Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Study shows how practicing gratitude can help train your brain and improve mental health over time

With the rise of man­aged health care, which empha­sizes cost-effi­cien­cy and brevi­ty, men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als have had to con­front this burn­ing ques­tion: How can they help clients derive the great­est pos­si­ble ben­e­fit from treat­ment in the short­est amount of time? Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Cognitive Health and Brain Fitness Books

Here you have The 10 Most Pop­u­lar Brain Fit­ness & Cog­ni­tive Health Books, based on book pur­chas­es by Sharp­Brains’ read­ers dur­ing 2008.

Enjoy!

Brain Rules-John Medina
1. Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School (Pear Press, March 2008)
- Dr. John Med­i­na, Direc­tor of the Brain Cen­ter for Applied Learn­ing Research at Seat­tle Pacif­ic Uni­ver­si­ty, writes an engag­ing and com­pre­hen­sive intro­duc­tion to the many dai­ly impli­ca­tions of recent brain research. He wrote the arti­cle Brain Rules: sci­ence and prac­tice for Sharp­Brains read­ers.
2. The Beck Diet Solu­tion: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Per­son (Oxmoor House, March 2007)
- Dr. Judith Beck, Direc­tor of the Beck Insti­tute for Cog­ni­tive Ther­a­py and Research, con­nects the world of research-based cog­ni­tive ther­a­py with a main­stream appli­ca­tion: main­tain­ing weight-loss. Inter­view notes here.
3. The Brain That Changes Itself: Sto­ries of Per­son­al Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence (Viking, March 2007)
- Dr. Nor­man Doidge, psy­chi­a­trist and author of this New York Times best­seller, brings us “a com­pelling col­lec­tion of tales about the amaz­ing abil­i­ties of the brain to rewire, read­just and relearn”. Lau­rie Bar­tels reviews the book review here.
Spark John Ratey
4. Spark: The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary New Sci­ence of Exer­cise and the Brain(Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny, Jan­u­ary 2008)
- Dr. John Ratey, an asso­ciate clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of psy­chi­a­try at Har­vard Med­ical School, sum­ma­rizes the grow­ing research on the brain ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal exer­cise. Lau­rie Bar­tels puts this research in per­spec­tive here.
5. The Art of Chang­ing the Brain: Enrich­ing the Prac­tice of Teach­ing by Explor­ing the Biol­o­gy of Learn­ing (Sty­lus Pub­lish­ing, Octo­ber 2002)
- Dr. James Zull, Direc­tor Emer­i­tus of the Uni­ver­si­ty Cen­ter for Inno­va­tion in Teach­ing and Edu­ca­tion at Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­si­ty, writes a must-read for edu­ca­tors and life­long learn­ers. Inter­view notes here.
6. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Sci­ence Reveals Our Extra­or­di­nary Poten­tial to Trans­form Our­selves (Bal­lan­tine Books, Jan­u­ary 2007)
- Sharon Beg­ley, Newsweek’ excel­lent sci­ence writer, pro­vides an in-depth intro­duc­tion to the research on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty based on a Mind & Life Insti­tute event.
7. Thanks: How the New Sci­ence of Grat­i­tude Can Make You Hap­pi­er (Houghton Mif­flin, August 2007)
- Prof. Robert Emmons, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­o­gy at UC Davis and Edi­tor-In-Chief of the Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy, writes a sol­id book that com­bines a research-based syn­the­sis of the top­ic as well as prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions. Inter­view notes here.
8. The Exec­u­tive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civ­i­lized Mind (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, Jan­u­ary 2001)
- Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy at New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing per­spec­tive on the role of the frontal roles and exec­u­tive func­tions through the lifes­pan. Inter­view notes here.
Brain Trust Program 9. The Brain Trust Pro­gram: A Sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Mem­o­ry (Perigee Trade, Sep­tem­ber 2007)
- Dr. Lar­ry McCleary, for­mer act­ing Chief of Pedi­atric Neu­ro­surgery at Den­ver Children’s Hos­pi­tal, cov­ers many lifestyle rec­om­men­da­tions for brain health in this prac­ti­cal book. He wrote the arti­cle Brain Evo­lu­tion and Health for Sharp­Brains.
10. A User’s Guide to the Brain: Per­cep­tion, Atten­tion, and the Four The­aters of the Brain (Pan­theon, Jan­u­ary 2001)
— In this book (pre­vi­ous to Spark), Dr. John Ratey pro­vides a stim­u­lat­ing descrip­tion of how the brain works. An excel­lent Brain 101 book to any­one new to the field.

10 Brain Fitness New Year’s Resolutions

Brain Fitness New Year's ResolutionsYou have sur­vived the 2007 shop­ping and eat­ing sea­son. Con­grat­u­la­tions! Now it’s time to shift gears and focus on 2008…whether you write down some New Year res­o­lu­tions or con­tem­plate some things that you want to let go of from last year and set inten­tions and goals for this year — as is a friend’s tra­di­tion on the win­ter sol­stice.

To sum­ma­rize the key find­ings of the last 20 years of neu­ro­science research on how to “exer­cise our brains”, there are three things that we can strive for: nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge. If we do these three things, we will build new con­nec­tions in our brains, be mind­ful and pay atten­tion to our envi­ron­ment, improve cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties such as pat­tern-recog­ni­tion, and in gen­er­al con­tribute to our life­long brain health.

