Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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IHRSA: Brain Fitness Offerings to Attract and Retain Baby Boomers

logoThis week the Inter­na­tion­al Health, Rac­quet and Sports­club Asso­ci­a­tion (IHRSA), the main asso­ci­a­tion of health clubs world­wide, is hold­ing its annu­al con­ven­tion in San Diego. Infor­ma­tion Here.

I will be pre­sent­ing a ses­sion on Wednes­day titled Brain Fit­ness Offer­ings to Attract and Retain Baby Boomers, to help par­tic­i­pants…

  • Under­stand the impli­ca­tions from emerg­ing research, tools and trends that will affect how health clubs attract and retain baby boomers
  • Learn about the 4 lifestyle pil­lars for life­long brain health, includ­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise
  • Review a proven check­list to build a sol­id busi­ness case and nav­i­gate through the grow­ing array of options
  • Find the best mix of brain health prod­ucts and prac­tices by dis­cussing best prac­tices and case stud­ies
  • Iden­ti­fy low-cost and easy-to-imple­ment options that your clubs can use to start engag­ing baby boomers

I assume most of you won’t be able to attend, so let me share an arti­cle that Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg and I wrote for their main mag­a­zine in 2006 (progress does hap­pen, but slow­ly), titled Are you sure your mem­bers are work­ing out ALL their mus­cles?

Sure, they come to the gym every day. They lift more weights, do more pushups, and run fur­ther dur­ing every work­out. They eat right. They watch their weight. They’re in good shape. What could your mem­bers pos­si­bly be miss­ing? Their men­tal mus­cles.

While liv­ing an active life and par­tic­i­pat­ing in stim­u­lat­ing activ­i­ties such as cross­word puz­zles, music lessons and read­ing cer­tain­ly do use one’s brain, they do not pro­vide a con­sis­tent, com­pre­hen­sive brain work­out with mea­sur­able results. Brains need nov­el­ty, vari­ety and stretch­ing prac­tice in order to get fit!”

You can keep read­ing arti­cle Here.

Brain Fitness Survey: We Need More Brain Awareness Weeks!

If you sub­scribe to our month­ly newslet­ter, you may remem­ber we ran a sur­vey in Jan­u­ary. Well, the response rate and the qual­i­ty of the respons­es were noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar, in many dimen­sions. The respons­es from over 2,000 par­tic­i­pants (out of 21,000 sub­scribers) rein­force the need for pub­lic aware­ness ini­tia­tives and qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion to help eval­u­ate and nav­i­gate prod­uct claims.

I have been pre­sent­ing the results from one of the ques­tions (see below), yes­ter­day at the ASA/ NCOA (Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging) event, today at IHRSA (Inter­na­tion­al Health, Rac­quet and Sports­club Asso­ci­a­tion), as part of more com­pre­hen­sive pre­sen­ta­tions of what is going on in the brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health field.

An obvi­ous impli­ca­tion for the sur­vey result rein­forces the need for brain-relat­ed pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns such as the ongo­ing Brain Aware­ness Week. Every year, land­mark research find­ings open new oppor­tu­ni­ties to help main­tain life­long cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness. The oppor­tu­ni­ty is immense — but we will need to ensure the mar­ket­place matures in a ratio­nal and sus­tain­able man­ner, help­ing con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als sep­a­rate hope from hype and make informed deci­sions.

Robin Klaus, Chair­man of Club One Fit­ness Cen­ters (the com­pa­ny is a client, he is an advi­sor), just gave us a nice quote say­ing that “as our pop­u­la­tion ages the fields of phys­i­cal fit­ness and brain fit­ness will nat­u­ral­ly merge and, as this hap­pens, a whole new field of val­ued added ser­vices will emerge for our mem­bers. High qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion­al resources such as Sharp­Brains’ are cru­cial to the suc­cess of this merg­er.”

The Sur­vey: Results to Key Ques­tion

Asked, “What is the most impor­tant prob­lem you see in the brain fit­ness field and how do you think it can be solved?” respon­dents iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing six prob­lems in rank order:

#1: Pub­lic Aware­ness (39%)
— “Get­ting peo­ple to under­stand that hered­i­ty alone does not decide brain func­tion­ing.”
— “An expec­tant pub­lic will first want to believe that a “mir­a­cle” drug is to be soon avail­able (to pre­vent Alzheimer’s Dis­ease).”

#2: Nav­i­gat­ing Claims (21%)
- “How to sep­a­rate mar­ket­ing hype from stuff that real­ly works?”
— “The lack of stan­dards and clear def­i­n­i­tions is very con­fus­ing, and makes a lot of peo­ple scep­ti­cal.”

#3: Research (15%)
— “Deter­min­ing what activ­i­ties are most ben­e­fi­cial to Read the rest of this entry »

ETech09: on Life Hacking and Brain Training

Here you have the pre­sen­ta­tion I deliv­ered on Tues­day at ETech 2009 (this year’s O’Reilly Emerg­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Con­fer­ence):

Emerg­ing Research and Tech­nol­o­gy for Life Hacking/ Brain Train­ing

(click to open pre­sen­ta­tion in new win­dow)

Descrip­tion: Life hack­ing. Brain train­ing. They are one and the same. The brain’s frontal lobes enable our goal-ori­ent­ed behav­ior, sup­port­ing exec­u­tive func­tions, such as deci­sion-mak­ing, atten­tion, emo­tion­al self-reg­u­la­tion, goal-set­ting, and work­ing mem­o­ry. These func­tions can be enhanced with tar­get­ed prac­tice  such as life hack­ing. This ses­sion will pro­vide an overview of the cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science under­pin­ning life hack­ing, and review the state-of-the-art of non-inva­sive tools for brain train­ing: neu­ro­feed­back, biofeed­back, soft­ware appli­ca­tions, cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tions, Tran­scra­nial Mag­net­ic Stim­u­la­tion, and plain-old med­i­ta­tion.

It was great to meet fel­low blog­gers and pre­sen­ters, such as Shel­ley Batts of Of Two Minds and Chris Patil of Ouroboros, and very inquisite and through­ful audi­ence mem­bers. Get­ting ready to speak at ASA/ NCOA and IHRSA next week!

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