Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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 »

Study: Is modernity leading to a growing Cognitive Divide?

Sub­ject dur­ing EEG study. Cour­tesy of Sapi­ens Labs

Has Mod­ern Expe­ri­ence Changed The Human Brain? (NPR):

The brain has evolved over evo­lu­tion­ary time scales of mil­lions of years. So, what is the like­li­hood that the rel­a­tive­ly recent advent of read­ing and writ­ing, or motor­ized trans­port, or the Inter­net, could have changed our brains? Read the rest of this entry »

Survey of key scientific, technological and investment trends revolutionizing Brain Health in our Digital Age

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Last year I got very inter­est­ed in the func­tion­ing of the human brain and the sci­ence behind mind­ful­ness and learn­ing [1], so was quite excit­ed  to attend the Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit [2] in Decem­ber, indulging in the lat­est trends in applied neu­ro­science and dig­i­tal inno­va­tion.

The Sum­mit focused on the theme of rein­vent­ing brain health in the dig­i­tal age, and brought togeth­er lead­ing researchers, entre­pre­neurs, financiers and pol­i­cy­mak­ers pas­sion­ate with the mis­sion of mov­ing neu­ro­science and cog­ni­tive research from sci­ence labs towards appli­ca­tions in Health, Well­ness and Edu­ca­tion. Here’s a sum­ma­ry of the many things I dis­cov­ered. Read the rest of this entry »

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