Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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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