Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Test your stress level with this fun brain teaser

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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

Announce­ments

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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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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