Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Full Recordings Available Now: 2011 SharpBrains Summit

We are pleased to announce that full record­ings for all pre­sen­ta­tions deliv­ered dur­ing the 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit: Retool­ing Brain Health for the 21st Cen­tu­ry (March 30 — April 1, 2011) are now avail­able both to Sum­mit Par­tic­i­pants and to non-Par­tic­i­pants.

You can Learn More Here and Access 40+ Talks and 20+ hours of up-to-date infor­ma­tion and analy­sis of brain sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion, deliv­ered by noth­ing short of a world-class fac­ul­ty.

–> Reg­is­tered Sum­mit Par­tic­i­pants can access all Ses­sion Record­ings by click­ing on the ses­sion titles in the Agen­da page and using the same User­name and Pass­word they used to par­tic­i­pate in the Sum­mit.

–> Did­n’t Reg­is­ter to Par­tic­i­pate in the 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit but want to access all Ses­sion Record­ings (20+ hours, 40+ speak­ers) Now? You can secure your log-in here.

We hope the infor­ma­tion and analy­sis pro­vid­ed by these 40+ world-class speak­ers address­ing this 3‑day agen­da pro­vide excel­lent val­ue to you: Read the rest of this entry »

Talk @ UCLA Technology & Aging Conference

Quick note: I will be speak­ing at the UCLA Tech­nol­o­gy & Aging Con­fer­ence on Fri­day, Octo­ber 29th, in Los Ange­les. Please drop me a line or intro­duce your­self if you are plan­ning to attend.

The Sched­ule fea­tures many good ses­sions, includ­ing one on Brain Fit­ness:

  • Descrip­tion: Grow­ing sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence sug­gests that such strate­gies as phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise can improve brain health and cog­ni­tive per­for­mance. This ses­sion will review the lat­est research sup­port­ing brain fit­ness meth­ods, high­light new cog­ni­tive train­ing devices, and dis­cuss the chal­lenge of deter­min­ing the effec­tive­ness of these tech­nolo­gies.
  • Speak­ers: Bill Reich­man (Bay­crest), Steven Aldrich (Posit Sci­ence), Gary & Rita Con­si­dine (Gar­ri Pro­duc­tions), Alvaro Fer­nan­dez of (Sharp­Brains).
  • Mod­er­a­tor: Gary Small (UCLA Cen­ter on Aging).

To learn more and reg­is­ter: click Here.

Dr. Gary Small’s The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: Brain Fog

(Edi­tor’s Note: what fol­lows is an excerpt from Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vor­gan’s new book, The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psy­chi­a­trist’s Sto­ries of His Most Bizarre Cas­es)


Brain Fog

Sum­mer 1990

Gigi and I had moved to Stu­dio City, about a forty-minute com­mute to UCLA. On week­ends, we often went to the movies at Uni­ver­sal City­Walk, a repli­ca­tion of Los Ange­les with­in Los Ange­les. Why peo­ple couldn’t just walk down the real streets of Los Ange­les made no sense to me, yet there we were, on a Fri­day evening, eat­ing ice cream and strolling down a sim­u­lat­ed street.

We had just seen Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new sci­encefic­tion film about a con­struc­tion work­er who under­goes a false mem­o­ry trans­plant that takes him on an imag­i­nary trip to Mars. But things go wrong, and when he comes out of it, he can’t tell what’s real and what’s imag­ined.

When he first got back from Mars, there were so many signs that he was from the future that I believed it,” I said.
“But hon­ey, before he had that mem­o­ry implant done, he was per­fect­ly hap­py liv­ing in the present—on Earth. Then he got all para­noid.”
“Of course he did. How do you know what’s real­i­ty if you can’t trust your mem­o­ry?” I asked.
“I don’t know; you’re the mem­o­ry expert. I want to go into this shop for a minute.” Gigi dis­ap­peared into a record store.

As I ate my ice cream and watched the crowds, I kept think­ing about those ques­tions. If two real­i­ties seem equal­ly true, how would you know which ver­sion to believe? Many of my patients strug­gled with sim­i­lar issues, whether they were psy­chot­ic, dement­ed, or sim­ply hav­ing mem­o­ry prob­lems.

