Can the brain shrinkage that happens to us with aging be reversed? Can we actually grow back our brain and boost our memory in our 60s and 70s?
UTEP professor shows that hearing aids improve memory, speech (press release):
“A recent study by Jamie Desjardins, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the speech-language pathology program at The University of Texas at El Paso, found that hearing aids improve brain function in persons with hearing loss. [Read more…] about Study: Hearing aids, by reducing cognitive load, can improve brain function in persons with hearing loss
What is your current job title and organization, and what excites you the most about working there?
As the Founding President and Medical Director at the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation for over 20 years, I am more excited than ever about the possibilities for enhanced mental performance and brain longevity for everyone. [Read more…] about Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa (Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation): “You’re not a prisoner of your DNA”
Authors: Develop digital games to improve brain function and well-being (UW-Madison News):
“Neuroscientists should help to develop compelling digital games that boost brain function and improve well-being, say two professors specializing in the field in a commentary article published in the science journal Nature. In the Feb. 28 issue, the two — Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester and Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison — urge game designers and brain scientists to work together to design new games that train the brain, producing positive effects on behavior, such as decreasing anxiety, sharpening attention and improving empathy.”
To Learn More:
- National Science Foundation report: Can interactive media boost attention and well-being? (open access)
- Nature commentary (requires subscription)
- Learning with Video Games: A Revolution in Education and Training?
Aerobic exercise is the kind of exercise that has been consistently shown to trigger the growth of both brain cells and new connections between them, boosting cognitive functions. It has also been associated with lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Is it the case that other types of physical exercise can also benefit the brain? Evidence is more limited, but a new study suggests that weight training may be a likely candidate to do so. [Read more…] about Aerobic Exercise or Weight Training to Boost Brain Function?
“7. Doctors and pharmacists will help patients navigate through the overwhelming range of available products and interpret the results of cognitive assessments. This will require significant professional development efforts, given that most doctors today were trained under a very different understanding of the brain than the one we have today.”
The American Medical News, a weekly newspaper for physicians published by the American Medical Association, just published an excellent article along those lines:
Steps to a nimble mind: Physical and mental exercise help keep the brain fit
— Neuroscience is uncovering techniques to prevent cognitive decline.
A few quotes:
- It’s an example that highlights a wave of new thinking about the importance of brain fitness.
- Until recently, conventional wisdom held that our brains were intractable, hard-wired computers. What we were born with was all we got. Age wore down memory and the ability to understand, and few interventions could reverse this process. But increasingly, evidence suggests that physical and mental exercise can alter specific brain regions, making radical improvements in cognitive function.
- With nearly 72 million Americans turning 65 over the next two decades, physicians need the tools to handle growing patient concerns about how to best maintain brain health. Armed with this new brand of science, frontline physicians will be better equipped to address the needs of aging baby boomers, already in the throes of the brain fitness revolution.
- “Encourage them to exercise the brain in novel and complex ways,” he says.
Full article: here
One of the physicians quoted in the article is Gary J. Kennedy, MD, Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC and a professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
To put the AMA article in better perspective for SharpBrains readers, we asked Dr. Kennedy a few follow-up questions. Below you have his questions.
Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Can you summarize how cognitive functions tend to evolve as we age?
Gary Kennedy (GK): As we age cognitive functions that rely on [Read more…] about Physical and mental exercise to prevent cognitive decline