Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Why investment in brain research is an intelligent investment

human-brainHealthy Brain: Healthy Europe Conference (speech by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science):

“…Brain research and innovation contribute to Europe 2020‘s, aims not just by improving quality of life and helping integrate patients back into their social and working lives, but also Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Mental Agility through Cognitive Control and Mental Representation

The words, The Agile Mind captured my attention immediately. The title conveyed energy, innovation, change, bouncing on a trampoline in my head. I knew that investigating the book would be an adventure.

As soon as the book The Agile Mind by Wilma Koutstaal was in my hands, I explored the 24-page index, looking for my favorite topic, problem-solving thinking. On page 29 I accessed a brand new take on the intuitive versus rational problem solving challenge. A central aspect of mental agility Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

The brain virtues of physical exercise

Dr. Adrian Preda, our newest Expert Contributor, writes today the first in a series of thought-provoking articles,physical exercise for the brain challenging us to think about physical exercise as the best and most unappreciated form of “brain exercise”. A superb article.

And one thing is clear, he points out: “the brain really likes it when it’s asked to be “active”. Passive audiences, which are spoon fed information, score less well when tested on retention and understanding of the presented material than audiences that were kept engaged through the process.”

So, will you write a comment below and contribute to an engaging conversation? Thoughts? reactions? questions?

Don’t ignore plain old common sense.

Brain Lessons Part 1

— By Adrian Preda, M.D.

Let me start with a list of common biases: expensive is better than cheap, free is of dubious value (why would then be free?), rare is likely to be valuable, and while new is better than old, ancient is always best. Which explains a common scenario that is reenacted about twice a week in my office. It starts like this: a patient shows me a fancy looking bottle of the brain supplement of the week: ancient roots with obscure names mixed together in another novel combination which you can exclusively find in that one and only store (rarity oblige!). And not to forget: it ain’t cheap either! Of course, there it is, the perfect the recipe for success: ancient yet new, rare and expensive. It got to be good! But is it, really?

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking inside the Brain: is my Brain Fit?

MRI scanner neuroimaging

Today we have the pleasure to have Dr. Pascale Michelon, one of our new Expert Contributors, write her first article here. Enjoy, and please comment so we hear your thoughts and engage in a nice conversation.

(Btw, if you notice some similarity between the colors in the fMRI scan below and the look & feel of this site…well, the reason is that those orange-grey fMRI colors were our inspiration! the orange color denotes the most brain activation).

– Alvaro


You have probably heard about CAT and MRI scans (produced thanks to machines like the one to the top right). So you know that these are techniques that doctors and scientists use to look inside the brain.

You have probably also heard about brain fitness and how important it is to keep a healthy brain to be protected against age-related and disease-related brain damages.

The question we ask here is the following: Can we use brain scans to evaluate how fit the brain is? Before we try to answer this question let’s start with the basics and try to understand how brain scans work.

Brain imaging, also called neuroimaging, allows one to Read the rest of this entry »

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