Over the past few years, I had begun to con­cen­trate a large part of my prac­tice on mem­o­ry issues—not just in old­er patients with Alzheimer’s dis­ease but in mid­dle-aged peo­ple who were wor­ried about their increas­ing for­get­ful­ness. My research was also focus­ing on ear­ly detec­tion of demen­tia and age-relat­ed mem­o­ry decline, and I was devel­op­ing brain imag­ing as a diag­nos­tic tool.

Gigi came back with a bag of CDs and said Read the rest of this entry »

Centre for Brain Fitness at Baycrest: Interview with Dr. William Reichman

In April 2008, Bay­crest, a lead­ing research insti­tute focused on aging and brain func­tion, received $10-mil­lion from the Ontario Gov­ern­ment to cre­ate a ground­break­ing Cen­tre for Brain Fit­ness. Its stat­ed goal was to “devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize a range of prod­ucts designed to improve the brain health of aging Ontar­i­ans and oth­ers around the world”.

Our gov­ern­ment is proud to sup­port Bay­crest and its invalu­able work, which is already lead­ing to the dis­cov­ery of impor­tant new tools and approach­es to treat­ing brain dis­eases asso­ci­at­ed with aging,” said Min­is­ter of Research and Inno­va­tion, John Wilkin­son.

We have Baycrest’s CEO with us today, to explore why Ontario and Bay­crest chose to Bill Reichman Baycrestbecome pio­neers in this area, and dis­cuss some of the main oppor­tu­ni­ties, and chal­lenges. Dr. William E. Reich­man is Pres­i­dent and CEO of Bay­crest. Dr. Reich­man, an inter­na­tion­al­ly-known expert in geri­atric men­tal health and demen­tia, is also Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try on the Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Bill, thank you for your time. Let me start by ask­ing, giv­en that you just spoke at the recent Con­sumer Elec­tron­ic Show, what do you make of the grow­ing brain fit­ness field?

Bill Reich­man: it looks like a clas­sic exam­ple of a very promis­ing but still ear­ly stage field – a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ty and enthu­si­asm, but also a lot of prod­uct claims that are not backed by sol­id research. Think about the phys­i­cal fit­ness anal­o­gy: even today, after decades of progress, you still see peo­ple buy­ing research-based prod­ucts such as tread­mills but also all types of ran­dom machines they see on TV and have not been sub­ject to any val­i­da­tion. Sim­i­lar­ly, con­sumers today do not know what to make of grow­ing brain fit­ness claims. As anoth­er speak­er point­ed out, for the indus­try to ful­fill its promise, it will need to be care­ful with research and claims, not to end up like the nutraceu­ti­cals cat­e­go­ry.

By the way, let me rec­og­nize that the work you are doing with Sharp­Brains reports and your web­site is very impor­tant to offer qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion.

Thank you. Let’s step back for a moment. Tak­ing a, say, 10 years view, what is the main oppor­tu­ni­ty that tech­nol­o­gy-based brain fit­ness can offer to soci­ety?

First of all, let me say that I think we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI cen­tu­ry, sim­i­lar to what hap­pened with Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Health in the XX, and tech­nol­o­gy will play a cru­cial role.

Giv­en the rapid advances we are wit­ness­ing today in the research and tech­nol­o­gy are­nas, I feel con­fi­dent in say­ing that in less than 10 years we will have both valid and reli­able assess­ments of cog­ni­tive func­tions, that will be used both by Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Plasticity, Health and Fitness Books

As you may have noticed, we just changed a few things in our site, includ­ing prepar­ing a more sol­id Resources sec­tion. Please take a look at the nav­i­ga­tion bar at the top.

One of the new pages, that we will update often, is an expand­ed Books page. Here are the books that we are rec­om­mend­ing now.

Fas­ci­nat­ing books on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence):

Sharon Begley: Train Your Mind, Change Your BrainTrain Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Sci­ence Reveals Our Extra­or­di­nary Poten­tial to Trans­form Our­selves — by Sharon Beg­ley.


The Brain That Changes Itself - Norman DoidgeThe Brain That Changes Itself: Sto­ries of Per­son­al Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence — by Nor­man Doidge.


Great pop­u­lar sci­ence books by Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

RSS Feed

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

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.