Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Exercise your brain at these events

Here are the dates and loca­tions of some upcom­ing events where I will be pre­sent­ing. Please intro­duce your­self if you are attend­ing!

» Sep­tem­ber 4–5th, San Fran­cis­co, CA: sev­er­al Brain Health Pro­mo­tion ses­sions, at the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging con­fer­ence.

» Octo­ber 9th, Van­cou­ver, Cana­da: Exer­cis­ing Our Brains 101 and Nav­i­gat­ing The Brain Fit­ness Maze, at the British Colum­bia Seniors Liv­ing Asso­ci­a­tion annu­al con­fer­ence.

» Octo­ber 11th, San Jose, CA: The Sci­ence and Prac­tice of Brain Fit­ness, at San Jose State Uni­ver­si­ty’s Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute. (Infor­ma­tion here).

» Octo­ber 23rd, Pocatel­lo, Ida­ho: Cog­ni­tive and Emo­tion­al Train­ing for Healthy Aging, at the Ida­ho Con­fer­ence on Health Care. (Infor­ma­tion here).

» Novem­ber 1st, Berke­ley, CA: The Sci­ence and Prac­tice of Brain Fit­ness, at UC-Berke­ley’s Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute. (Infor­ma­tion here).

» Novem­ber 7–9th, Dubai: Glob­al Agen­da Coun­cils Inau­gur­al Sum­mit in Dubai, orga­nized by the World Eco­nom­ic Forum. (Infor­ma­tion here).

» Novem­ber 17th, New York City: The Emerg­ing Brain Fit­ness Field: Research and Impli­ca­tions, at New York Pub­lic Library.

» Decem­ber 5th, San Anto­nio, Texas: The Emerg­ing Brain Fit­ness Field: Overview of Research and Tools, at the Inter­na­tion­al Coun­cil on Active Aging con­fer­ence. (Infor­ma­tion here).

As always, I will share the main take-aways via this blog. I hope to meet some of you down the road!

Announcing Expert Contributors to SharpBrains.com

Start­ing this week, you will start see­ing a grow­ing num­ber of Expert Con­trib­u­tors writ­ing in our blog and web­site, so that we can col­lec­tive­ly dis­cuss the lat­est research and trends on cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al train­ing, brain fit­ness and health, and the impli­ca­tions of brain research in gen­er­al for our every­day lives. All of it, spiced up by stim­u­lat­ing brain teasers.

So, if you haven’t already, make sure to sub­scribe to our newslet­ter (above) and our RSS feed (on the right).

Let me intro­duce, In alpha­bet­i­cal order, the Expert Con­trib­u­tors who will share their knowl­edge with us in Jan­u­ary and Feb­ru­ary.

- Wes Car­roll, SB in Com­put­er Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing from MIT, and Puz­zle Mas­ter for Ask a Sci­en­tist lec­ture series.

- Simon Evans, PhD., and Paul Burghardt, PhD., who col­lab­o­rate in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan’s Depart­ment of Psy­chi­a­try and the Mol­e­c­u­lar and Behav­ioral Neu­ro­science Insti­tute, to study the effects of nutri­tion and exer­cise on brain func­tion.

- Greater Good Mag­a­zine, a quar­ter­ly mag­a­zine pub­lished by a UC-Berke­ley cen­ter to “high­lights ground break­ing sci­en­tif­ic research into the roots of com­pas­sion and altruism.“ 

- Gre­go­ry Kel­lett, a recent grad­u­ate from the Cog­ni­tive Neurology/Research Psychology Masters pro­gram at SFSU.

- Eric Jensen, author of Enrich­ing the Brain: How to Max­i­mize Every Learn­er’s Poten­tial, and well-known syn­the­siz­er of brain research infor­ma­tion with impli­ca­tions for K12 edu­ca­tion.

- Pas­cale Mich­e­lon, Ph. D., an Adjunct Fac­ul­ty at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in Saint Louis, Psy­chol­o­gy Depart­ment.

- Tom O’Brien, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus in math­e­mat­ics edu­ca­tion, South­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty, and author of prize-win­ning games.

- Joshua Stein­er­man, M.D., Post­doc­tor­al Clin­i­cal Fel­low in the Depart­ment of Neu­rol­o­gy at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter.

- David Rabin­er, Ph.D., Senior Research Sci­en­tist and Direc­tor of Under­grad­u­ate Stud­ies at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty. Dr. Rabin­er main­tains the high­ly-regard­ed Atten­tion Research Update.

