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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Stimulating Minds, Stimulating Links

Just a quick note to announce a new Sil­ver Spon­sor of the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, and link to a cou­ple stim­u­lat­ing online con­ver­sa­tions.

iftf-logoThe Insti­tute For the Future is an inde­pen­dent, non­prof­it strate­gic research group with more than 40 years of fore­cast­ing expe­ri­ence. The core of our work is iden­ti­fy­ing emerg­ing trends and dis­con­ti­nu­ities that will trans­form glob­al soci­ety and the glob­al mar­ket­place. We pro­vide our mem­bers with insights into busi­ness strat­e­gy, design process, inno­va­tion, and social dilem­mas. Our research spans a broad ter­ri­to­ry of deeply trans­for­ma­tive trends, from health and health care to tech­nol­o­gy, the work­place, and human iden­ti­ty. The Insti­tute for the Future is locat­ed in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia.

I have been col­lab­o­rat­ing infor­mal­ly with IFTF projects for a few years, and it is excit­ing to col­lab­o­rate on the upcom­ing Sum­mit and relat­ed work.

Now, two stim­u­lat­ing links:

1) Ency­clo­pe­dia Bri­tan­ni­ca Blog is host­ing an online con­ver­sa­tion on Mul­ti-task­ing:

Mul­ti­task­ing” remem­ber when that was some­thing com­put­ers did? They were sup­posed to do it for our ben­e­fit, to make our lives eas­i­er, but some­how it has­n’t quite worked out that way. With fast com­put­ers, the Inter­net, and smart phones in our pock­ets, today we’re always teth­ered to The Net­work, and some­times it seems we’re doing its bid­ding instead of it doing ours. There’s so much to do, it comes at us so fast, and it all has to be done now. The solu­tion: for­get what you were taught about doing one thing at a time and start doing sev­er­al things at once. Call your office from the express­way. Bring that Black­ber­ry to the meet­ing. Answer e‑mails over din­ner. Mul­ti­task.

Of course, whether mul­ti­task­ing real­ly is effi­cient is a mat­ter both of pub­lic debate and clin­i­cal research, and it’s just one of the ques­tions we plan to get into next week in a new forum on the sub­ject here at the Bri­tan­ni­ca Blog.”

You can par­tic­i­pate Here.

2) For extra brain & mind read­ing, you can vis­it  yes­ter­day’s Encephalon edi­tion at The Mouse Trap. Enjoy!

Update: Live Well to 100 by Using Your Brain

Here you have the Novem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing 107px-gray1197thumbnailcog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

Liv­ing Well to 100

100 is the new 65: Why do some peo­ple live, and well, to 100? Researchers are try­ing to find out, reports Meera Lee Sethi at Greater Good Mag­a­zine. They are dis­cov­er­ing that genet­ic fac­tors may account for only 20 to 30 per­cent of a per­son­’s lifes­pan, while envi­ron­men­tal and behav­ioral fac­tors can dic­tate the oth­er 70 to 80 per­cent.

Does cof­fee boost cog­ni­tive func­tions over time? Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon weighs the evi­dence and reports good and bad news. The good news: long-term effects seem more pos­i­tive than neg­a­tive, so cof­fee leads to no clear harm. The bad news: there are no clear ben­e­fi­cial effects on gen­er­al brain func­tions (impli­ca­tion for pro­po­nents of “smart pills”: don’t use cof­fee as the anal­o­gy).

10 Inno­va­tions for the Aging Soci­ety: In the Thanks­giv­ing’s spir­it, we want to thank 10 pio­neers for emerg­ing inno­va­tions that may help mil­lions of peo­ple alive today to keep our brains in top shape per­haps till we are 100 or more. Many of those pio­neers will par­tic­i­pate in the inau­gur­al Sharp­Brains Sum­mit.

In Autopi­lot?

Train your autopilot.…and how to turn it off: Madeleine Van Hecke, Ph.D shares an excerpt from The Brain Advan­tage, in which she encour­ages main­tain­ing men­tal “autopi­lot” when it’s work­ing well, yet shift­ing to more con­scious delib­er­a­tions when need­ed.

Sci­en­tia Pro Pub­li­ca:  A good way to turn off autopi­lot is to enjoy some great sci­ence and nature blog­ging, cour­tesy of Sci­en­tia Pro Pub­li­ca blog car­ni­val. Addi­tion­al­ly, you can enjoy read­ing some of the best neu­ro­science, psy­chol­o­gy and med­ical blog­ging at the first ever com­bined Grand Rounds/ Encephalon edi­tion.

