Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Science of Optimism: a Conversation on ‘The Optimism Bias’ with neuroscientist Tali Sharot

I like to think of myself as a pos­i­tive and opti­mistic per­son. It seems to me to make for an eas­i­er and more enjoy­able jour­ney through life. So I was intrigued when I read of neu­ro­sci­en­tist Tali Sharot’s research into the Opti­mism Bias, which has shown that despite all the bad news sto­ries we are bom­bard­ed with on a dai­ly basis: war, vio­lence, wrong-doing and finan­cial melt­down, the major­i­ty of us are opti­mistic by nature; our brains are hard­wired to be so. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing con­cept and one I had to find out more about, so I bought the book and met with Tali in her office at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don for an enthralling dis­cus­sion. Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 4: The Future

Build­ing Blocks for a Bet­ter Future

The best alter­na­tive for tomor­row should be bet­ter than the best alter­na­tive avail­able today. How do we get there, when “cog­ni­tion” and “brain fit­ness” remain elu­sive con­cepts in pop­u­lar cul­ture? I believe that the lack of pub­lic edu­ca­tion is the major obsta­cle that lim­its the brain fit­ness field’s poten­tial to deliv­er real-world ben­e­fits, since only informed demand will ensure the ongo­ing devel­op­ment of ratio­nal, struc­tured “rules of the road.” What could be done to address this and oth­er par­tic­u­lar obsta­cles? Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 3: The Real Need

Engag­ing peo­ple where they are in the life-course

Eighty per­cent of the 38,000 adults over age 50 who were respon­ders in the 2010 AARP Mem­ber Opin­ion Sur­vey indi­cat­ed “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp” was their top ranked inter­est and con­cern (Dinger, 2010). What exact­ly does this phrase mean? And what role can tech­nol­o­gy play in “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp”? Intel CEO Paul Otelli­ni has said, “You have to start by think­ing about what peo­ple want to do… and work back­ward.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 2: The Ethics

The ter­mi­nol­o­gy “fun­da­men­tal attri­bu­tion error” describes the ten­den­cy to over­val­ue per­son­al­i­ty-based expla­na­tions for observed human behav­iors, while under­valu­ing sit­u­a­tion­al expla­na­tions for those behav­iors.  I believe that a pri­ma­ry rea­son behind many per­ceived and real eth­i­cal chal­lenges in the brain fit­ness field is due not so much to cer­tain stake­hold­ers’ lack of per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al ethics, but derives from the flawed soci­etal con­struct that under­pins cur­rent, rel­e­vant inno­va­tions. To improve the ethics of the brain fit­ness busi­ness and its appli­ca­tion (and empow­er con­sumers’ informed deci­sion mak­ing), there must first be agree­ment about a mean­ing­ful, appro­pri­ate way to ana­lyze and guide inno­va­tion. This is the crux of the prob­lem. The cur­rent med­ical mod­el is not up to the task at hand, since it is heav­i­ly skewed toward inva­sive drugs and devices dri­ven by dis­ease-based mod­els, and fails to lever­age Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Quotes on Lifelong Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis (and a Call to eBook Readers)

You may have  noticed that Amazon.com is shar­ing aggre­gat­ed data on how ebook read­ers inter­act with the books they are read­ing. For exam­ple, the “Pop­u­lar High­lights” sec­tion (towards the bot­tom of our Kin­dle book page) ranks the Top 10 sen­tences that Kin­dle read­ers have high­light­ed and shared while read­ing The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice and Prod­uct Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp (April 2009; 182 pages; ranked #1 in Kin­dle Store’s Pre­ven­tive Med­i­cine sec­tion).

This infor­ma­tion is invalu­able to authors and pub­lish­ers — as you can imag­ine, we’ll make sure to not only main­tain but to elab­o­rate on these top­ics as we pre­pare future edi­tions of the book.

So, what are so far the Top Ten Quotes on Life­long Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and Neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, 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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