Please Note: if you would like to become an Expert Con­trib­u­tor, Read the rest of this entry »

Working Memory Training from a pediatrician perspective, focused on attention deficits

Arthur Lavin Today we inter­view Dr. Arthur Lavin, Asso­ciate Clin­i­cal Pro­fes­sor of Pedi­atrics at Case West­ern School of Med­i­cine, pedi­a­tri­cian in pri­vate prac­tice, and one of the first providers of Cogmed Work­ing Mem­o­ry Train­ing in the US (the pro­gram whose research we dis­cussed with Dr. Torkel Kling­berg and Dr. Bradley Gib­son). Dr. Lavin has a long stand­ing inter­est in tech­nol­o­gy-as evi­denced by Microsoft­’s recog­ni­tion of his paper­less office- and in brain research and appli­ca­tions-he trained with esteemed Mel Levine from All Kinds of Minds-.

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Key take-aways:

- Schools today are not yet in a posi­tion to effec­tive­ly help kids with cog­ni­tive issues deal with increas­ing cog­ni­tive demands.

- Work­ing Mem­o­ry is a cog­ni­tive skill fun­da­men­tal to plan­ning, sequenc­ing, and exe­cut­ing school-relat­ed work.

- Work­ing Mem­o­ry can be trained, as evi­denced by Dr. Lav­in’s work, based on Cogmed Work­ing Mem­o­ry Train­ing, with kids who have atten­tion deficits.

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Con­text on cog­ni­tive fit­ness and schools

AF (Alvaro Fer­nan­dez): Dr. Lavin, thanks for being with us. It is not very com­mon for a pedi­a­tri­cian to have such an active inter­est in brain research and cog­ni­tive fit­ness. Can you explain the source of your inter­est?

AL (Arthur Lavin): Through­out my life I have been fas­ci­nat­ed by how the mind works. Both from the research point of view and the prac­ti­cal one: how can sci­en­tists’ increas­ing knowl­edge improve kids’ lives? We now live in an tru­ly excit­ing era in which sol­id sci­en­tif­ic progress in neu­ro­science is at last cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to improve peo­ple’s actu­al cog­ni­tive func­tion. The progress Cogmed has achieved in cre­at­ing a pro­gram that can make great dif­fer­ences in the lives of chil­dren with atten­tion deficits is one of the most excit­ing recent devel­op­ments. My col­league Ms. Susan Glaser and I recent­ly pub­lished two books: Who’s Boss: Mov­ing Fam­i­lies from Con­flict to Col­lab­o­ra­tion (Col­lab­o­ra­tion Press, 2006) and Baby & Tod­dler Sleep Solu­tions for Dum­mies (Wiley, 2007), so I not only see myself as a pedi­a­tri­cian but also an edu­ca­tor. I see par­ents in real need of guid­ance and sup­port. They usu­al­ly are both very skep­ti­cal, since Read the rest of this entry »

Cogmed Working Memory Training (RoboMemo) Founder: Award for Dr. Torkel Klingberg

Dr. Torkel KlingbergWe want to con­grat­u­late Dr. Torkel Kling­berg, pro­fes­sor of cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science at the Karolin­s­ka Insti­tute and one of the founders of our part­ner Cogmed, on receiv­ing the Philip’s Nordic Prize for his research on work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing for chil­dren diag­nosed with Atten­tion Deficit Hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty Dis­or­der (ADHD).

The prize rec­og­nizes out­stand­ing research in the field of neu­ropsy­chi­a­try and was pre­sent­ed by the Nor­we­gian roy­al princess Martha Louise at the Rik­shos­pi­tal in Oslo, Nor­way. Trans­lat­ing his research into an active train­ing pro­gram, Kling­berg co-found­ed Cogmed, a devel­op­er of soft­ware-based work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing prod­ucts head­quar­tered in Stock­holm. Cogmed’s rig­or­ous and reward­ing pro­gram com­bines com­put­er-based train­ing and per­son­al coach­ing to help peo­ple with atten­tion deficits strength­en their work­ing mem­o­ries. More than 80 per­cent of chil­dren who have com­plet­ed Cogmed’s inten­sive five-week pro­gram have demon­strat­ed dra­mat­ic and last­ing improve­ments to their atten­tion, impulse con­trol and prob­lem solv­ing skills.

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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