of infect­ing our­selves and oth­ers. But we also should remem­ber our men­tal hygiene—staying calm our­selves, being grate­ful espe­cial­ly to those doing the right thing, and remem­ber­ing our com­mon human­i­ty. In this way, we can help to make the world safer for all of us.” Four tips to prac­tice good men­tal hygiene dur­ing the coro­n­avirus out­break

2) “Before any­thing else, prepa­ra­tion is the key to suc­cess.”
–Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell

Thank­ful­ly, neu­rotech pio­neer Tan Le out­lines sev­er­al areas where we can take a prac­ti­cal approach to address changes already under­way and lay the ground­work for a more seam­less tran­si­tion to a new era. Fast For­ward to 2040: How to pre­pare for the new era in brain enhance­ment that will change the way we think, work, and heal

3) Here’s a beau­ti­ful way to explore the anato­my of brain regions and brain func­tions. The Vir­tu­al Brain Web Atlas: How the Mind emerges from the Brain

4) “Before stu­dents decide to slip in their ear­buds, though, they should care­ful­ly con­sid­er both their musi­cal selec­tion and the nature of the task” … because “We found that (1) music gen­er­al­ly impaired com­plex task per­for­mance, (2) com­plex music facil­i­tat­ed sim­ple task per­for­mance, and (3) pref­er­ence for exter­nal stim­u­la­tion mod­er­at­ed these effects. There­fore, the data sug­gest that music’s effects on task per­for­mance depend on the music, the task, and the per­former” Does music facil­i­tate or impair cog­ni­tive task per­for­mance? It depends…

5) Because learn­ing can­not, must not, ever stop: Meet the Top 50 final­ists for the Glob­al Teacher Prize 2020

6) Any plans for the sum­mer? Four ways hik­ing pro­motes cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al health

7) Har­ness­ing tech to pro­mote social con­nect­ed­ness: Every Wednes­day start­ing today we can join scientist/ entre­pre­neur Rana el Kaliou­by online to dis­cuss her new book! Vir­tu­al book tour to explore the fron­tier of Emo­tion­al Intel­li­gence and Tech­nol­o­gy

8) On-field or off-field, train­ing goes on: Sports teams find cre­ative ways to cross-train the brain off-field

9) “You Can’t Man­age What You Can’t Mea­sure” has­n’t yet reached pub­lic health … but it will. To screen, or not to screen (for demen­tia), that is still the ques­tion

10) Sum­ma­riz­ing a recent study, “children’s sleep should be eval­u­at­ed as part of an ADHD eval­u­a­tion as sleep dif­fi­cul­ties are more com­mon … address­ing sleep issues in chil­dren with ADHD is a fea­si­ble and rel­a­tive­ly low-cost approach that can be a valu­able treat­ment com­po­nent for many chil­dren.” Study: A brief sleep inter­ven­tion can bring mea­sur­able and sus­tained ben­e­fits to chil­dren with ADHD

11) Some may and will dis­agree, but net net this offers a major oppor­tu­ni­ty to har­ness smart­phone use data for good: Ver­i­ly and LivaNo­va accel­er­ate efforts to detect and treat depres­sion

12) Poten­tial big news in the neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion mar­ket; coro­n­avirus or not we all have awe­some brains and will expe­ri­ence brain/ men­tal health needs in the future: Medtron­ic might acquire LivaNova’s neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion busi­ness

13) What if “An employ­er wants to reduce the risk of on-the-job dis­abil­i­ty, so it screens appli­cants for neu­ro­log­i­cal mark­ers that they are pre­dis­posed to chron­ic pain and depres­sion…” Let’s antic­i­pate the poten­tial mis­use of neu­ro­log­i­cal data to min­i­mize the risks–and max­i­mize the ben­e­fits

14) The first brain teaser/ test here is espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant these days … Sev­en fun brain teasers to hon­or our unique Brains and Minds dur­ing Brain Aware­ness Week 2020

 

Have a good and healthy Spring,

The Sharp­Brains Team

To screen, or not to screen (for dementia), that is still the question

A lead­ing group of med­ical experts on Tues­day declined to endorse cog­ni­tive screen­ing for old­er adults, fuel­ing a debate that has sim­mered for years.

The U.S. Pre­ven­tive Ser­vices Task Force said it could nei­ther rec­om­mend nor oppose cog­ni­tive screen­ing, cit­ing insuf­fi­cient sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence of the practice’s ben­e­fits and harms and call­ing for fur­ther stud­ies.

The task force’s work informs poli­cies set by Medicare and pri­vate insur­ers. Its rec­om­men­da­tions, an accom­pa­ny­ing sci­en­tif­ic state­ment and two edi­to­ri­als were pub­lished Tues­day in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion.

The task force’s new posi­tion comes as con­cern mounts over a ris­ing tide of old­er adults with Alzheimer’s dis­ease and Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience tips about gratitude, aging, pain and the brain: An interview with Dr. Daniel Levitin

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About 13 years ago, I watched my very vital moth­er die a slow death from Lewy-Body demen­tia. For me, it was a wake­up call. If there were any­thing I could do to stay healthy myself—to avoid the slow decline of an aging brain—I want­ed to do it. But what real­ly helps us stay sharp longer? And how can we sep­a­rate fad ideas from sol­id, evi­dence-based advice around aging? Read the rest of this entry »

UCSF to open innovative neurology clinic to address “diagnostic odyssey”

The new UCSF Jan Shrem and Maria Manet­ti Shrem Neu­rol­o­gy Clin­ic will be housed in the Joan and San­ford I. Weill Neu­ro­sciences Build­ing.

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UCSF to Launch Unique Neu­rol­o­gy Clin­ic Spe­cial­iz­ing in Dif­fi­cult-to-Diag­nose Cas­es (press release):

A pro­posed neu­rol­o­gy clin­ic at UCSF Med­ical Cen­ter at Mis­sion Bay aims to short­cut the “diag­nos­tic odyssey” faced by many patients with baf­fling brain symp­toms that do not meet the stan­dard cri­te­ria for any spe­cif­ic con­di­tion.

Patients with ambigu­ous neu­ro­log­i­cal symp­toms, but no diag­no­sis, fre­quent­ly 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,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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