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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Is the Internet Good or Bad for Your Brain?

The con­tro­ver­sy itself is super­fi­cial; as the obvi­ous real­i­ty is the inter­net and tech­nol­o­gy are not only here to stay, but con­stant­ly evolv­ing and per­me­at­ing more of our lives…The real con­ver­sa­tion should be how we can best use the Inter­net in smarter ways that help us to mon­i­tor and enhance the brain, and how can we active­ly pre­pare to man­age infor­ma­tion over­load.” Keep read­ing over at WIRED

Brains shape technology as technology shapes brains

Is Your Brain Being Wired By Tech­nol­o­gy? (Cen­ter for Brain­Health at UT-Dal­las):

…Research shows we are exposed to three times more infor­ma­tion today as com­pared to four decades ago. This infor­ma­tion over­load leads to more mul­ti­task­ing and forces us to push our brain to do things it was not built to do. Tech­nol­o­gy is allow­ing us, push­ing us to Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Working memory training can improve fluid intelligence

Very inter­est­ing new study on com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing (or brain train­ing), well sum­ma­rized in LA Times arti­cle Mem­o­ry train­ing improves intel­li­gence in some chil­dren, report says. Quote:

The train­ing pro­gram used by Jaeg­gi and co-work­ers focused on ramp­ing up work­ing mem­o­ry: the abil­i­ty to hold in mind a hand­ful of infor­ma­tion bits briefly, and to update them as need­ed. Cog­ni­tive sci­en­tists con­sid­er work­ing mem­o­ry a key com­po­nent of intel­li­gence. But they have Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Update: Best of 2008

Dear read­er and mem­ber of Sharp­Brains’ com­mu­ni­ty,
We want to thank you for your atten­tion and sup­port in 2008, and wish you a Hap­py, brain fitness and health newsletterPros­per­ous, Healthy and Pos­i­tive 2009!

Below you have the Decem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter. Enjoy:

Best of 2008

Announc­ing the Sharp­Brains Most Impor­tant Book of 2008: Neu­ro­sci­en­tist Torkel Kling­berg has writ­ten a very stim­u­lat­ing and acces­si­ble book on a cru­cial top­ic for our Infor­ma­tion Age: The Over­flow­ing Brain: Infor­ma­tion Over­load and the Lim­its of Work­ing Mem­o­ry. We have named it The Sharp­Brains Most Impor­tant Book of 2008, and asked Dr. Kling­berg to write a brief arti­cle to intro­duce his research and book to you. Enjoy it here.

Top 30 Brain Fit­ness Arti­cles of 2008: We have com­piled Sharp­Brains’ 30 most pop­u­lar arti­cles, writ­ten by thir­teen Expert Con­trib­u­tors and staff mem­bers for you. Have you read them all?

Novem­ber-Decem­ber News: No month goes by with­out sig­nif­i­cant news in the field of cog­ni­tive fit­ness. Sum­ma­rized here are 10 recent devel­op­ments wor­thy of atten­tion, includ­ing an upcom­ing brain train­ing prod­uct for ice hock­ey play­ers, my lec­ture at New York Pub­lic Library, and more.

Inter­views: Videogames, Med­i­ta­tion

Are videogames good for your brain?: A land­mark study by Dr. Arthur Kramer and col­leagues has shown that play­ing a strat­e­gy videogame can bring a vari­ety of sig­nif­i­cant men­tal ben­e­fits to old­er brains. Anoth­er recent study, also by Kramer and col­leagues, does not show sim­i­lar ben­e­fits to younger brains (despite play­ing the same game). How can this be? Dr. Kramer, who has kind­ly agreed to serve on Sharp­Brains’ Sci­en­tif­ic Advi­so­ry Board, elab­o­rates.

Med­i­ta­tion on the Brain: Dr. Andrew New­berg pro­vides an excel­lent overview of the brain ben­e­fits of prac­tices such as med­i­ta­tion. He rec­om­mends, “look for some­thing sim­ple, easy to try first, ensur­ing the prac­tice is com­pat­i­ble with one’s beliefs and goals. You need to match prac­tice with need: under­stand the spe­cif­ic goals you have in mind, your sched­ule and lifestyle, and find some­thing prac­ti­cal.”

