Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study: Cognitive training can help maintain driving mobility

Driving2Brain training could add years behind the wheel (Futurity):

“Older adults who participate in training designed to improve cognitive ability are more likely to continue driving over the next 10 years than those who don’t, research shows.

For a new study, published in Read the rest of this entry »

News: DriveSharp, Cognitive Health, Posit Science and CogniFit

Round-up of recent news on cognitive health and brain fitness:

1) Impressive coup by Posit Science: Walter Mossberg reviews DriveSharp:

A Review of DriveSharp (Wall Street Journal)

– “My verdict is that it was easy to use, and it did indeed work on my ability to rapidly recall the color and position of multiple moving objects and of objects on the periphery of my vision. It intelligently adjusted to my performance, and gradually presented me with tougher tasks.”

– “However, two major caveats are in order. First, I am neither a scientist nor a doctor, so I can’t vouch for the company’s claims about DriveSharp’s benefits or even the underlying problem it aims to alleviate. Secondly, I wasn’t able to test DriveSharp long enough to know if it actually made me a better driver.”

2) Now, is the potential limited to older drivers? not really, as noted in this Seattle Times article:

Brain-fitness companies applying neuroscience to make safer drivers (Seattle Times)

– “CogniFit President Shlomo Breznitz says previous versions of this software have been in use by the largest driving schools in the U.K. and Canada.”

– “The brains of new drivers have to acquire new skills that take time to develop,” he said. “Typically, they take about two years of driving, as witnessed by accident records all over the world. By actively training these skills the time needed for the brain to achieve the same level of expertise is shortened. This shortens the extremely high risk period of new drivers.”

3) Challenge – do people understand what we are talking about? not always, as reported in this great special issue of The Gerontologist:

GSA – Population Segments Differ on Perceptions of Cognitive Health

– “All demographic groups studied believed that cognitive health is influenced by physical, mental, and social activity; however, they differed in opinions of the benefits of specific activities, nutrition, and genetics. The respondents also indicated that that media messages about cognitive health are limited and confusing. Furthermore, many agreed that health messages that incorporate specific community values and are delivered within pre-existing social groups by community leaders may be particularly effective.”
– “Funding for the special issue, titled “Promoting Cognitive Health in Diverse Populations of Older Adults: Attitudes, Perceptions, Behaviors, and their Implications for Community-Based Interventions,” was provided by the CDC’s Healthy Aging Program.”

All in all, very relevant data points that suggest the field is quickly approaching mainstream.

MetLife Mature Market Institute: Meaning, Purpose and Cognitive Health for a Lifelong Good Life

Increased longevity has generated many questions and much interest in healthy aging and retirement lifestyles over the recent decades. As Americans become educated regarding lifestyle choices that contribute to both physical and mental health, the definition of healthy aging has expanded to include brain health.

The notion of retirement as a time of withdrawal from society, to be spent on rest and repose reflected the thinking of a previous era when people expected shorter life spans. It is now known that the human brain benefits from environments rich in novel and complex stimuli, and that by actively participating in society and taking on personally relevant roles, people find meaning and purpose, which gives them a reason to get up in the morning and pursue new challenges.

This year, the MetLife Mature Market Institute published a research study titled Discovering What Matters: Balancing Money, Medicine and Meaning. The study explored how people rebalance their priorities over time and juggle various competing aspects of life including money, medicine (a metaphor for health) and meaning, in order to live the Good Life.  Having purpose was found to Read the rest of this entry »

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