Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Exploring the human brain and how it responds to stress (1/3)

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Wor­ry is like a rock­ing chair. It gives you some­thing to do, but it gets you nowhere.
— Erma Bombeck

The brain is the con­trol cen­ter for all of our thoughts, actions, atti­tudes, and emo­tions. It’s the pilot­house on the river­boat of our lives. It’s Mis­sion Con­trol for all of our flights into space or time. It’s the air traf­fic con­troller that helps us nav­i­gate and reroute our paths based on incom­ing and out­go­ing infor­ma­tion and how we’re feel­ing about it at the time. It’s the John Williams of our per­son­al sym­pho­ny. It’s the Moth­er Ship to our Starfleet; it’s … (Uh, sor­ry, I got car­ried away there, but I think you get my point!)

As I was work­ing on the drafts of my lat­est book book, my own brain was very active, to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »

Fast Forward to 2040: How to prepare for the new era in brain enhancement that will change the way we think, work, and heal

Decades from now when our aug­ment­ed brains have enhanced our cog­ni­tive func­tion and trans­formed near­ly every aspect of our lives, many of us will look back and won­der why we didn’t do more to pre­pare for these inevitable changes. Gov­ern­ment lead­ers may grap­ple with the run­away effects of AI and brain enhance­ment on geopol­i­tics. Com­pa­nies that fail to incor­po­rate neu­rotech­nolo­gies and BCI into their oper­a­tional flow could lose sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket share and be forced to scram­ble in an attempt to regain a foothold in an indus­try they once dom­i­nat­ed.

Work­ers who don’t heed the warn­ings to re-skill or upskill may find them­selves out of a job as entire indus­tries dis­ap­pear. Grad­u­at­ing col­lege stu­dents may dis­cov­er their field of study is no longer rel­e­vant in the busi­ness world, leav­ing them unpre­pared for the chang­ing job mar­ket. Tech inno­va­tors could be caught up in fierce com­pe­ti­tion to snap up employ­ees from a very lim­it­ed tal­ent pool, dri­ving up the cost of inno­va­tion and ham­per­ing its devel­op­ment. And every­day cit­i­zens may be wrestling with the unex­pect­ed con­se­quences of unin­ten­tion­al­ly giv­ing away the rights to their neur­al data.

Rest assured, it doesn’t have to be this way. Read the rest of this entry »

A conversation with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on Creativity, Neuroscience, and Technological Innovation

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Dear Elkhonon, a plea­sure to have you with us. Let’s get out the gate by dis­cussing how are new ideas born — for exam­ple, how exact­ly did you first think about writ­ing your new book, Cre­ativ­i­ty: The Human Brain in the Age of Inno­va­tion?

Orig­i­nal­ly, I set out to write a book about how the brain deals with nov­el­ty — a long-stand­ing focus of my own research. But the more I thought about it, the more the sub­ject of cre­ativ­i­ty was com­ing up, so I decid­ed to tack­le nov­el­ty and cre­ativ­i­ty at the same time.

Do we need yet anoth­er book on Cre­ativ­i­ty?

We absolute­ly do. Cre­ativ­i­ty is not just an indi­vid­ual feat; it is embed­ded into a cul­ture which either fos­ter, sti­fles, or shapes it in a vari­ety of ways. And it is nev­er a strict­ly soli­tary process, since even the most cre­ative mind draws on the pre­vi­ous­ly accu­mu­lat­ed knowl­edge. So, in order to tru­ly under­stand cre­ativ­i­ty, we must inte­grate neu­ro­sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al per­spec­tives into a coher­ent nar­ra­tive. To my knowl­edge, this has not been done before, and this is what my book aims to accom­plish.

I am par­tic­u­lar­ly fas­ci­nat­ed by the dynam­ic rela­tion­ship between over- and under­ac­ti­va­tion of pre­frontal cor­tex areas in the cre­ative process and dis­cuss it exten­sive­ly in the book. This is one of the most intrigu­ing and pos­si­bly most con­se­quen­tial aspects of the brain machin­ery of cre­ativ­i­ty.

What have we learned about the brain mech­a­nisms of cre­ativ­i­ty over the last five to ten years?

We have learned a lot: that cre­ativ­i­ty is not a mono­lith­ic trait; that is con­sists of many mov­ing parts and may take many paths even with­in the same are­na of human endeav­or; that it is not linked to any sin­gle brain struc­ture or to a sin­gle gene or even a small group of genes.

How do you define Cre­ativ­i­ty, and what can Neu­ro­science con­tribute to its under­stand­ing?

Cre­ativ­i­ty is often defined as the abil­i­ty to come up with con­tent which is both nov­el and salient. Read the rest of this entry »

What a brain, what a life: Marian Diamond, neuroplasticity pioneer, dies at 90

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Mar­i­an Dia­mond, neu­ro­sci­en­tist who gave new mean­ing to ‘use it or lose it,’ dies at 90 (The Wash­ing­ton Post):

Mar­i­an Dia­mond, a path­break­ing neu­ro­sci­en­tist whose research — includ­ing a study of Albert Einstein’s pre­served brain — showed that the body’s three-pound seat of con­scious­ness was a dynam­ic struc­ture of beau­ti­ful com­plex­i­ty, capa­ble of devel­op­ment even in old age, died July 25 at an assist­ed-liv­ing com­mu­ni­ty in Oak­land, Calif. She was 90 Read the rest of this entry »

For invasive cognitive enhancement to work, firms will need to validate both the “neuro” and the “tech”

A Hard­ware Update for the Human Brain (The Wall Street Jour­nal):

The field that gave Emi­ly her life back is known as neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, or sim­ply neurotech—a mar­riage of neu­rol­o­gy, neu­ro­science, neu­ro­surgery and the kind of hard­ware that goes into smart­phones. Today, most neu­rotech com­pa­nies are focused on med­ical appli­ca­tions, which Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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