Games for Health

Games for Health Research: The Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion announced more than $1.85 mil­lion in grants for research teams to study how dig­i­tal games can improve play­ers health. One of the grantees is UCS­F’s Adam Gaz­za­ley (who will be speak­ing at the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit) to devel­op a dri­ving game for cog­ni­tive fit­ness among younger and old­er adults.

Smart indus­try-research col­lab­o­ra­tion: Lumos Labs and researchers Susanne Jaeg­gi and Mar­tin Buschkuehl announce a col­lab­o­ra­tion to make the orig­i­nal Dual N‑Back work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing pro­gram avail­able online and use it for ongo­ing research.

News

Mar­i­an C. Dia­mond to open Sharp­Brains Sum­mit: Kick­ing off our Jan­u­ary 2010 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit is Mar­i­an C. Dia­mond, one of the pio­neers of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty research since the 1960s. She will intro­duce us to the human brain, its anato­my and func­tion, and impli­ca­tions of  neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty for brain health and per­for­mance at any age.

The Sharp­Brains Guide’s reviews and inter­views: a col­lec­tion of links to inter­views and reviews of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness.

Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion (mem­bers-only): Dis­cus­sion on the future of com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py; Unit­ed BioSource acquires Cog­ni­tive Drug Research; inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ship between Nav­i­gen­ics and Posit Sci­ence; new research on brain impact of Tetris; how a drop in visu­al skills may pre­cede Alzheimer’s Dis­ease;  excel­lent report by the Nation­al Acad­e­mies for the US Army avail­able for free now.

Brain Teas­er

Who will you believe, me or your own eyes? dis­cov­er the 3 Win­ners of the 2009 Best Visu­al Illu­sion of the Year Con­test. Neu­ro­sci­en­tists Susana Mar­tinez-Conde and Stephen Mack­nik, who help orga­nize the con­test, will give a fun demo on Mag­ic and the Brain at Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, to dis­cuss the lim­its of human per­cep­tion and cog­ni­tion.

Enjoy the final month of 2009!

Grand Rounds: Brain and Cognition edition

Encephalon (brain & mind blog car­ni­val, edi­tion ) final­ly meets Grand Rounds (health & med­i­cine blog car­ni­val).

What a nice sur­prise. Hel­lo. Nice to meet you!

Note: Chron­ic Babe wins a com­pli­men­ta­ry copy of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness for basi­cal­ly invent­ing cog­ni­tive sleep ther­a­py. Con­grats!

Life and Death

Mind­Hacks dis­cuss­es an unex­pect­ed surge in brain activ­i­ty when blood pres­sure drops to zero.

In Sick­ness & In Health suf­fers a death in the fam­i­ly. Adam shem tov. A man of good name.

Brain­Blog­ger won­ders, is reli­gion a “nat­ur­al” phe­nom­e­non?

Mind and Empa­thy

Behav­ior­ism & Men­tal Health finds that every­one can have a men­tal ill­ness — take a look at “Adjust­ment Dis­or­der”.

ACP Internist rein­forces the impor­tance of empa­thy. Nov­el Patient encour­ages patients to dream big, Flo­re­cen­dot­com high­lights how patients them­selves con­tribute to patient safe­ty. The Hip­po­crat­ic Oaf dis­cuss­es the feel­ings of a med­ical stu­dent. Clin­i­cal Cas­es won­ders what doc­tors  in train­ing car­ry in their white coats.

Advances in the His­to­ry of Psy­chol­o­gy exam­ines an impor­tant ear­ly step in the jour­ney to con­cep­tu­al­ize cog­ni­tion and emo­tion from a neur­al point of view.

The Fit­ness Fix­er empathizes with her feet.

Brain

How to Cope With Pain dis­cuss­es a con­tro­ver­sial treat­ment for severe pain.

Neu­rophiloso­pher shows how vision (view­ing one’s body) can mod­u­late the sens­es of touch and pain. Fun exper­i­ments  includ­ed. Neu­r­o­crit­ic takes things one step fur­ther, and takes us to the poten­tial future of tat­too removal.

Prov­i­den­tia announces a new NFL Con­cus­sion Com­mit­tee. 300,000 sports-relat­ed trau­mat­ic brain injuries occur in the Unit­ed States alone each year.

Sharp­Brains answers 15 com­mon ques­tions relat­ed to neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty.

Med­ical Smart­phones Read the rest of this entry »

Encephalon brain & mind blog carnival

Quick heads up: the lat­est edi­tion of Encephalon brain & mind blog car­ni­val is Here, nice­ly host­ed by Neu­roskep­tic.

Encephalon brain & mind blog carnival

New edi­tion of Encephalon, the selec­tion of recent blog posts on brain & mind top­ics, this time host­ed by Mike at Ion­ian Enchant­ment. Enjoy Encephalon’s #75 edi­tion!

About SharpBrains

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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