Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement: Building an Experience Corps

(Editor’s note: Path­ways respon­si­ble for high­er-order think­ing in the pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC), or exec­u­tive cen­ter of the brain, remain vul­ner­a­ble through­out life—during crit­i­cal ear­ly-life devel­op­men­tal win­dows, when the PFC ful­ly matures in the ear­ly 20s, and final­ly from declines asso­ci­at­ed with old age. At all ages, phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and PFC-nav­i­gat­ed social con­nec­tions are essen­tial com­po­nents to main­tain­ing brain health. The Expe­ri­ence Corps, a com­mu­ni­ty-based social-engage­ment pro­gram, part­ners seniors with local schools to pro­mote pur­pose-dri­ven involve­ment. Par­tic­i­pat­ing seniors have exhib­it­ed imme­di­ate short-term gains in brain regions vul­ner­a­ble to aging, such as the PFC, indi­cat­ing that peo­ple with the most to lose have the most to gain from envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment.)

Over the last decade, sci­en­tists made two key dis­cov­er­ies that reframed our under­stand­ing of the adult brain’s poten­tial to ben­e­fit from life­long envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment. First, they learned that the adult brain remains plas­tic; it can gen­er­ate new neu­rons in response to phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and new expe­ri­ences. Sec­ond, they con­firmed the impor­tance of social con­nect­ed­ness to late-life cog­ni­tive, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and phys­i­cal health. The inte­gra­tion of these find­ings with our under­stand­ing of indi­vid­u­als’ devel­op­men­tal needs through­out life under­scores the impor­tance of the “social brain.” The pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC) is par­tic­u­lar­ly inte­gral to nav­i­gat­ing com­plex social behav­iors and hier­ar­chies over the life course. Read the rest of this entry »

Experience Corps: Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement

The cur­rent issue of Cere­brum –a great pub­li­ca­tion of the Dana Foun­da­tion– includes the excel­lent in-depth arti­cle Pro­mot­ing Healthy, Mean­ing­ful Aging Through Social Involve­ment: Build­ing an Expe­ri­ence Corps, writ­ten by researcher Michelle Carl­son:

Over the last decade, sci­en­tists made two key dis­cov­er­ies that reframed our under­stand­ing of the adult brain’s poten­tial to ben­e­fit from life­long envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment. First, they learned that the adult brain remains plas­tic; it can gen­er­ate new neu­rons in response to phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and new expe­ri­ences. Sec­ond, they con­firmed the impor­tance of Read the rest of this entry »

Announcement: USA Hockey takes gold at Brain Fitness Innovation Awards, Allstate & Nationwide Mutual Insurance runners-up

Please join us in con­grat­u­lat­ing USA Hock­ey, All­state, and Nation­wide, for reach­ing the podi­um of the 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards, unveiled today.

imagesThe podi­um’s top posi­tion went to USA Hock­ey Nation­al Team Devel­op­ment Pro­gram (NTDP), a full-time devel­op­ment pro­gram aimed at prepar­ing stu­dent-ath­letes for par­tic­i­pa­tion on the US Nation­al Under-18 and Under-17 Teams, for its inno­v­a­tive cog­ni­tive train­ing sys­tem designed with the help of Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing (ACE) and the BIRD Foun­da­tion to help hock­ey play­ers devel­op per­cep­tion and deci­sion-mak­ing skills. More than two years in the mak­ing and $2 mil­lion to pro­duce, the Hock­ey Intel­li­Gym offers play­ers a video-game-like train­ing envi­ron­ment to enhance ‘hockey-sense’-the infor­ma­tion gath­ered from sur­round­ings to make and exe­cute play­ing deci­sions on-ice. Accord­ing to sta­tis­tics, Intel­li­Gym train­ing helped NTDP teams win more games than non-trained teams.

Judges select­ed the entry for its inspir­ing team approach-an inter­sec­tion between spe­cial­ist, coach and play­er. To adapt such a pro­gram and demon­strate its impact on real-life per­for­mance, they felt, opened new oppor­tu­ni­ties for exten­sion to oth­er sports and every­day life.

