Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Fitness Webinar Series

I have been trav­el­ling much over the last 2 weeks to speak at a num­ber of con­fer­ences and uni­ver­si­ties. I promised I would be shar­ing some of the key high­lights, but we have decid­ed to do some­thing bet­ter to do jus­tice to the rich­ness and com­plex­i­ty of the field we cov­er. We are going to launch an exper­i­ment: a Brain Fit­ness Webi­nar Series.

This inau­gur­al Brain Fit­ness Webi­nar Series will con­sist of 3 free live ses­sions. The series cov­ers the most fun­da­men­tal advances in cog­ni­tive sci­ence and their impli­ca­tions for indi­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions. And we are hon­ored to have John Med­i­na lead of the ses­sions!

Each event is inde­pen­dent, in top­ic and in reg­is­tra­tion process.

Webi­nar #1: In “The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket, 2008, I will pro­videBrain Fitness Market Report an overview of the sci­ence, mar­ket, and ven­dor land­scape of the emerg­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket, based on our recent mar­ket report on this grow­ing cat­e­go­ry.
— Tar­get audi­ence: Exec­u­tives, pro­fes­sion­als, investors, reporters and blog­gers inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about the brain fit­ness mar­ket.
— More infor­ma­tion: Mar­ket Report.
— Date and time: Tues­day May 27th, 2pm EDT/ 11am PDT
Reg­is­ter: Here

Webi­nar #2: In “Brain Rules for Think­ing Smarter, John Med­i­na, devel­op­men­tal Brain Rules-John Medinamol­e­c­u­lar biol­o­gist and author of Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Striv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School will empha­size the impor­tance of phys­i­cal exer­cise, stress man­age­ment and avoid­ing mul­ti­task­ing alto­geth­er.
— Tar­get audi­ence: Any­one who wants to learn more about brain health and per­for­mance.
— More infor­ma­tion: The Sci­ence of Think­ing Smarter, by John Med­i­na.
— Date and time: Tues­day June 3rd, 2pm EDT/ 11am PDT
Reg­is­ter: Here

Webi­nar #3: In “The Sci­ence and Prac­tice of Brain Fit­ness,” I will Brain Fitness 101 eGuidepro­vide an overview of the Brain 101, lat­est research find­ings and impli­ca­tions for how to improve brain health and per­for­mance based on my class­es and speak­ing engage­ments.
— Tar­get audi­ence: Any­one who wants to learn more about brain health and per­for­mance
— Date and time: Tues­day June 10th, 2pm EDT/ 11am PDT
Reg­is­ter: Here

I hope you find this series stim­u­lat­ing. Just pick the event that sounds more rel­e­vant to your inter­ests!

On The Brain

neuronsVery intense week, and very fun. I will be writ­ing more about this week’s 3 speak­ing events, but let me say now that our key mes­sages

1) our brains remain flex­i­ble dur­ing our life­times,

2) we can refine our brains with tar­get­ed prac­tice,

3) good brain exer­cise, or “men­tal cross-training”, requires nov­el­ty, vari­ety, and increas­ing lev­el of chal­lenge (but with­out cre­at­ing too much stress),

are being very well accept­ed from both healthy aging and work­place pro­duc­tiv­i­ty points of view. We have ONE brain: health and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty are 2 sides of the same coin.

If you want to make sure we learn more about our brains, you can help fel­low blog­ger Shel­ley Batts get a col­lege schol­ar­ship by voting here. She has a great neu­ro­science blog, is now final­ist in a com­pe­ti­tion to win a nice schol­ar­ship, and needs out help.

Have some more time? You can watch this excellent 90-sec­ond video of cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tist Dr Lisa Sak­si­da doing yoga in front of the fire while explain­ing the nature of Brain and Mind (via Mind­Hacks). Quotes:

I wish peo­ple under­stood that there is no mind/brain dual­i­ty. Specif­i­cal­ly, I wish peo­ple under­stood that there is no such thing as a pure­ly psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­or­der. Every event in your psy­cho­log­i­cal life, and there­fore every psy­cho­log­i­cal change, is reducible in the­o­ry to events and changes in your brain. We should there­fore not judge peo­ple dif­fer­ent­ly, accord­ing to whether they are con­sid­ered to have a ‘psy­cho­log­i­cal’ as opposed to a ‘neu­ro­log­i­cal’ prob­lem.”

Of course, a lack of mind/brain split does not mean that we should aban­don all talk of psy­chol­o­gy. Psy­chol­o­gy and neu­ro­science are two ways of study­ing the same thing, and both are essen­tial for under­stand­ing the human con­di­tion.”