The Need for Objec­tive Assess­ments

Cog­ni­tive screen­ings and Alzheimer’s Dis­ease: The Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion of Amer­i­ca just released a thought­ful report advo­cat­ing for wide­spread cog­ni­tive screen­ings after the age of 65 (55 giv­en the right con­di­tions). Sharp­Brains read­ers, probed by Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man, seem to agree.

Quan­ti­ta­tive EEG for ADHD diag­no­sis: Dr. David Rabin­er reports on the find­ings from a recent study that doc­u­ments the util­i­ty of Quan­ti­ta­tive EEG as an objec­tive test to assist in the diag­no­sis of ADHD. If this pro­ce­dure were to become more wide­ly used, he sug­gests, the num­ber of chil­dren and ado­les­cents who are inap­pro­pri­ate­ly diag­nosed and treat­ed for the dis­or­der would dimin­ish sub­stan­tial­ly.

Shall we ques­tion the brand new book of human trou­bles?: The fights over the new ver­sion of the psy­chi­atric diag­nos­tic man­u­al, the DSM-V, are start­ing to come to light. Dr. Vaugh­an Bell won­ders why the pub­lic debate avoids the key ques­tion of whether diag­no­sis itself is use­ful for men­tal health and why psy­cho­met­rics are sim­ply ignored.

Resources for Life­long Learn­ing

Edu­ca­tion builds Cog­ni­tive Reserve for Alzheimers Dis­ease Pro­tec­tion: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon reviews a recent study that sup­ports the Cog­ni­tive Reserve hypoth­e­sis — men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing expe­ri­ences through­out life, such as for­mal edu­ca­tion, help build a reserve in our brains that con­tributes to a low­er prob­a­bil­i­ty of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s symp­toms.

5 Tips on Life­long Learn­ing & the Adult Brain: Lau­rie Bar­tels asks us to please please 1) chal­lenge our­selves with new learn­ing, 2) remem­ber that neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis are hall­marks of our brains, 3) check for mis-learn­ing on an ongo­ing basis, 4) more visu­als, less text, 5) move it, move it — start today!

Neu­ro­science Core Con­cepts: We all have heard “Use It or Lose It”. Now, what is “It”? The Soci­ety for Neu­ro­science (SfN) has just released a user-friend­ly pub­li­ca­tion titled Neu­ro­science Core Con­cepts, aimed at help­ing edu­ca­tors and the gen­er­al pub­lic learn more about the brain.

Torkel Klingberg helps with Overflowing Brain & Information Overload

Karolin­s­ka Institute’s Dr. Torkel Kling­berg has just released in the US his excel­lent book The Over­flow­ing Brain: Infor­ma­tion Over­load and the Lim­its of Work­ing Mem­o­ry the Overflowing Brain by Torkel Klingsberg

The title was first released in Swe­den with great suc­cess, and our co-founder Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg gave a Fore­word to the new US edi­tion.

Dr. Kling­berg will be writ­ing an essay for Sharp­Brains read­ers soon, so we can dis­cuss the impor­tance of this top­ic and his work in depth. Let me now link to two thought-pro­vok­ing reviews of the book:

Atten­tion Must Be Paid (Inside High­er Ed)

- “The weak link in the infor­ma­tion age seems to be our human hard-wiring. So one gath­ers from The Over­flow­ing Brain: Infor­ma­tion Over­load and the Lim­its of Work­ing Mem­o­ry (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press) by Torkel Kling­berg, who is a pro­fes­sor of devel­op­men­tal cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science at the Stock­holm Brain Insti­tute. A review of recent research on how atten­tion and mem­o­ry actu­al­ly func­tion with­in our gray mat­ter, it is a work of sci­en­tif­ic pop­u­lar­iza­tion rather than a hand­book on how to min­i­mize the cog­ni­tive drain of dis­trac­tion.”

- “To sim­pli­fy Klingberg’s already pared-down analy­sis, we can dis­tin­guish between two kinds of atten­tion. One is con­trolled atten­tion: the direct­ed effort to apply ones con­cen­tra­tion to a par­tic­u­lar task. The oth­er is stim­u­lus-dri­ven atten­tion, which is an invol­un­tary response to some­thing hap­pen­ing in the envi­ron­ment. (You can tune out the con­ver­sa­tions going on around you in a restau­rant. But if a wait­er drops a tray full of dish­es, it is going to impose itself on your aware­ness.)”

- “Kling­berg reports that a two-year study in his lab showed that it was pos­si­ble to increase work­ing-mem­o­ry capac­i­ty 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 and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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