Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Minding the Aging Brain

Cog­ni­tive train­ing (the basis for what we call “brain fit­ness” these days) has a wide array of appli­ca­tions. The most recentneurons one, which is cap­tur­ing public’s imag­i­na­tion, monop­o­liz­ing media cov­er­age, and cre­at­ing cer­tain con­fu­sion, is Healthy Brain Aging. We are for­tu­nate to have Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man, one of our new Expert Con­trib­u­tors, offer today his great voice to this con­ver­sa­tion. Enjoy!

- Alvaro
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Mind­ing the Aging Brain

– By Joshua R. Stein­er­man, M.D.

Sci­en­tists, philoso­phers, artists, and experts from all fields of human endeav­or lament: it ain’t easy get­ting old­er. It? Do they refer to frailty and dis­abil­i­ty? To bod­i­ly dis­ease? To life at its essence?

It’s all in your head

The mind is not set in stone, but it is encased by bone. It’s real­ly all about the brain, the hyphen in the mind-body conun­drum. That squishy gray neu­ronal jun­gle is the inter­face between inter­nal life and envi­ron­men­tal sen­sa­tions and stim­u­la­tion. As expect­ed, the brain shows signs of aging just as a wrin­kled brow, a stooped pos­ture, or an arthrit­ic fin­ger might. The most com­mon brain changes observed in aging and in age-asso­ci­at­ed neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­ease include:

Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Exercise for the Frontal lobes: the McKinsey Mind

My first full-time job was as a strate­gic con­sul­tant at McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny. A very intense 2-year learn­ing expe­ri­ence.

Their Alum­ni News Ser­vice recent­ly inter­viewed me and pub­lished this great arti­cle on Sharp­Brains. The writer does a superb job of pro­vid­ing an overview of what we do, so I rec­om­mend you read it. I’d like to empha­size the fol­low­ing quotes for any­one look­ing for jobs these days, so that “brain exer­cise” is part of the equa­tion:

  • Alvaro has some very high praise for the men­tal gym­nas­tics that the McK­in­sey expe­ri­ence pro­vides.  Giv­en that the frontal lobes in our brain (behind the fore­head) only mature in our late 20s, he says, the jobs we take in our ear­ly and mid-20s are very impor­tant not only for our career prospects, but also for our brain devel­op­ment fit­ness. This is the stage in our life where, con­scious­ly or not, we can improve our deci­sion-mak­ing, ini­tia­tive and self-reg­u­la­tion abil­i­ties, all of which lit­er­al­ly affect the phys­i­cal growth of our frontal lobes in a sig­nif­i­cant way.”
  • Join­ing McK­in­sey as a BA is lit­er­al­ly like join­ing a brain gym, Alvaro says. “The demands of the McK­in­sey mod­el. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness News: Posit Science, Slate

A cou­ple of quick links

  • DISCOVER Mag­a­zine, May 2007 issue, brings a great arti­cle titled “The Elas­tic Brain: Michael Merzenich believes you can tone your mind and stave off mem­o­ry loss. All it takes is time in his men­tal gym”. The arti­cle (which is not avail­able online) pro­vides a great overview of the amaz­ing work of Prof. Merzenich (a UCSF neu­ro­sci­en­tist) with Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing and Posit Sci­ence, pio­neers in the field. The writer’s tone is pos­i­tive over­all but adds a note of skep­ti­cism, say­ing that “Yet despite the enthu­si­as­tic tes­ti­mo­ny I heard from senior cit­i­zens who have tried the pro­gram, there are no for­mal stud­ies pub­lished in peer-reviewed jour­nals that demon­strate the program’s effects” and gath­er­ing crit­i­cisms out­lined by oth­er researchers. Hav­ing said so, in our opin­ion, Posit Sci­ence offers the best pro­gram we have seen focused on improv­ing audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing, and we expect to see more clear stud­ies soon-the field is rel­a­tive­ly new.
  • Slate Mag­a­zine presents a spe­cial issue on the brain. We will review and com­ment on it soon, includ­ing a neu­ro­bic club/ brain gym.

You can see here an inter­view with inter­view with Dr. Michael Merzenich

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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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