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Trend: Going on a brain health vacation

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A Look at Lux­u­ry Resorts That Now Offer Brain Health Pro­grams (Next Avenue):

Like any self-dis­re­spect­ing woman, I’ve spent a life­time of mir­ror scruti­ny (and cash) on my thighs, hips, heart, back, post-baby bel­ly, even my eye­brows. For all this invest­ment, I’ve paid scant atten­tion to the one irre­place­able body part that keeps every­thing else run­ning: my brain.

Why not learn how to show it some love, then, in the nicest pos­si­ble way — by tak­ing it on a brain vaca­tion?

Gray mat­ter is the lat­est twist in the red-hot well­ness tourism cat­e­go­ry, which is grow­ing by 7.5% a year, accord­ing to the Glob­al Well­ness Insti­tute .… “It’s pos­si­ble to alter 70% of your genet­ic des­tiny by chang­ing non­genet­ic fac­tors, with the deci­sions you make. That’s the new field called epi­ge­net­ics,” says Dr. Richard Car­mona, the 17th U.S. Sur­geon Gen­er­al…

Although any­one can learn brain-health basics at home, doing so with pro­fes­sion­al sup­port while on vaca­tion costs, well, big vaca­tion bucks. 10-room Life­works runs $5,000 for four nights of all-inclu­sive meals and activ­i­ties. Canyon Ranch’s “Boost Your Brain” pro­gram costs $500, and that’s above its stan­dard tab of $1,099 per per­son per night — also all-inclu­sive.

Maybe it’s best to think of this as a brain invest­ment as well as a hol­i­day. What’s the price of a brain that works bet­ter, longer?”

Trend in Context:

Epigenetics: Nature vs. Nurture?

In yesterday’s inter­view with Michael Pos­ner, he says:

- “There is a grow­ing num­ber of stud­ies that show the impor­tance of inter­ac­tion between our genes and each of our envi­ron­ments. Epi­ge­net­ics is going to help us under­stand that ques­tion bet­ter, but let me share a very inter­est­ing piece of research from my lab where we found an unusu­al inter­ac­tion between genet­ics and par­ent­ing.”

- “Good par­ent­ing, as mea­sured by dif­fer­ent research-based scales, has been shown to build good effort­ful con­trol which, as we saw ear­li­er, is so impor­tant. Now, what we found is that some spe­cif­ic genes reduced, even elim­i­nat­ed, the influ­ence of the qual­i­ty of par­ent­ing. In oth­er words, some children’s devel­op­ment real­ly depends on how their par­ents bring them up, where­as oth­ers do not — or do to a much small­er extent.”

Now check out this fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle in the Econ­o­mist:Domes­ti­ca­tion and intel­li­gence in dogs and wolves | Not so dumb ani­mals

- “Monique Udell of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da … won­dered whether learn­ing rather than evo­lu­tion explained his obser­va­tions. Her team there­fore worked with a mix­ture of pet dogs, dogs from ani­mal shel­ters that had had min­i­mal inter­ac­tion with peo­ple, and wolves raised by humans.”

- “As they report in Ani­mal Behav­iour, the wolves out­per­formed both shel­ter dogs and pets. Indeed, Read the rest of this entry »

Training Attention and Emotional Self-Regulation — Interview with Michael Posner

(Editor’s Note: this is one of the 20 inter­views includ­ed in the book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance at Any Age)

Michael I. Pos­ner is a promi­nent sci­en­tist in the field of cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science. He is cur­rent­ly an emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­science at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon (Depart­mentMichael Posner of Psy­chol­o­gy, Insti­tute of Cog­ni­tive and Deci­sion Sci­ences). In August 2008, the Inter­na­tion­al Union of Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence made him the first recip­i­ent of the Dogan Prize “in recog­ni­tion of a con­tri­bu­tion that rep­re­sents a major advance in psy­chol­o­gy by a schol­ar or team of schol­ars of high inter­na­tion­al rep­u­ta­tion.”

Dr. Pos­ner, many thanks for your time today. I real­ly enjoyed the James Arthur Lec­ture mono­graph on Evo­lu­tion and Devel­op­ment of Self-Reg­u­la­tion that you deliv­ered last year. Could you pro­vide a sum­ma­ry of the research you pre­sent­ed?

I would empha­size that we human beings can reg­u­late our thoughts, emo­tions, and actions to a greater degree than oth­er pri­mates. For exam­ple, we can choose to pass up an imme­di­ate reward for a larg­er, delayed reward.

We can plan ahead, resist dis­trac­tions, be goal-ori­ent­ed. These human char­ac­ter­is­tics appear to depend upon what we often call “self-reg­u­la­tion.” What is excit­ing these days is that progress in neu­roimag­ing and in genet­ics make it pos­si­ble to think about self-reg­u­la­tion in terms of spe­cif­ic brain-based net­works.

Can you explain what self-reg­u­la­tion is?

All par­ents have seen this in their kids. Par­ents can see the remark­able trans­for­ma­tion as their chil­dren devel­op the abil­i­ty to reg­u­late emo­tions and to per­sist with goals in the face of dis­trac­tions. That abil­i­ty is usu­al­ly labeled ‚ self-reg­u­la­tion.

The oth­er main area of your research is atten­tion. Can you explain the brain-basis for what we usu­al­ly call “atten­tion”?

I have been inter­est­ed in how the atten­tion sys­tem devel­ops in infan­cy and ear­ly child­hood.

One of our major find­ings, thanks to neu­roimag­ing, is that there is not one sin­gle “atten­tion”, but three sep­a­rate func­tions of atten­tion with three sep­a­rate under­ly­ing brain net­works: alert­ing, ori­ent­ing, and exec­u­tive atten­tion. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive, Brain News RoundUp

Brain Health NewsInter­est­ing recent news:

For more on these news, and com­men­tary: Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Health for lawyers

The Com­plete Lawyer, a legal pub­li­ca­tion dis­trib­uted to bar mem­bers in sev­er­al states, just pub­lished an arti­cle on Ten Impor­tant Truths About Aging: How we age is at least par­tial­ly under our con­trol, By Elkhonon Gold­berg and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez.
We were hap­py to con­tribute to the ongo­ing debate about ethics and aging in the legal pro­fes­sion, build­ing on our pre­vi­ous post on the top­ic.
What are those “Ten Truths”? Well, here you are the out­line:

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)

About SharpBrains

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