We’re extreme­ly hon­ored that the Hock­ey Intel­li­Gym is being rec­og­nized with this pres­ti­gious award,” said Dave Ogre­an, exec­u­tive direc­tor of USA Hock­ey. “Togeth­er with ACE and the BIRD Foun­da­tion, we’re proud to have devel­oped what is a tru­ly inno­v­a­tive train­ing prod­uct that helps enhance the deci­sion-mak­ing skills of our ath­letes.”

allstate_protectionEntries from All­state and Nation­wide Mutu­al Insur­ance round­ed out the com­pe­ti­tion’s oth­er top-per­form­ers. Nation­wide Mutu­al Insur­ance’s ‘Healthy Hol­i­day Chal­lenge’ offered a Web based tool-MyBrain­So­lu­tions-to help employ­ees enhance pos­i­tiv­i­ty, emo­tion­al resilience and deal with oth­ers more effec­tive­ly — all key ele­ments to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. images (1)In Penn­syl­va­nia, All­state invit­ed select­ed dri­vers, 50 years and old­er, to help val­i­date the impact tar­get­ed cog­ni­tive train­ing such as Posit Sci­ence InSight can have on dri­ving safe­ty in an effort to pre­vent injuries, save lives, enable old­er peo­ple to main­tain their inde­pen­dence longer and pro­vide peace of mind to adult chil­dren faced with dif­fi­cult deci­sions as par­ents age.

The remain­ing Top 10 Final­ists includ­ed (in alpha­bet­i­cal order):

  • AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safe­ty
  • Arrow­smith School
  • Men­tal Health Asso­ci­a­tion of Rock­land Coun­ty
  • Oak­land Uni­fied School Dis­trict
  • Saint Luke’s Brain and Stroke Insti­tute
  • SCAN Health Plan
  • Uni­ver­si­ty Behav­ioral Health­Care

In its first year, the com­pe­ti­tion showed con­sid­er­able promise with 40 entries from pres­ti­gious orga­ni­za­tions and com­pa­nies around the world. “We’re delight­ed to have so many entries which show­case that brain fit­ness is for every­one at any age,” said Sharp­Brains’ CEO and Co-Founder Alvaro Fer­nan­dez. “The brain fit­ness field is still in its infan­cy but giv­en today’s longer life spans and the accom­pa­ny­ing desire to make those years healthy and pro­duc­tive, we believe it’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize those orga­ni­za­tions pio­neer­ing the way and adding to col­lec­tive learn­ing.”

-> To learn more about the Inno­va­tion Awards, click Here.
-> To down­load full Press Kit, click Here (includes logos, FAQ, ini­tia­tive descrip­tions, PR con­tacts).

A full 200+ page mar­ket report detail­ing all ten final­ist case stud­ies in the con­text of over­all research and mar­ket trends will be avail­able next month.

Press con­tact:
Rebec­ca Brink
PR Rep — Sharp­Brains
rebec­ca at brinkcon­sult­ing dot biz

About Sharp­Brains and the Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards

Sharp­Brains is an inde­pen­dent mar­ket research firm cov­er­ing the emerg­ing brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health mar­ket. Its flag­ship indus­try report The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket and con­sumer guide The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness help deci­sion mak­ers and con­sumers nav­i­gate the emerg­ing brain fit­ness field based on evi­dence-based infor­ma­tion and inde­pen­dent analy­sis. The orga­ni­za­tion also hosts the 3‑day online glob­al and vir­tu­al Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, a first of its kind con­fer­ence, engag­ing pro­fes­sion­als across the globe on the state of cog­ni­tive fit­ness research, tech­nol­o­gy and mar­ket trends. SharpBrains.com, the fir­m’s edu­ca­tion­al blog and web­site, is a mem­ber of the Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can Part­ner Net­work.

Designed AlvaroFer_finalfile_180310to fos­ter inno­va­tion and best prac­tice shar­ing, the Awards cel­e­brate out­stand­ing pio­neers apply­ing neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty-based research and tools in the ‘real world’. Put on by inde­pen­dent mar­ket research firm Sharp­Brains of San Fran­cis­co, the Awards rec­og­nize orga­ni­za­tions devis­ing and imple­ment­ing results-ori­ent­ed, scal­able ini­tia­tives demon­strat­ing com­mit­ment to the brain fit­ness of orga­ni­za­tion clients, mem­bers, patients, stu­dents or employ­ees-and show­case inno­v­a­tive uses of non-inva­sive tools to improve cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al func­tions.

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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