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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Health Business Grows With Research and Demand

I wrote this arti­cle for the March/ April edi­tion of the pub­li­ca­tion Aging Today, pub­lished by the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging, and received per­mis­sion to repro­duce it here.

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In recent years, most pro­fes­sion­als in aging have become aware of the grow­ing sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence show­ing that human brains retain the abil­i­ty to gen­er­ate neu­rons and change over a life­time, dis­cov­er­ies that have bro­ken the sci­en­tif­ic par­a­digm preva­lent dur­ing the 20th cen­tu­ry. Fur­ther­more, neu­roimag­ing and cog­ni­tive train­ing stud­ies are show­ing how well-direct­ed exer­cise presents peo­ple major oppor­tu­ni­ties for healthy brain aging.

How can peo­ple use emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies to keep their brains healthy and pro­duc­tive as long as pos­si­ble? An emerg­ing mar­ket for brain health– $225 mil­lion mar­ket in 2007, in the Unit­ed States alone, of which con­sumers account for $80 million–is try­ing to address that ques­tion in a way that com­ple­ments oth­er impor­tant more tra­di­tion­al pil­lars (and mul­ti-bil­lion indus­tries) of brain health, such as phys­i­cal exer­cise, bal­anced diet, stress man­age­ment (stress has been shown to actu­al­ly kill neu­rons and reduce the rate of cre­ation of new ones) and over­all men­tal stim­u­la­tion and life­long learn­ing.

2007 AN ACTIVE YEAR

A series of impor­tant events took place in 2007, a sem­i­nal year for the brain health field, begin­ning in Jan­u­ary when many main­stream media pub­li­ca­tions, such as Time Mag­a­zine and CBS News, start­ed to pub­lish major sto­ries on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and brain exer­cise. This media cov­er­age fol­lowed the pub­li­ca­tion of the long-await­ed results from nation­al clin­i­cal tri­als show­ing that sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­ages of the par­tic­i­pants age 65 and old­er who trained for five weeks improved their mem­o­ry, rea­son­ing and infor­ma­tion-pro­cess­ing speed. Find­ings from the Advanced Cog­ni­tive Train­ing for Inde­pen­dent and Vital Elder­ly (ACTIVE) Study appeared in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (Dec. 20, 2006) and revealed that even after five years, par­tic­i­pants in the ACTIVE com­put­er-based pro­gram showed less of a decline in infor­ma­tion-pro­cess­ing skills than those in a con­trol group that received no cog­ni­tive train­ing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Health, Medicine and Wellness blogs

First of all, thank you for com­ing to enjoy our 50 brain teasers…the reac­tion was over­whelm­ing. We will pre­pare more!

Sec­ond, quick links to excel­lent health-relat­ed blog car­ni­vals:

Grand Rounds: the most com­pre­hen­sive one

Health Wonk Review: focused on pub­lic pol­i­cy

Change of Shift: nurs­ing-ori­ent­ed

Med­i­cine 2.0: on how web 2.0 inter­acts with the med­ical field

Third, here you have a use­ful rank­ing of top 100 Health blogs. Our blog is #10, despite our niche focus on brain health and fit­ness!

Executive Functions and Google/ Microsoft Brain Teasers

Inter­est­ing arti­cle: Want a job at Google? Try these brain­teasers first (CNN)

Quote: “Seem­ing­ly ran­dom ques­tions like these have become com­mon­place in Sil­i­con Val­ley and oth­er tech out­posts, where com­pa­nies aren’t as inter­est­ed in the cor­rect answer to a tough ques­tion as they are in how a prospec­tive employ­ee might try to solve it. Since busi­ness­es today have to be able to react quick­ly to shift­ing mar­ket dynam­ics, they want more than engi­neers with high IQs and good col­lege tran­scripts. They want peo­ple who can think on their feet.”

Com­ment: What are those com­pa­nies (Google, Microsoft, Ama­zon) after? Employ­ees with good Exec­u­tive Func­tions. You can try some of the fun teasers in the arti­cle:

1) How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

  • About 500,000, assum­ing the bus is 50 balls high, 50 balls wide, and 200 balls long

2) You’re shrunk and trapped in a blender that will turn on in 60 sec­onds. What do you do?

Some options:

1. Use the mea­sure­ment marks to climb out

2. Try to unscrew the glass

3. Risk rid­ing out the air cur­rent

3) How much should you charge to wash all the win­dows in Seat­tle?

  • Assum­ing 10,000 city blocks, 600 win­dows per block, five min­utes per win­dow, and a rate of $20 per hour, about $10 mil­lion

 

PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers to test your cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty. Free, and fun for adults of any age!

 

Neuroscience, Grand Rounds, and more blog carnivals

This week we have enjoyed 3 great blog car­ni­vals

And, of course, there are more on a vari­ety of top­ics:

Med­i­cine and web 2.0, Change of Shift, Edu­ca­tion, Read the rest of this entry »

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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