Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Large study highlights the cognitive enhancement value of both higher education and lifelong learning

 

Cour­tesy David Lee at The Dai­ly Cal­i­forn­ian

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UC Berke­ley study links cog­ni­tive longevi­ty to high­er edu­ca­tion (The Dai­ly Cal­i­forn­ian):

A study led by cam­pus researchers found that high­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion are linked to lat­er ages of peak cog­ni­tive performance…The team was able to use anony­mous data gath­ered from almost 200,000 sub­scribers to Lumos­i­ty, an online cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram, whose users con­sent­ed that their results could be used for sci­en­tif­ic research. Read the rest of this entry »

20 Reasons Why Virtual Conferences Are the Future

Con­fer­ences have long been a sta­ple of the pro­fes­sion­al cal­en­dar. Now, after a reces­sion that has slashed trav­el expen­di­ture, the land­scape for events is chang­ing. Sophis­ti­cat­ed dig­i­tal plat­forms are enabling vir­tu­al envi­ron­ments that sim­u­late the ben­e­fits of real events, and atten­dees are begin­ning to shift to access­ing sub­ject mat­ter experts and indus­try net­work­ing online.

But can the dig­i­tal envi­ron­ment real­ly dis­place brick and mor­tar events, where eye to eye meet­ings and chance con­nec­tions can jus­ti­fy the often cost­ly reg­is­tra­tion fees and trav­el costs? 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?
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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

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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 »

Brain Fitness @ Education, Training, Health events

Brain Fitness eventsIn what cat­e­go­ry does Brain Fit­ness fit? Edu­ca­tion, Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Train­ing, Health? Most of the inter­est so far has come from a Healthy Aging angle, but we are start­ing to see broad­er inter­est, as in the events below. After all, isn’t work­ing on our brains rel­e­vant to all those mar­kets?.

2 busy weeks: I am attending/ speak­ing at a vari­ety of events. I will make sure to blog at least the take-aways from the main events dai­ly, and Car­o­line will also add her per­spec­tive as much as pos­si­ble.

A) Octo­ber 3–6th: The Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Insti­tute

B) Octo­ber 9th: First ses­sion of my class The Sci­ence of Brain Health and Brain Fit­ness at the UC-Berke­ley Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute (OLLI)

C) Octo­ber 10th: Teach­ing Brain Fit­ness in Your Com­mu­ni­ty, work­shop at an Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging (ASA) con­fer­ence for health pro­fes­sion­als

D) Octo­ber 10th: Sci­ence at Work, Inter­view at the event The Future of Work: Ampli­fied Indi­vid­u­als, Ampli­fied Orga­ni­za­tions, orga­nized by the Insti­tute for the Future

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A) Octo­ber 3–6th: The Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Insti­tute. This promis­es to be a fas­ci­nat­ing event. See below the pan­els I am attend­ing-I will make sure to write some notes every day to keep you in the dis­cus­sion.

Wednes­day Octo­ber 3rd:

Great Expec­ta­tions: Amer­i­can Atti­tudes toward Per­son­al Respon­si­bil­i­ty and Med­i­cine

Health­care Re-Imag­ined: Learn­ing from Olympic Ath­letes

Thurs­day 4th:

The Dam­aged Brain: The Fight Against Neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion

The Human Ele­ment: A Can­did Con­ver­sa­tion about Pio­neers of Mod­ern Med­i­cine

The Last Fron­tier: The Mind

Glob­al Sci­en­tif­ic Invest­ment

Sci­ence Ver­sus the Bio­log­i­cal Clock Read the rest of this entry »

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