Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study: Internet-based screening can help detect aging-related cognitive deficits

Cogniciti_assessment

We just came across a new and fas­ci­nat­ing sci­en­tific paper, titled Development and evaluation of a self-administered on-line test of memory and attention for middle-aged and older adults, and published at Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Here is the very readable abstract:

“There is a need for rapid and reliable Internet-based screening tools for cognitive assessment in middle-aged and older adults. We report the psychometric properties of an on-line tool designed to screen for cognitive deficits that Read the rest of this entry »

Next in mental health, substance abuse: Preventive interventions to strengthen working memory

working_memory

Strong working memory puts brakes on problematic drug use (Medical Xpress):

“Adolescents with strong working memory are better equipped to escape early drug experimentation without progressing into substance abuse issues…Most important in the picture is executive attention, a component of working memory that involves a person’s ability to Read the rest of this entry »

Can brain training work? Yes, if it meets these 5 conditions

brain exerciseIn a modern society we are confronted with a wide range of increasingly abstract and interconnected problems. Successfully dealing with such an environment requires a highly fit brain, capable of adapting to new situations and challenges throughout life. Consequently, we expect cross-training the brain to soon become as mainstream as cross-training the body is today, going beyond unstructured mental activity and Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Promising New Neurocognitive Intervention for Preschoolers with ADHD (TEAMS)

Although medication treatment and behavior therapy provide short-term symptomatic relief for children with ADHD, such gains rarely persist after treatment ends. Because these treatments are infrequently sustained over extended periods (most children on medication do not even remain on it for a year), few individuals with ADHD receive effective treatment over the long-term. This may explain why Read the rest of this entry »

Distracted in the Workplace? Meet Maggie Jackson’s Book (Part 2 of 2)

Today we continue the conversation with Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.

You can read part 1 here.

Q – In your Harvard Management Update interview, you said that “When what we pay attention to is driven by the last email we received, the trivial and the crucial occupy the same plane.” As well, it seems to be that a problem is our culture’s over-idealization of “always on” and “road warrior” habits, which distract from the importance of executive functions such as paying attention to one’s environment, setting up goals and plans, executing on them, measuring results, and internalizing learning. How can companies better equip their employees for future success? Can you offer some examples of companies who have positive cultures that encourage and reward employees fully put their frontal lobes into good use?

A.  As I mentioned above, we are working and living in ways that undermine our ability to strategize, focus, reflect, innovate. Skimming, multitasking and speed all have a place in 21st-century life. But we can’t let go of deeper skills of focus and thinking and relating, or we’ll create a society of misunderstanding and shallow thinking.

To create workplaces that foster strategic thinking, deep social connection and innovation, we need to take three steps:

First, question the values that venerate McThinking and undermine attention. Recently, my morning paper carried a front-page story about efforts in an age of impatience to create a quick-boot computer. It’s ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes to start up their computer, explained one tech executive. The first hand up in the classroom, the hyper business-man or woman who can’t sit still, much less listen  these are icons of success in American society. Still, many of us are beginning to question our adoration of instant gratification and hyper-mobility.

Second, we need to set the stage for focus individually and collectively by rewriting our climate of distraction and inattention. To help, some companies and business leaders are experimenting with white space the creation of physical spaces or times on the calendar for uninterrupted, unwired thinking and Read the rest of this entry »

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