With these three prin­ci­ples of brain health in mind — nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge — let me sug­gest a few poten­tial New Years res­o­lu­tions, per­haps some unex­pect­ed, that will help you make 2008 a year of Brain Fit­ness: Read the rest of this entry »

Gratitude and Appreciation: from Theory to Practice

Appreciation, GratitudePsy­chol­o­gist Robert Emmons recent­ly told us about the many ben­e­fits of prac­tic­ing grat­i­tude.

- “First, the prac­tice of grat­i­tude can increase hap­pi­ness lev­els by around 25%. Sec­ond, this is not hard to achieve — a few hours spent writ­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal over 3 weeks can cre­ate an effect that lasts 6 months if not more. Third, that cul­ti­vat­ing grat­i­tude brings oth­er health effects, such as longer and bet­ter qual­i­ty sleep time.”

Thanks­giv­ing flew by for me this year with­out my tak­ing the time to express grat­i­tude to many of the peo­ple who have been so gen­er­ous with their time and advice.

Giv­en that this is a blog, I would like to say Thank You! to the fol­low­ing blog­gers Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Newsletter: November Edition

Brain exercise, brain exercisesHere you are have the Month­ly Digest of our Most Pop­u­lar Blog Posts. You can con­sid­er it your month­ly Brain Exer­cise Mag­a­zine.

(Also, remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive our RSS feed, check our Top­ics sec­tion, and sub­scribe to our month­ly newslet­ter at the top of this page if you want to receive this Digest by email).

Grat­i­tude is a very impor­tant emo­tion to cul­ti­vate, as Pro­fes­sor Robert Emmons tells us in this inter­view, based on his last book. Please take some time to read it, and to find at least one thing you are thank­ful for-it will be good for your health.

We are grate­ful about a very stim­u­lat­ing Novem­ber:

Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket News

10 Neu­rotech­nol­o­gy Trends: a lead­ing indus­try orga­ni­za­tion released their Top 10 Neu­roTrends for 2007, and brain fit­ness mat­ters appeared in 3 of them.

Thank Boomers for Buff­ing Up Brain Mar­ket: great overview of the mar­ket from a tech­nol­o­gy point of view, quot­ing our mar­ket pro­jec­tions. To clar­i­fy the num­bers men­tioned: we project $225m in the US alone for the brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket (grow­ing from $70m in 2003), bro­ken-down as fol­lows: $80m for the Con­sumer seg­ment, $60m in K12 Edu­ca­tion, $50m in Clin­i­cal appli­ca­tions, and $35m in the Cor­po­rate seg­ment. The Con­sumer seg­ment, with a healthy aging val­ue propo­si­tion, is the most recent one but the most rapid­ly grow­ing.

Exer­cise On the Brain: a NYT OpEd: a wide­ly read opin­ion piece in the New York Times, writ­ten by 2 neu­ro­sci­en­tists, that some­how seems to miss the research behind the val­ue of men­tal stim­u­la­tion and cog­ni­tive train­ing. Oth­er neu­ro­science teams and us write let­ters to the edi­tor that go unpub­lished. Should you have any con­tacts with jour­nal­ists, please ask them to con­tact us: we are always hap­py to serve as a resource to the media.

Posit Sci­ence @ GSA: well-designed Brain Train­ing Works: a time­ly heads up on how well-designed com­put­er-based pro­grams can be a great com­ple­ment to oth­er inter­ven­tions. We will be inter­view­ing the lead­ing researcher behind that study dur­ing the next 2 weeks, so keep tuned!

Brain and Mind News and Arti­cles: a vari­ety of links to good media reports, includ­ing a spec­tac­u­lar spe­cial on mem­o­ry in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic.

News You Can Use

Mar­i­an Dia­mond on the brain: lead­ing neu­ro­sci­en­tist Mar­i­an Dia­mond, now 81, shares her pre­scrip­tion for life­long brain health- diet, exer­cise, chal­lenge, new­ness and ten­der lov­ing care.

From Med­i­ta­tion to MBSR (Mind­ful­ness Based Stress Reduc­tion): a report on the ben­e­fits of med­i­ta­tion and how it is becom­ing more main­stream in med­i­cine.

Teasers

50 Mind and Brain Games for adults: you may have seen these teasers, but we want to alert you we have opened a new sec­tion in the site where you can eas­i­ly find our grow­ing col­lec­tion of teasers

Your Haiku, please?: a friend­ly chal­lenge to your brain.

Edu­ca­tion and Life­long Learn­ing

Car­ol Dweck on Mind­sets, Learn­ing and Intel­li­gence: we found a fas­ci­nat­ing inter­view on the impor­tance on hav­ing a growth and learn­ing ori­ent­ed mind­set. Both for kids and adults.

Is Intel­li­gence Innate and Fixed?: some reflec­tions based on biol­o­gy.

Cor­po­rate Train­ing, Well­ness and Lead­er­ship

Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness and The Future of Work: an excel­lent con­cept map on how neu­ro­science may influ­ence the work­place of the future, drawn in real time as I spoke at an Insti­tute for the Future event.

Emo­tion­al Intel­li­gence and Faces: how many uni­ver­sal emo­tions and facial expres­sions are there?

Events

Use It or Lose It, and Cells that Fire togeth­er Wire togeth­er: I spoke at the Ital­ian Con­sulate in San Fran­cis­co, where we explored some of the basic con­cepts we should all know about how our brains and mind work.

Let me prac­tice the Grat­i­tude concept…Thank You for your atten­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion!

You can also enjoy our pre­vi­ous edi­tions of this month­ly digest:

- Octo­ber

- Sep­tem­ber

- August

- July

All Slidedecks & Recordings Available — click image below

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

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