For more, check the posts in these always great blog car­ni­vals (select­ed col­lec­tions of blog posts by a num­ber of blog­gers around spe­cif­ic top­ics)

Tan­gled Bank (sci­ence in gen­er­al)

Encephalon (neu­ro­science)

Cred­it: Pho­to of Neu­rons by sym­pha­nee via flickr

Brain Fitness @ Education, Training, Health events

Brain Fitness eventsIn what cat­e­go­ry does Brain Fit­ness fit? Edu­ca­tion, Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Train­ing, Health? Most of the inter­est so far has come from a Healthy Aging angle, but we are start­ing to see broad­er inter­est, as in the events below. After all, isn’t work­ing on our brains rel­e­vant to all those mar­kets?.

2 busy weeks: I am attending/ speak­ing at a vari­ety of events. I will make sure to blog at least the take-aways from the main events dai­ly, and Car­o­line will also add her per­spec­tive as much as pos­si­ble.

A) Octo­ber 3–6th: The Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Insti­tute

B) Octo­ber 9th: First ses­sion of my class The Sci­ence of Brain Health and Brain Fit­ness at the UC-Berke­ley Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute (OLLI)

C) Octo­ber 10th: Teach­ing Brain Fit­ness in Your Com­mu­ni­ty, work­shop at an Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging (ASA) con­fer­ence for health pro­fes­sion­als

D) Octo­ber 10th: Sci­ence at Work, Inter­view at the event The Future of Work: Ampli­fied Indi­vid­u­als, Ampli­fied Orga­ni­za­tions, orga­nized by the Insti­tute for the Future


A) Octo­ber 3–6th: The Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Insti­tute. This promis­es to be a fas­ci­nat­ing event. See below the pan­els I am attend­ing-I will make sure to write some notes every day to keep you in the dis­cus­sion.

Wednes­day Octo­ber 3rd:

Great Expec­ta­tions: Amer­i­can Atti­tudes toward Per­son­al Respon­si­bil­i­ty and Med­i­cine

Health­care Re-Imag­ined: Learn­ing from Olympic Ath­letes

Thurs­day 4th:

The Dam­aged Brain: The Fight Against Neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion

The Human Ele­ment: A Can­did Con­ver­sa­tion about Pio­neers of Mod­ern Med­i­cine

The Last Fron­tier: The Mind

Glob­al Sci­en­tif­ic Invest­ment

Sci­ence Ver­sus the Bio­log­i­cal Clock Read the rest of this entry »

Best of the Brain from Scientific American

Best of Brain, Scientific American

The Dana Foun­da­tion kind­ly sent us a copy of the great book Best of the Brain from Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can, a col­lec­tion of 21 superb arti­cles pub­lished pre­vi­ous­ly in Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can mag­a­zine. A very nice­ly edit­ed and illus­trat­ed book, this is a must for any­one who enjoys learn­ing about the brain and spec­u­lat­ing about what the future will bring us.

Some essays, like the ones by Eric Kan­del (The New Sci­ence of Mind), Fred Gage (Brain, Repair Your­self), Carl Zim­mer (The Neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy of the Self) and that by Steven Hol­lon, Michael Thase and John Markowitz (Treat­ing Depres­sion: Pills or Talk), are both intel­lec­tu­al feasts and very rel­e­vant to brain fit­ness. And final­ly start­ing to per­co­late into main­stream con­scious­ness.

Let me quote some quotes and reflec­tions as I was read­ing the book a cou­ple of days ago, in the court­yard of a beau­ti­ful French cafe in Berke­ley:

1) On Brain Plas­tic­i­ty (the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself), Fred Gage says: “With­in the past 5 years, how­ev­er, neu­ro­sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered that the brain does indeed change through­out life-…The new cells and con­nec­tions that we and oth­ers have doc­u­ment­ed may pro­vide the extra capac­i­ty the brain requires for the vari­ety of chal­lenges that indi­vid­u­als face through­out life. Such plas­tic­i­ty offers a pos­si­ble mech­a­nism through which the brain might be induced to repair itself after injury or dis­ease. It might even open the prospect of enhanc­ing an already healthy brain’s pow­er to think and abil­i­ty to feel”

2)  and How Expe­ri­ence affects Brain Struc­ture: Under the sec­tion title “A Brain Work­out”, Fred Gage says “One of the mot strik­ing aspects of neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis (Note: the cre­ation of new neu­rons) is that expe­ri­ence can reg­u­late the rate of cell divi­sion, the sur­vival of new­born neu­rons and their abil­i­ty to inte­grate into the exist­ing neur­al circuits…The best way to aug­ment brain func­tion might not involve drugs or cell implants but lifestyle changes.”

3) Biol­o­gy of Mind: Eric Kan­del pro­vides a won­der­ful overview of the most Read the rest of this entry »

What’s on your mind now?

I’d love to know what was going in your mind just a few sec­onds ago, when you start­ed read­ing the title of this post. That will help us under­stand your mind­set, pri­or­i­ties, ques­tions, con­cerns, interests, and keep improv­ing our blog!

Thank you

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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