Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Busy schedules linked to better memory and cognition among middle-aged and older adults

busyness

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Being Super Busy May* Be Good For Your Brain (Smith­son­ian Mag­a­zine):

There hasn’t been much sci­en­tif­ic research on busy­ness itself, although it’s some­thing that we talk about so often,” explains Sara Fes­ti­ni, a cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tist at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Dal­las Cen­ter for Vital Longevi­ty, a co-author of the new research pub­lished this week Read the rest of this entry »

On “ethical placebos,” Medicine, and Mind/ Body interactions: A book review

Cure_bookWhen I was 10 years old, I hat­ed doing the dish­es. In an attempt to talk my par­ents out of mak­ing me do this hat­ed chore, I pre­tend­ed to be ill by hang­ing my head, sigh­ing, snif­fling, and walk­ing lethar­gi­cal­ly to my bed­room, all to no avail—I still had to do those dish­es.

But, the next day, I woke up with the flu —a 104-degree fever and stom­ach pains to match. Boy, were my par­ents sur­prised! And, so was I. But, how many of us have had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences, where our minds seemed to some­how impact our bod­ies in weird, unex­plain­able ways? How many of us have made doc­tors’ appoint­ments only to watch our fevers drop or held our chil­dren close and stopped their cough­ing fits? Clear­ly, some­thing is going on, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

To build a healthier future, let’s empower and equip individuals to be in control of their well-being

health and fitness

How we can all build a health­i­er future (World Eco­nom­ic Forum blog):

Just 40 years ago life expectan­cy in Asia was slight­ly above age 50. In 2000, the continent’s 210 mil­lion peo­ple aged over 65 could expect to live just anoth­er five years, to 70 on aver­age. By 2050, Read the rest of this entry »

A Course Correction for Positive Psychology: A Review of Martin Seligman’s Latest Book

(Editor’s Note: we are pleased to bring you this arti­cle thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Sci­ence Cen­ter).

A Course Cor­rec­tion for Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy

A review of Mar­tin Seligman’s lat­est book, Flour­ish: A Vision­ary New Under­stand­ing of Hap­pi­ness and Well-Being.

- By Jill Sut­tie

As pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion in 1998, Mar­tin Selig­man chal­lenged the psy­cho­log­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty to rad­i­cal­ly change its approach. For too long, he charged, psy­chol­o­gy had been pre­oc­cu­pied sole­ly with reliev­ing symp­toms of men­tal ill­ness; instead, he believed it should explore how to thrive in life, not just sur­vive it. He called for a psy­chol­o­gy that would uncov­er what makes peo­ple cre­ative, resilient, opti­mistic, and, ulti­mate­ly, hap­py. The “pos­i­tive psy­chol­o­gy” move­ment was born.

Yet in his lat­est book, Flour­ish, Selig­man tries to pro­vide some­thing of a course cor­rec­tion for pos­i­tive psy­chol­o­gy. Read the rest of this entry »

March/ April Update: Brain Health Status Quo No Longer An Option

The 2011 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st) gath­ered more than 260 research and indus­try lead­ers from 16 coun­tries for 3 days to dis­cuss the chang­ing land­scape of Brain Health and Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness. It was a great suc­cess! Find the key lessons and take-home points from the Sum­mit in these 2 arti­cles by Drs. Jamie Wil­son and Luc Beau­doin, respec­tive­ly: 10 Emerg­ing Themes:  Why Brain Health Sta­tus Quo is Not an Option and 7 Key Lessons from the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit.

Con­sid­er this: “Col­lab­o­ra­tion is emerg­ing in ways that were unthink­able only a few years ago. Researchers are open­ing up their data and method­olo­gies to gain insights from one anoth­er. Com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions are part­ner­ing via dig­i­tal chan­nels, con­tent syn­di­ca­tion and oth­er areas of best prac­tice. Social entre­pre­neurs and local prac­ti­tion­ers are shar­ing  moti­va­tional tips and edu­ca­tional resources in their efforts to build pro­grams from the bot­tom up.  Open inno­va­tion is dri­ving a bet­ter mar­ket­place for con­sumers. All these col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts are the seeds of suc­cess­ful inno­va­tion, and despite still being in the foothills, it would seem bet­ter to go hand in hand, than tak­ing a lone­ly road.”

We hope the arti­cles of this free newslet­ter will help you think about the future and your own role in shap­ing it as a pro­fes­sion­al and/ or a life­long learn­er.

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Brain and Neuroplasticity

Med­i­ta­tion and the Brain: This arti­cle by Greater Good Mag­a­zine dis­cuss­es how med­i­tat­ing can increase the den­sity of gray mat­ter in brain regions asso­ci­ated with mem­ory, stress, and empa­thy. 

The Ben­e­fits of a One-Time Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Pro­gram: They last but wane over time as shown in the 3-month fol­low-up results of the IMPACT study.

Can Direct Brain Stim­u­la­tion Boost Per­for­mance? The answer seems to be yes, accord­ing to three stud­ies using dif­fer­ent types of electrical/magnetic brain stim­u­la­tion.

How the Brain of a Blind Per­son Rewires Itself: The brain areas devot­ed to vision in peo­ple with eye sight turn out to be respond­ing to speech in blind peo­ple.

How are Young Brains Affect­ed by Stress? An inter­est­ing arti­cle from the Dana Foun­da­tion on the con­se­quences of ear­ly life stress.

Can weight loss boost mem­o­ry? The mem­ory of obese patients under­go­ing gas­tric-bypass surgery is shown to improve 12 weeks after surgery.

The Inner Savant In All of Us: Scott Kauf­man inter­views Dr. Tre­f­fert, expect on savan­tism and autism, tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant to the award-win­ning movie Rain Man, to dis­cuss the hid­den brain poten­tials that may lie dor­mant in all of us.

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Assessments and Remediation

Dri­ving Safe­ly after a Stroke: Scores for 3 sim­ple cog­ni­tive tests were found to pre­dict the actu­al dri­ving eval­u­a­tion out­come of many peo­ple after a stroke.

Schiz­o­phre­nia Research is Lead­ing the Way: An inter­est­ing review of the dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion tech­niques used with peo­ple suf­fer­ing from schiz­o­phre­nia.

Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Games for Stroke Patients: Promis­ing results show that vir­tual real­ity and oth­er video games involv­ing motion can enhance motor improve­ment after a stroke.

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Books

Children’s Self Con­trol and Cre­ativ­i­ty: Two Seeds of Intel­li­gence: An excerpt from the book Brain Rules for Baby, by John Med­ina, that pro­vides a good sum­mary of the cog­ni­tive sci­ence find­ings shed­ding light on how a baby’s brain grows from 0 to 5.

Inte­gra­tive Neu­ro­science, Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine: This book takes an in depth and hard look at the cur­rent sta­tus and future direc­tion of treat­ment pre­dic­tive mark­ers in Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine for the brain.

The Longevi­ty Project: UC-River­side researchers Howard Fried­man and Leslie Mar­tin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity Ter­man study of 1,500 peo­ple.

Exploit­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and Col­lab­o­ra­tion to Enable Qual­i­ty Aging. In this essay, extract­ed from the book Longevi­ty Rules, Joseph Cough­lin explores the role that tech­nol­ogy can play in aging well.

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Brain Teaser

Brain Games to Test Your Mem­o­ry: Dis­cov­er how well you can remem­ber ran­dom words and names.

We hope you enjoyed this edi­tion of the Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter. Please do feel free to share this with friends and col­leagues. The more, the mer­ri­er!

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