Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Update: Test your stress level with this fun brain teaser


Time for Sharp­Brains’ July 2014 e-newsletter, fea­tur­ing a wealth of thought-provoking insights, sci­ence reports…and this fun brain teaser to deter­mine your stress level.

New thinking:

New tools:

New science:

Finally, you may also want to try this teaser to test your cognitive biases.

Enjoy, and have a great month of August!


The SharpBrains Team

Brain Fitness: Definition, Priorities, and Links to Neuroleadership and Human Capital

Yesterday we had a fun session on Brain Fitness during the Neuroleadership Summit taking place now in San Francisco, exploring opportunities to enhance performance and health of leaders and workforces by deploying both old tools (like breathing and meditation) and new ones (such as biofeedback and database-driven personalized brain training solutions). Here are a couple of the main ideas I wanted to introduce:

A. Let’s define Brain Fitness as an “integrated approach to enhance brain functionality”, combining as appropriate lifestyle, invasive and non-invasive options. “Brain fitness” is above all an outcome, a culture, similar to “physical fitness” (jokingly, I also said that “brain fitness” is the part of “physical fitness” that “physical fitness” doesn’t yet know what to do with)

B. Then, the question becomes, “what are the most important brain functions to enhance/ develop/ maintain?”. Here I shared the following results Read the rest of this entry »

Scientia Pro Publica #16: Us, Friends, and Society

Welcome to the 16th edition  of Scientia Pro Publica, the blog carnival  that celebrates the best science, nature and medical writing published in the blogosphere within the past 60 days.

What are some of the fascinating topics you can explore and discuss with this group of bloggers?

Science & Us

The Evolving Mind: What’s the point of daydreaming?

Credit: Johan Stigwall, via Flickr

Credit: Johan Stigwall, via Flickr

Generally Thinking: What is the brain impact of different types of meditation (focused, open monitoring, compassion)?

The Emotion Machine: Can blogging help you control your environment and manage stress?

Greater Good Magazine: Want to live longer and bettter?

Collective Imagination: Can you share a powerful uncanny experience?

Science & Friends

via LiveScience

via LiveScience

Lab Rat: Pros and Cons of having amphibian skin?

Science in Paradise: Do sharks get cancer?

Mauka to Makai: Can bunnies offer new light on what comes after Viagra, how to deal with nuclear feces, and new sources of electricity?

Kind of Curious: Did dinousaurs migrate? dead or alive?

Migrations: Do beliefs on evolution affect one’s ability to appreciate birding?

Science & Society

Science & Soul: Can we reverse corn monoculture trends?Lock1

Genomics Law Report: If a Direct-To-Consumer genomics company goes bankrupt, what happens to your data? does HIPAA cover it?

And this concludes today’s edition.  Kelsey will host next edition (December 7th) at Mauka to Makai;  you can submit posts using this handy form. And if you’re interested in hosting Scientia at your blog, contact Grrlscientist!

Meditation on the Brain: a Conversation with Andrew Newberg

Dr_Andrew_NewbergDr. Andrew Newberg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published a variety of neuroimaging studies related to aging and dementia. He has also researched the neurophysiological correlates of meditation, prayer, and how brain function is associated with mystical and religious experiences. Alvaro Fernandez interviews him here as part of our research for the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age.

Dr. Newberg, thank you for being with us today. Can you please explain the source of your interests at the intersection of brain research and spirituality?

Since I was a kid, I had a keen interest in spiritual practice. I always wondered how spirituality and religion affect us, and over time I came to appreciate how science can help us explore and understand the world around us, including why we humans care about spiritual practices. This, of course, led me to be particularly interested in brain research.

During medical school I was particularly attracted by the problem of consciousness. I was fortunate to meet researcher Dr. Eugene D’Aquili in the early 1990s, who had been doing much research on religious practices effect on brain since the 1970s. Through him I came to see that brain imaging can provide a fascinating window into the brain.

Can we define religion and spirituality -which sound to me as very different brain processes-, and why learning about them may be helpful from a purely secular, scientific point of view?

Good point, definitions matter, since different people may be searching for God in different ways. I view being religious as participating in organized rituals and shared beliefs, such as going to church. Being spiritual, on the other hand, is more of an individual practice, whether we call it meditation, or relaxation, or prayer, aimed at expanding the self, developing a sense of oneness with the universe.

What is happening is that specific practices that have traditionally been associated with religious and spiritual contexts may also be very useful from a mainstream, secular, health point of view, beyond those contexts. Scientists are researching, for example, what Read the rest of this entry »

Update: The State and Future of Brain Fitness

Here you are have the twice-a-month newsletter with our 10 most popular blog posts. Please brainremember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, simply by submitting your email at the top of this page.

A crucial topic we cover is, “How can we use emerging technologies to keep our brains healthy and productive as long as possible?” The American Society on Aging asked Alvaro to exercise his brain…and here are his thoughts on the current state and future of the brain fitness market: Brain Health Business Grows With Research and Demand


Brain Training Presentation and Seminars: We had an informative webinar this Tuesday. Click here to view the presentation and learn about upcoming events.

Read the rest of this entry »

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About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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