Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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.


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.


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.

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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 »

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